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Who Was at Fault for the Big Wrecks at Daytona?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Like all Daytona 500s, there were big wrecks that dotted the Cup Series biggest race. Which drivers were ultimately at fault for the carnage at Daytona?

Read Also (From the Duels):

  • There were 3 different big crashes at Daytona this past weekend. There was a 5 car crash in the early laps, then two more crashes in the final 10 laps. We will take a look at all three to analyze who was at fault.
  • Each incident can be traced back to one small slip-up. Sometimes it’s an ill-advised push, and other times it’s just hard racing gone wrong.
  • Fans were a bit upset that those who were causing crashes ended up finishing up front at the end of the race. Were these drivers really at fault?

Lap 5: Harrison Burton and Carson Hocevar Tangle

On lap 5, a 7-car incident broke out after Harrison Burton turned down in front of Carson Hocevar. However, upon close inspection, both drivers were just innocent bystanders of the crash. It was actually started by John Hunter Nemechek being pushed out of shape by Brad Keselowski.

As can be seen above, Keselowski pushes Nemechek in the exact wrong spot, on the left rear quarter panel. Touching a car there almost always results in a spin. Nemechek did move up a bit off of the corner, and maybe Keselowski was not expecting it, but, that’s the contact that started the incident. Neither Burton, nor Hocevar seemed overly upset after the race, and they chalked it up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Public opinion seemed to side with Keselowski being at fault as well. This was the second incident that Keselowski caused during Speedweeks, and it seems he is getting a reputation. Ems used a Taylor Swift meme below.

NASCAR Memes used a Lebron James meme to describe Keselowski’s move.

With how he did this weekend, Keselowski seems to have a bit of a reputation.

Lap 192: 22 Car Melee

Now, the wreck on lap 192 was a much bigger wreck, and it was primarily the product of late-race aggression. Again, the ones who seemingly caused the crash seemed to get away scott-free. William Byron was loosened up by teammate Alex Bowman, and that sent Brad Keselowski into Joey Logano.

Here, Bowman and Byron are trying to push each other through a hole opened up in the middle. Bowman ends up slightly off of the center of Byron’s back bumper, which sends Byron to the right, and Byron corrects back to the left, into Keselowski. Again, it’s another push gone wrong.

Joey Logano in particular made some interesting comments to the media after the race. He was upset at the result, but, he seemed to chalk it up to how superspeedway racing is.

Pushes are stupid all the time. Everybody just gets more and more intense. You know what’s going to happen. Anyone can see it happening. It happens every year. 10 to go, there’s going to be a caution. You can’t ride around. You can’t just sit there and not race becuase you’ll be too far back and won’t win that way. You just have to be one of the lucky guys that are still alive to do it. It’s usually the ones who start the wreck that stay alive that’s the frustrating part.

Joey Logano.

Logano seems to have resigned himself to the reality of superspeedway racing. Pushing is not ideal, but, drivers have to do it to go fast. If they refuse to push or be aggressive, then they won’t win.

While Logano is frustrated that Byron and Bowman remained in the race, would he do the same thing in this instance? It seems that he would at least try to make a big push because drivers have to be aggressive.

White Flag: Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric Get Together

The final crash, once again, saw the one who made the contact get away, and the two who caused an earlier crash winning the race. Corey LaJoie tried to sneak under Austin Cindric heading to the white flag, and Cindric was sent into Ross Chastain which started the crash.

Here, LaJoie goes to the bottom to try to squeeze his car in, and Cindric tries to block. The two collide, and that sets off the chain reaction crash. This is not necessarily a push gone wrong by LaJoie, but, it is two drivers going for the same spot on the track at the same time. LaJoie and Cindric both gave very different opinions of the incident.

Cindric claimed that LaJoie “Tried to fit a car where there wasn’t a car and just continued to push me until I wrecked.”

LaJoie said, “It’s the last lap. I’ve seen him do a lot fo dumb things too. We’re not friends, so, that’s that.”

So, who was at fault here? LaJoie was trying to be aggressive on the last lap and make a big move to potentially win the Daytona 500, and Cindric happened to leave the hole open. Cindric isn’t going to just let LaJoie into that spot either, and tried to bloc. Both drivers were going for the same spot, so, ultimately, both drivers should get some of the blame.

If these moves were just a bit different, how does the race end? We will not know, but, these big wrecks definitely affected the outcome of the 2024 Daytona 500.

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Joshua Lipowski

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