Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were all swept into a fiery Daytona 500 crash on the last lap of the Great American Race.
Keselowski and Busch were trying to win the race for the first time. Instead, underdog Michael McDowell slipped through the spinning and crashing cars to score the biggest victory of his racing career.
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Keselowski was making a move to pass Logano for the lead on the final lap when the two Team Penske teammates made contact, igniting the spectacular Daytona 500 crash.
“I had a big run down the backstretch, wanting to make the pass to win the Daytona 500, and it ended up really bad. I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everybody else’s car. It’s frustrating. … I was exactly where I wanted to be, running second on the last lap at Daytona. I had the run and made a move, and it didn’t work out,” Keselowski said.
Busch, who was also in position to make a last-lap move, was not surprised that NASCAR’s biggest race ended in mayhem. He has seen it before.
“It was chaos. It’s to be expected. Just a matter of time before it all breaks loose and whatever happens happens here. I saw a window to the outside, and then all of a sudden I had the two cars on my hood,” said Busch.
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Who caused the Daytona 500 crash?
Logano took the lead when the dominant Denny Hamlin pitted with 25 laps remaining; he led a Ford contingent towards the chequered flag.
Logano and Keselowski were in position for a Penske sweep when McDowell pushed the latter toward the lead; the two teammates collided and went crashing into the wall.
When asked to describe the wild Daytona 500 crash, Logano said:
“Pandemonium, I guess. Chaos struck. I kept trying to back up and get a run and back up to them to keep the run from getting too big. And I guess he got back with the 34, and there ended up being a really big run coming at me, and it seemed like we all just collided in one spot. A real bummer.”
The big Daytona 500 crash was the second big wreck that wiped out most of the top contenders. A 16-car pile-up on Lap 14 took out several drivers, thinning the field to 29 cars and opening the door for McDowell’s upset.
Instead of winning his first 500, the Daytona 500 crash left Busch and others with demolished race cars and thankful to survive.
“Just fortunate that I’m all good, and this Camry … that’s won’t live to see another day, but hopefully we’ll be back here next week and have a better go at it,” Kyle Busch said.
Logano, who won the 2015 Daytona 500, was disappointed to be taken out in the Daytona 500 crash. But he was happy to see McDowell score his first career victory.
“I’m really happy for McDowell,” he said. “I hate we didn’t win … I feel like we had a great shot leading on the last lap. But if we couldn’t win, I am really happy to see McDowell win this thing. He’s a great guy, a great person. He's a great leader in life, and he’s taught me a lot. It’s really cool to see him win the Daytona 500.”