NASCAR fans try to start unnecessary Daytona 500 controversy

William Byron was scored the winner of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 for just one reason: he won the race.
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

William Byron secured Rick Hendrick his first Daytona 500 win since the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series season opener, and he did so on the 40th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports' first race after the race was pushed back by a day due to rain at Daytona International Speedway.

Byron led the race with two laps to go around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval, and as the field approached the white flag, he maintained a slight lead over Team Penske's Austin Cindric. Then Cindric and Trackhouse Racing Team's Ross Chastain were involved in a wreck.

Byron took the white flag, making the race official, and caution flag flew before he was overtaken by teammate Alex Bowman.

For some reason, this was considered controversial.

It's one thing to question a call, but at some point, grasping at straws becomes comical.

NASCAR clearly showed that the caution flag flew before Byron was overtaken by Bowman, and at this point, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet had clearly taken the white flag.

It was also quite obvious that there needed to be a yellow flag thrown due to the magnitude of the incident unfolding behind the leaders.

Where is the controversy?

And while others selectively chose which frames to share (and for the record, when you need to do that to get your point across, that kind of disproves your point), there were plenty of other legitimate views that showed that, yes, Byron was indeed ahead (as seen below).

The craziest part of it is that you'll have people saying they want to wait for the view/camera angle, and then when the view comes and shows them what they don't want to see, crickets.

This might be the most non-controversial "controversial" finish the Daytona 500 has had. There is an obvious element of NASCAR Twitter that literally is not happy unless they are complaining about something.

Sure, it was close. But it was, in fact, clear. This isn't the 2002 Indy 500.

Of course, the fact that there is an effort to diminish Byron's achievement is quite typical of social media. That would have been true of any winner -- in any sport. Always is. Welcome to 2024.

Others questioned NASCAR's "inconsistency" in determining the timing of the caution.

It's a fair point. Don't take this the wrong way. But on the flip side, you're talking about tenths, hundredths, if not thousandths of a second here. No one in race control is trying to script the race to tick you off, and at the end of the day, there are no two calls that are truly alike.

And as a side note, does anyone else get the slightest impression that a certain contingent of fans only call for "consistency" when it happens to benefit their favorite driver (or screw their rival)? Just look at Twitter. One thing I've noticed is that it's only ever "inconsistent" when it's not the result you want. Just keeping it real.

NASCAR: 4 driver moves that won't pay off (and 1 that will). NASCAR: 4 driver moves that won't pay off (and 1 that will). dark. Next

There can only be one winner, and on Monday night, that winner was William Byron. And he earned the right to be crowned.