Multi-car wreck swallows half the field at Daytona

Brad Keselowski’s frustration was hidden behind a veil of sarcasm, as he stood outside the infield care center at Daytona International Speedway.

“I’ve got to wreck more people and then they’ll stop blocking me late and behind like that. That’s my fault,” Keselowski said. “I’ll take the credit for my team and we’ll go to Talladega and we’ll wreck everybody that throws a bad block like that.”

The bad block he referred to was thrown by race leader William Byron, who shifted from the top lane to the bottom to stall Keselowski’s run on the bottom. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was right behind him, caught his right-rear corner panel as he moved back towards the bottom and hooked him into the outside wall, triggering a 26-car wreck on Lap 54 of the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

“Ricky was doing the best he could to give me a good push and had a great run to take the lead and the car in front of me just threw a late, bad block,” Keselowski added. “I made the mistake of lifting instead of just driving through him and that’s my fault. I know better than that.”

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“Yeah, I thought he (Byron) blocked him, but I did that here in February and threw an aggressive block down the back straightaway that in turn caused a big crash like that too,” Stenhouse said after the race. “I can see it from Byron’s side and from my side I was a little frustrated he threw the block, but then again I can’t be too mad because I felt like I did that in February.”

Keselowski’s car turned up the track, clipped Kurt Busch’s car and slammed into the outside wall, going into Turn 3. Chase Elliott t-boned him, veered down into the path of Denny Hamlin, which gaggled up Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez.

“…I don’t know, I think the best I can remember Brad (Keselowski) had a pretty big run on William (Byron) and I don’t think William was clear, but he didn’t know he wasn’t clear and then Brad tried to get on the brakes really hard to stop for him. We were getting really close to the corner so he couldn’t enter on the apron and whoever was behind him hit him and turned him up the track. Not really a whole lot you can do about that.”

Officially, 26 cars suffered some level of damage in the Lap 54 incident.

For Keselowski and Busch, the wreck didn’t hamper them in points. Both leave Daytona in the Top-10. Elliott’s points loss from his 34th-place finish was compounded by teammate Alex Bowman finishing in the Top-10 and Stenhouse finishing the race. He leaves 37 points ahead of the Playoff cutoff spot.

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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