Race Recap: Michael McDowell wins the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 14: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2021 in Dayto

All eyes are on the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday as the 63rd annual Daytona 500 gets underway on FOX.

We have live updates from the speedway.

The race made it over a dozen laps in before having to stop because of weather. 

"Thunderstorms are forecast for the Daytona International Speedway area including lightning. We advise you to secure items at campsites. Please take necessary precautions," the Daytona International Speedway tweeted. 

RELATED: PHOTOS: The 63rd annual Daytona 500

After the hours-long delay, drivers were called back to their cars and the race resumed around 9 p.m.

In its 63rd year, "The Great American Race" is the iconic 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series season-opener held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Last year, Denny Hamlin won the "The Great American Race" for the third time in his career — and in the closest finish in history — after it was delayed a day by rain.  He’s the only driver to have multiple victories in the race.

The Daytona International Speedway usually welcomes 101,000 fans to fill up the stadium. However, because of safety precautions in place, President Chip Wile said capacity will be limited.

Wile said the ‘Great American Race’ sold out. Though not releasing an exact number, he said the track is ensured that groups were spaced six feet apart. 

FOX 35 Weather Alert Day: Risk for severe storms to continue into Monday

"We will require everyone to wear a mask throughout their visit. We’ll be taking their temp and asking them a health questionnaire," explained Wile.

FOX 35 News spoke exclusively with NASCAR driver Ryan Newman before the Daytona 500 one year after he was involved in a fiery crash at the same speedway.

 He has previously stated that he has no memory of the crash.

"I’ve watched every angle that I could possibly watch. The biggest problem is, I don’t have any memory of my own angle, which is the ultimate angle," Newman said Tuesday in a preseason video conference with reporters. "And that’s gone, and that’ll always be gone, and no matter how many times I watch a replay or a different variation of that memory, it doesn’t change my personal memory because it just doesn’t exist."

RELATED: FOX 35 Exclusive: Interview with Ryan Newman ahead of the Daytona 500

Ryan Newman (6) goes airborne after crashing into Corey LaJoie (32) during the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sunday's running of the race was postponed by rain. (AP Photo/

The world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed a flyover, marking the 11th consecutive year, and 12th total, that "America’s Ambassadors in Blue" – officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – will showcase their precise choreography at the end of the National Anthem. 

RELATED: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform flyover at 2021 Daytona 500

"We are excited to fly over the Daytona 500 again this year," said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Commander and Leader of U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. "This amazing event has kicked off our demonstration season for the past ten years, and we are grateful for the partnership between the Speedway and Air Force. There is always a lot of enthusiasm surrounding this race, and we’re honored to share the pride, precision, and professionalism of the 693,000 total force Airmen to NASCAR fans around the world."

Serving as Grand Marshal this year was Mr. Worldwide himself, music superstar Pitbull, who had the honor of telling drivers to start their engines ahead of the race.

RELATED: Pitbull to serve as Daytona 500 Grand Marsha

"It’s an honor to be named the Grand Marshal for the 63rd DAYTONA 500. It’s exciting to mix culture, music and sports."

The race hit a snag early on when rain poured down, delaying the race for 6-hours. 

Just before 9 p.m., drivers were called back to their cars and the race resumed. 

Watch the 2021 Daytona 500 live on FOX 35 at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 14. Pre-race coverage begins at 1 p.m.