DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Outlaw, Smoke and Gronk turned the Daytona 500 into party central.

The good times were just getting started in victory lane Sunday night. Flanked by sexy models, the triumphant trio chugged drinks and gave NASCAR the buzz it craved in the season opener.

Might as well go wild for their first celebration on NASCAR’s grandest stage.

Kurt Busch used a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500 on Sunday in the opening race of Monster Energy’s new role as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series. Busch, it just so happens, is also sponsored by Monster, and the company has strongly stood by him through his rocky career.

So this was a victory of redemption for Busch, who was suspended by NASCAR two days before the 2015 opener for his off-track behavior, and for Monster, which has promised to pump new life into NASCAR’s sagging sport.

Consider the inaugural race a monster success.

“There’s just so many new things within this sport,” Busch said. “You just keep rolling with it and you smile.”

Known as The Outlaw, Busch has had plenty of reasons to smile since the offseason. He got married, and in a sign of the party to come, had Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler play at the reception.

Add NFL star Rob Gronkowski to Busch’s bandwagon, too.

Gronkowski celebrated with Busch and the famed Monster girls in victory lane. He raved about the win and really seemed to enjoy his first Daytona 500, the first for NASCAR’s new three-segment format and one filled with wrecks.

“We picked Kurt to win and he won ’cause he’s a Monster guy,” Gronk told The Associated Press. “Kurt did an awesome job. Monster killed that race!”

Gronk and Busch likely celebrated late into the night, well after the banged-up No. 41 Ford heads to the museum for its yearlong display at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch also helped team owner Tony Stewart fill one of the biggest voids in his illustrious career. It was the first Daytona 500 victory for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by the retired driver nicknamed Smoke. The three-time champion called it quits at the end of last season and watched his four cars race from the pits.

Stewart’s NASCAR career ended without a win in 17 tries in the Daytona 500. Turns out he just needed to trade the fire suit for street clothes to bring home the checkered flag.

“If I had known all I had to do was retire, I would have retired 17 years ago if I knew it was what it took to win the race,” Stewart said.

It was just an added bonus to win in SHR’s first race with Ford.

It wasn’t NASCAR’s finest moment, though, as multiple accidents stripped the field of some top stars.

Ryan Blaney finished second, followed by AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola.

The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second and neither was a contender for the win. NASCAR also debuted a rule that gave teams just five minutes to repair any damage on their cars or they were forced to retire, sending many drivers home early.

They were long gone when the biggest bash started.

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