Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – “K” may stand for “Keselowski,” but in the Twitterverse on Sunday, “K” also stood for “karma” where Keselowski was concerned.
Three days after spinning William Byron in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice and later declaring that he had sent a message to the field that he wasn’t going lift if other drivers blocked him, Keselowski himself exited Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway after contact from the front bumper of Kevin Harvick’s Ford sent him sideways into the outside wall.
Twitter immediately lit up with references to karma and hashtags like #dontlift.
The Lap 81 wreck also hurt the cars of Harvick, Daniel Suarez, David Ragan, Daniel Hemric and Joey Logano, but even after viewing the accident on video, Keselowski laid no blame for his demise.
“I know I was going straight one moment, and the next moment I wasn’t,” Keselowski said. “It’s unfortunate. We were all two- and three-wide racing and just got tagged from the back. I’m not sure exactly. I know we got to three-wide at the top of (Turn) 3, and it looks like Kevin gave me a real straight push.
“I don’t know. It just took off on me. The Fords were working really hard to run together, and Kevin and Joey and (Ryan) Blaney and myself, I thought we were doing really good at it, but for whatever reason the car just instantly turned there. It’s a bummer for everybody, but we’ll move on and hopefully go to the next one and be all right.”
Byron, the race runner-up after the event was shortened because of rain, may have had the last laugh. Hearing over his team radio that Keselowski had wrecked, Byron dead-panned, “That’s too bad.”
DILLON-BOWYER CONTACT TRIGGERS BIG WRECK THAT THINS THE HERD
Contact between the Ford of Clint Bowyer and the Chevrolet of Austin Dillon ignited major fireworks in NASCAR’s last trip to Daytona on the Fourth of July weekend.
On Lap 117, Dillon had surged past Denny Hamlin into the lead, but Bowyer had a run on the leader and steered his car down the track entering Turn 1. The movement of Bowyer’s Mustang across Dillon’s rear bumper appeared to destabilized Dillon’s Camaro.
Lightning and an approaching storm added urgency to the situation, and Dillon continued down the track to try to block Bowyer’s progress. The wreck at the front of the field collected 18 cars all told and put a third of the field out of contention for the win.
“I guess he didn’t want me to pass him,” Bowyer said ruefully. “I don’t know. I got under him and he blocked, and we got together. I got off of him – moved down and got off of him – and here he comes back down even more and just finally wrecked us all. That’s just part of racing like this.”
The accident spoiled strong runs for both Bowyer and Dillon, who won the race’s second stage.
“I really felt it was kind of urgent, because of the lightning and rain coming,” Dillon said. “Just trying to get a race win is all it is. I got turned a little bit left, and then it shot me down left. It’s just part of this kind of racing.”
On that last point, at least, Dillon and Bowyer agree.
DECISION TO PIT COSTS KURT BUSCH A POTENTIAL WIN
After skating through the “Big One” on Lap 118, Kurt Busch had the lead in Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
His stay at the front of the field, however, was short-lived. Even though weather was threatening, crew chief Matt McCall told Busch to come to pit road if NASCAR gave the one-to-go signal.
“Got poker chips all over the car, and we’re pushing them all-in,” Busch said on his radio in a reference to sponsor Global Poker.
The tower signaled an impeding restart on Lap 124, and Busch steered his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet down pit road to top off with fuel.
But the race never restarted. Lightning in the area forced NASCAR to revert to caution, and a subsequent rainstorm ended the event with Justin Haley as the unlikely winner.
Even with the pit stop, Busch was 10th when the race was called, posting his 10th top 10 result of the season.
“I feel like we were in a really good position to win the race, and it’s just a matter of when the one random lightning bolt comes down to decide when you make the call,” Busch said “It was a judgment call on their part.”