During a race that had three major crashes in the last 50 laps, it was 2020 Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric who came out on top at the Daytona 500.
Cindric took the title having spent most of the race in the top ten alongside Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney. Cindric survived two crashes in the final ten laps that took out many in contention to win, including Chris Buescher and late leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Meanwhile, Dawsonville’s Chase Elliott finished in 10th place at the race.
Fans from all over gathered Sunday at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame to cheer on Elliott, who finished as runner-up in last year’s race.
It was a tough day out for Elliott, who spent the middle bulk of the race floating around 15th after beginning the race in 11th.
Before the race’s first major incident at lap 63, Elliott had crept just inside the top 10, a position he would not be back in until the final 30 laps or so.
Between those two periods, he found some trouble during two pit stops.
At lap 109, Elliott struggled to come out of the pit stop in what looked to be a stalling issue. He was forced into another pit stop at lap 135, where it looked like his car had damage that he had driven with for some time.
Just as the day seemed over, the first of the three final incidents of the day allowed him to slowly make his way into contention.
Having been down in 20th at lap 135, Elliott placed himself well after the crash at lap 150, getting up to 9th position by lap 165.
After fading for a while, he found himself back at 9th with 12 laps remaining, but that would be as close as he would get.
Elliott was the top finisher for team Hendrick Motorsports, as Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and William Byron were all involved in the day’s crashes.
Despite the tough finish, positive news came out before the race. Just hours before the Daytona 500, Elliott signed a five-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports.
“I feel so fortunate to be in this position," Elliott said in the team’s press release. "I have a great team...and the support of the best car owner and racing organization in the world. For me, there's a lot of pride in driving for Hendrick Motorsports and having the opportunity to win races and compete for championships.”
Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates will look to bounce back next Sunday, Feb. 27, at the WISE Power 400 in Fontana, California.