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mark thompson nascar AP Photo/John Raoux
AP Photo/John Raoux

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.?

WATCH: Mark Thompson’s 2018 Daytona 500 Qualifying Run

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 historic run at Daytona International Speedway, 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 Was ?Shell-Shocked? Over Final Lap Mishap That Knocked Him out of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

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
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
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
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

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This post was originally published on September 29, 2020.

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