Lap 60 Wreck takes out Daytona 500 Contenders

Tim Packman

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – When the flag waved to end Stage 1 in the Daytona 500, eight cars were involved in a multi-car wreck on the backstretch, which took out some top-contenders and a former race champion.

One of those champions said it was too early to be that aggressive in the 200-lap race.

The incident appeared to be triggered when Brad Keselowski was pushing the second-place No. 21 Ford of rookie Harrison Burton. Upon getting turned, Burton veered to the left and started to collect other cars in the mechanized mayhem.

All said, contenders William Byron, Alex Bowman, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain suffered varied degrees of damage.

Adding to the incident was when Burton went on his roof before flipping back onto his wheels as the car then slowed to a stop. All drivers were checked at the Infield Car Center and released.

“I’m fine, I’ve hit a lot harder before, that’s for sure,” Burton said. “It’s just unfortunate. I hate it for the Wood Brothers group.  They brought a really fast Ford Mustang down here and ended up on our lid, so that’s never good.

“I’d like to look back and see what happened.  I don’t know, I just got pushed the car didn’t take it the right way or got pushed in the wrong spot.  I’m not sure, I couldn’t really tell.

“I was looking out front to see what I had to do next to side draft the next guy that was on me, so just a bummer.

“I don’t know if it was too much, I just think it might have been in the wrong spot. Obviously, I’m not questioning Brad’s ability, but I think he just got a little wide on my right side and kind of shot me on the inside there.”

Out and credited with a 37th-place finish, this was Hamlin’s first DNF in 17 Daytona 500 attempts. The reigning-race winner had a very pointed take on what caused the wreck.

“It looked like the two cars on top, the 6 (Keselowski) was pushing the 21 (Burton) and you could see the 21 was kind of getting out of control there,” Hamlin said. “The mindset was that you’ve got to back off, but I think the 6 was just insistent on pushing him at all costs and eventually turned the 21 around.

 

“Tough, considering it was just for the stage. We were kind of boxed in there where I noticed that something was going to happen, but I was boxed in, I was behind a teammate and I wanted to try to help.

 

“Again, just too aggressive pushing right there when they weren’t lined up and in control.”

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