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mark thompson nascar AP Photo/Terry Renna
AP Photo/Terry Renna

The 2018 Daytona 500 was notable for a number of reasons. It was the first Daytona 500 race since 1982 where none of the cars were sponsored by beer companies, and it marked the first NASCAR race for the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It was also Danica Patrick’s last NASCAR race, while Bubba Wallace, in his first race as a full-time Cup Series driver, racked up the highest finish for a Black driver in the Daytona 500 with a second-place showing. Finally, the 2018 Daytona 500 marked an incredibly historic moment for Mark Thompson, as he became the oldest driver in Daytona 500 history.

At the age of 66, the Vietnam veteran, driving the No. 66 Ford for MBM Motorsports, raced to 22nd place in that year’s Great American Race. Thompson beat out Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and seven-time Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson. When asked the highlight of his race at Daytona Beach, Thompson simply said, “The checkered flag.”

“Five-hundred miles in a car like that is quite exhausting,” Thompson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There’s a reason why the ones out there doing that are 23-, 24-, 25-years-old.”

Thompson, who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, raced in the ARCA Racing Series throughout the ’90s and occasionally in the 2000, with 93 starts, four poles, and two wins. Thompson also ran three Cup Series races and four Xfinity Series races.

“This shows that as you get older, you’re not really out of the game,” Thompson said. “You can still accomplish quite a lot as you get older. It’s pretty neat running the Daytona 500 at 66.”

When asked if he would continuing racing after his run in the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing, Thompson said, “No, I’m ready to retire. It’s a long race.”

Talk about going out on a high note!

Read More: Jimmie Johnson’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Chances End With Big Wreck at Daytona International Speedway

2018 Daytona 500 Race Results

1. Austin Dillon — Richard Childress Racing — No. 3 Chevrolet

2. Bubba Wallace — Richard Petty Motorsports– No. 43 Chevrolet

3. Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 11 Toyota

4. Joey Logano — Team Penske — No. 22 Ford

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5. Chris Buescher — JTG Daugherty Racing — No. 37 Chevrolet

6. Paul Menard — Wood Brothers Racing — No. 21 Ford

7. Ryan Blaney — Team Penske — No. 12 Ford

8. Ryan Newman — Richard Childress Racing — No. 31 Chevrolet

9. Michael McDowell — Front Row Motorsports — No. 34 Ford

10. A. J. Allmendinger — JTG Daugherty Racing — No. 47 Chevrolet

11. Aric Almirola — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 10 Ford

12. Justin Marks — Rick Ware Racing — No. 51 Chevrolet

13. Trevor Bayne — Roush Fenway Racing — No. 6 Ford

14. David Gilliland — RBR Enterprises — No. 92 Ford

15. Clint Bowyer — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 14 Ford

16. Jamie McMurray — Chip Ganassi Racing — No. 1 Chevrolet

17. Alex Bowman — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 88 Chevrolet

18. Martin Truex Jr. — Furniture Row Racing — No. 78 Toyota

19. Kyle Larson — Chip Ganassi Racing — No. 42 Chevrolet

20. Gray Gaulding — BK Racing — No. 23 Toyota

21. Jeffrey Earnhardt — StarCom Racing — No. 00 Chevrolet

22. Mark Thompson — MBM Motorsports — No. 66 Ford

23. William Byron — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 24 Chevrolet

24. D. J. Kennington — Gaunt Brothers Racing — No. 96 Toyota

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25. Kyle Busch — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 18 Toyota

26. Kurt Busch — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 41 Ford

27. Matt DiBenedetto — Go Fas Racing — No. 32 Ford

28. Brendan Gaughan — Beard Motorsports — No. 62 Chevrolet

29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Roush Fenway Racing — No. 17 Ford

30. David Ragan — Front Row Motorsports — No. 38 Ford

31. Kevin Harvick — Stewart-Haas Racing — No. 4 Ford

32. Brad Keselowski — Team Penske — No. 2 Ford

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33. Chase Elliott — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 9 Chevrolet

34. Kasey Kahne — Leavine Family Racing — No. 95 Chevrolet

35. Danica Patrick — Premium Motorsports — No. 7 Chevrolet

36. Erik Jones — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 20 Toyota

37. Daniel Suárez — Joe Gibbs Racing — No. 19 Toyota

38. Jimmie Johnson — Hendrick Motorsports — No. 48 Chevrolet

39. Ty Dillon — Germain Racing — No. 13 Chevrolet

40. Corey LaJoie — TriStar Motorsports — No. 72 Chevrolet

Race Day By the Numbers

Lead Changes: 24 among 14 drivers

Caution Flags: 8 for 37 laps

Margin of Victory: 0.260 seconds

Time of Race: 3 hours, 26 minutes and 58 seconds

Average Speed: 150.551 miles per hour

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