“I just can’t believe it!” McDowell told Fox Sports after taking first place. “Such a great way to get a first victory in the Daytona 500! Are you kidding me!?”
McDowell said he was grateful that he made it out of the multiple vehicle crash in the last lap unscathed.
“So thankful God is good,” he said. “Just gotta thank God, just so many years grinding it out.”
He will take home a replica of the Harley J. Earl Trophy and about $1.5 million.
The win comes after a rocky start and a dramatic, fiery ending for one of the largest sport competitions since the pandemic began.
Once the rain cleared, the track still needed to dry before racers could start their engines. By 9 p.m. the 200-lap 500-mile-long race had resumed.
In the final lap, a fiery multi-car crash put several cars out of commission. All the drivers involved were able to remove themselves from their cars.
The race ended just after midnight Monday morning.
About 30,000 fans were allowed to watch the race in person, far less than the normal 100,000 fans that usually attend. The limit was put on the number of fans to allow for greater social distancing.
“The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of our year, and we have to start out with a bang,” Wallace recently told CNN Sport’s Coy Wire.
“I’m honored and excited to be the first, but I don’t want to be the last,” Breidinger, who is of Lebanese descent, told CNN. “I hope I can pave the way for future female Arab drivers as well.”