William Byron launched Hendrick Motorsports’ 40th anniversary season by snapping the team’s nine-year Daytona 500 losing streak with his Monday win in the rain-postponed “Great American Race.” The last Hendrick driver to win the Daytona 500 was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014. The 26 year old from Charlotte, North Carolina is the sixth different driver to win the 500 for Rick Hendrick, the winningest team owner in NASCAR history who made his way to victory lane on the actual 40th anniversary of his first Cup win. Byron beat Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman as the race ended under one lap of caution.

Alex Bowman never saw how the big wreck started that marred the end of the Daytona 500. He was surprised to learn he triggered the big one. Bowman sparked the crash that involved nearly two dozen cars and knocked six former NASCAR champions out of contention in the Daytona 500. Bowman bump-drafted Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron on the backstretch with nine laps to go when Byron lost control, turned into Brad Keselowski and pretty much wrecked the field. Byron and Bowman were the biggest beneficiaries of the melee. They escaped with little damage to their cars and went on to give Hendrick Motorsports a 1-2 finish in “The Great American Race.”