After two-and-half months of buildup the Daytona 500 arrived Sunday, was slowed by two red flags and then was over, with Denny Hamlin claiming his second win in the race in overtime.
Between Lap 1 and Lap 207 a lot happened that led to celebration, reflection, anger and plenty of jokes.
That’s all wrapped up here in a collection of “Sweet and Sassy” tweets that sum up the “Great American Race.”
The day before the Daytona 500 Corey LaJoie went out on a limb to predict it would be a lot more eventful than Saturday’s Xfinity race.
He was right.
For most of Speedweeks there were plenty of complaints about the style of racing, with fields running single file against the wall.
Many feared the 500 would provide only more of that.
Those fears vanished when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. quickly got the bottom groove working in the opening laps as he led a line of cars to challenge the top lane.
The first caution of the race struck on Lap 50 for a six-car wreck that involved Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick, the latter who was making his first Cup start.
Reddick jabbed back at Wallace after a passive aggressive, AKA a subtweet, directed at him.
Kyle Larson had a Daytona 500 to forget. He was involved in three separate incidents inside the final 30 laps, including a spin after he cut a tire.
But in the same vain as his Charlotte Roval performance last year, Larson brought a mangled No. 42 Chevrolet home to the checkered flag, finishing seventh for his third top 10 in 11 Daytona starts.
Ryan Preece made his Daytona 500 debut and after having a brief shot to compete for the win in overtime before he placed eighth.
During the late stages of the race, the crowd at Daytona began a chant in support of the rookie driver.
Hamlin led a 1-2-3 finish in the 500 for Joe Gibbs Racing, the first time that’s happened in the team’s history. It came a month after the passing of J.D. Gibbs, the son of Joe Gibbs and co-founder of the team.
Customers at the Steak N’ Shake near Daytona International Speedway got a surprise Sunday night as they shared the restaurant with Joe Gibbs Racing’s celebration dinner.
Sunday also marked the first Cup race since the passing of Wood Brothers Racing co-founder Glen Wood. Ryan Blaney, who drove for the team from 2015-17, sported a special helmet in Wood’s memory. It was designed after a helmet Wood wore when he raced.
Matt DiBenedetto experienced the best race of his career, leading a race-high 49 laps before being part of a wreck on Lap 191.
But on Monday the mind of the former Joe Gibbs Racing driver was still on the team and what it was able to do to honor J.D. Gibbs.
Driver Cody Ware‘s 500 ended with a wreck 41 laps from the end of the scheduled distance. But on Monday morning Ware’s thoughts were on being able to help others after sharing his story of dealing with depression and anxiety.
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