Veteran driver Michael McDowell entered Sunday's race at the Daytona Road Course looking to go back-to-back after winning the Daytona 500 in an exciting fashion. However, his day started with some issues. He suffered damage and brought out the caution flag after only one lap of the race, which fans can watch online with a free fuboTV trial.
McDowell lined up next to Chase Elliott on the front row at the start of the race. They headed toward the first turn, but McDowell locked up and went off the track. He had to loop around and move back into the group of stock cars without causing a pileup. Moments later, he experienced further issues and went off the track and into the dirt. This second issue damaged the No. 34 Ford Mustang, ultimately leaving debris on the track.
A rough first turn for McDowell and early damage for Kyle Busch. That escalated quickly.
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The incident hurt McDowell's place in the standings. He started in second but dropped back to last place after suffering damage and bringing out the caution flag. He made his way up to 30th overall before another incident further disrupted his day. Chase Briscoe spun on the chicane, forcing drivers to navigate around him.
McDowell was among the drivers that avoided Briscoe. However, he had to cut the chicane in order to avoid the No. 14 Ford Mustang. This move dropped McDowell to 32nd, placing him 23 seconds behind Chase Elliott. He ultimately was able to return to the top 20 by the end of Stage 1 while other drivers dealt with issues.
McDowell was not the only driver to suffer damage during the first lap of the 70-lap race. Kyle Busch, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, went off the track as well and damaged his right front fender. The team had to cut part of the fender off in order to prevent further damage to the tire.
According to Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass, Busch said over the radio that he was knocked off the track and into the dirt. "My s— is f—ing destroyed," Busch said over the radio, per The Athletic's Jordan Bianchi. Following the incident, the veteran driver was able to meet minimum speed on the caution laps, allowing him to continue in the race.