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Michael McDowell wins the 63rd annual Daytona 500

The win comes after a rocky start and a dramatic ending for one of the largest sport competitions since the pandemic began.

First, a crash in the fourteenth lap took out 16 cars of the 40-car lineup, removing driver Alex Bowman from the pole position he started in.
Around 3 p.m. thunderstorms led to a weather delay, forcing fans to seek shelter for part of the race after a lightning strike hit in the area.

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 multi-car crash put several cars out of commission.

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.

This year’s lineup included Bubba Wallace driving #23 for Chicago Bulls’ legend Michael Jordan’s new race team.

“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.

Also racing was NASCAR’s first Arab American female driver, 21-year-old Toni Breidinger.

“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.”

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