“I swore when they all went up high. I was the leader for a second, and I’m like, “I won this thing. I won this thing.’”
But it was Buescher, who went low — so low he crossed the yellow out-of-bounds line, but NASCAR said it’s allowed when avoiding an accident — to skirt the cars and take the checkered flag. Buescher’s win was his first in NASCAR and came a day after King’s victory in his eighth career start.
Buescher, driver for Turner Motorsports, was listed in two of the eight caution periods, and said he was just trying to get a top-10 finish at the end.
“Got down to the end, after we beat all the fenders off of it, beat ‘em back out, didn’t have anybody that wanted to draft with us,” he said. “I was just trying to do everything I could to stay in the top 10.”
Danica Patrick, meanwhile, started from the pole but was wrecked 49 laps into the race when JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt ran into the back of her while bump-drafting. Her car spun into the wall and back down the track. Although she returned the damaged Chevrolet to the track late, she finished 38th in the first race of what will be her first full season in the Nationwide Series.
“Well, we were just doing big pack racing and went down into three, got a little tap, got a little bit sideways, saved it, and then just got hit again and couldn’t save it. You guys saw the rest from there,” she said.
The multiple big wrecks have prompted concerns about the Daytona 500. NASCAR worked hard during the offseason to break up the two-car tandem racing that fans disliked, and the return of pack racing has led to many accidents over SpeedWeeks.
Keselowski said NASCAR is in a difficult position of giving fans what they want in restrictor-plate racing and making it a safe event.
“I feel like we walk a line in this sport between daredevils and chess players,” he said. “When we come to Daytona and a track like this, we’re maybe more on the daredevil side of the line. And then we go other places where I’d say we’re more on the chess-player side of the line. I think it’s important to have tracks like this that maybe average it back out a little bit.”
”Ideally, we’d like to just walk straight down the line all the time. But from a standpoint of the sport and the health of it, I think not a lot of people watch chess matches, and I’ve never seen one televised.”
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