Michelle Mostiler ended a 38 race winless streak by winning the 2017-2018 Daytona 500. Mostiler used a last lap pass, and a big push from Courtney Schley to win
Courtney Schley, running a part-time schedule, finished second, with pole winner TJ Howard finishing in third. Kevin Dilbeck and Britton Baker finished out the Top-5.
The race started out with one of the longest green flag runs on record for the race, completing a full 92 laps before the first caution flag would wave. As a result, green flag pit stops became a focal point for much of the race, and largely determined how the race would play out. Much of the field became spread out as a result of the pit stop cycles through out the first half of the race.
Just three incidents happened on track during the unusually tame restrictor plate race.
The first of which sent Rookie of the Year contender Ashley Mendez for a spin early on, and did not result in a caution, despite the car spinning through the grass on the front stretch.
Nick Dilbeck would go around after contact with Jacklyn Powell exiting the tri-oval, roughly 170 laps into the event. This incident brought out the caution during a round of green flag pit stops, and necessitated use of the wave around, allowing some cars trapped a lap down to gain a lap back and remain on the lead lap.
The third incident would happen under caution, due to a jam up of cars trying to get lined up after the caution flag had come out. This involved Ben Maloch, Lewis Black, Kimberly McCasland, and Alexi Alejandra. All would end up retiring from the race, though Black and McCasland for different reasons later in the event.
A caution for oil on the track would set up a six lap shootout to the finish, with at least half of the field back together once again, and 18 of those cars on the lead lap. John Williams, who led the most laps in the race led the field to green, and looked able to fend off aggressive moves from fellow competitors, until teammate/team owner, and past Champion Brendan Wolkowicz was able to get by for the lead with two to go.
On the final lap, Michelle Mostiler was able to get to Wolkowicz’s inside, and make the pass for the race lead, with help from Courtney Schley. Mostiler then held off Schley and TJ Howard to score her first win since winning the Chase Race at Charlotte in the 2014A season. The win is her first in the Daytona 500, first race with new team Alexi Alejandra Racing, and qualifies Mostiler for the Chase for the first time since the 2014A season.
The Corvega Cup Series heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the next race on the schedule, where Daytona 500 Pole winner TJ Howard, looks to defend his victory at the track last season, and potentially, win his third race in a row at Atlanta.