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Who’s To Blame for the BIG WRECK at Daytona?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The 2nd Duel at Daytona was marred by a huge crash. Ryan Blaney was hooked into the wall setting off a 12-car accident where 5 cars, including Blaney, were forced to pull out backup cars for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Ryan Blaney was hot under the collar, saying that an “Awful push” caused the accident, but, what actually happened?

  • This is the second Daytona race in a row where Ryan Blaney has been turned into the wall resulting in a terrifying hit. He also crashed in the regular season finale at Daytona in 2023 off the fender of Ty Gibbs.
  • Superspeedway crashes are often some of the biggest and most violent in the sport. The big packs of cars and high speeds typically cause what fans and broadcasters refer to as “The Big One”.
  • Fans were somewhat split on who to blame for the accident. Some put it on a bad block, others put it on a bad push.

Analyzing the Crash

Below is a video that shows the full crash as Blaney vents his frustration to Fox. This offers the best view of what led up to the accident.

Looking at the crash moment by moment, the chain reaction started off of turn four, when Blaney tried to make a move to the outside and Byron blocked the move. Blaney moves back to the inside underneath Byron, and Byron backs up thanks to no drafting partner.

While this is all happening, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are coming up behind Byron with a huge head of steam. Keselowski is pushing Busch, and Byron is all by himself with no drafting partner.

Busch then bumps Byron a little bit too hard in the wrong spot, which sends Byron to the inside. Byron right hooks Blaney and it’s on from there.

So, who’s fault is this? Kyle Busch is the one who blocked Byron, with Byron turning into Blaney. But, what could Busch have done differently? Busch was being pushed by Keselowski, so, it’s not fair to put all of the blame on Busch.

Byron was the one who made the block on Blaney. Was it aggressive? Sure, but, it’s the final 15 laps of the race. Byron was trying to protect his position at all costs because if he got caught with a driver on his outside, the train of cars would follow and he would be stuck in his spot.

Now on to Keselowski. Keselowski was pushing Busch as the Blaney/Byron blocking was happening. The pushing continued as Byron ended up in front of Busch, and the sheer momentum that Busch had with little control over his car was what pushed Byron around.

Was Keselowski’s move aggressive? Sure, it was aggressive, and he could have backed off of Busch with Byron in front of them both to prevent the accident.

In fairness, it was late in the race, and Keselowski was trying to push his lane as far forward as he could to get to the front. He also was stuck behind a car, so, could he see what was going on in front of him?

Ultimately, most of the blame can probably be placed on Brad Keselowski for a bad push. Byron did make an aggressive block, which blocked the fast-moving cars behind him. That may have been a bit ill-advised, but, it’s tough to pin the blame squarely on him. Ultimately, it’s racing, and this can also be chalked up to multiple drivers going for the same space at the same time.

What the Drivers Had to Say

Kyle Busch

While Blaney put the blame squarely on a “bad push”, different drivers had different perspectives of the wreck. Kyle Busch, for example, defended Keselowski somewhat, saying the driver of the No. 6 car could not see what was going on in front of them. This caused Busch to hit Byron in the tri-oval, which Busch said they’re not “supposed to do”.

Brad Keselowski

Keselowski offered a different perspective. He claims that he got off of the rear bumper of Busch right before Busch hit Byron. It’s tough to tell from the camera angle if that did happen, but, Keselowski and Busch did end up separated pretty quickly after Byron spun out. In that sense, it seemed that Keselowski tried to give Busch whatever control he could so that Byron would not crash.

William Byron

William Byron was not upset at all after the wreck. He mentioned how he had been pushed through the tri-oval throughout the night, but in this instance, Byron was so much slower that it caused the accident. He simply called it, “One of those deals”.

Who Was At Fault?

Everyone had a different perspective on the wreck. Byron seems to think it was a racing incident, Blaney puts it squarely on a bad push, Busch was not sure if Keselowski could see, and Keselowski said that he tried to adjust for the #24.

Ultimately, it seems that this was a classic example of multiple drivers arguing over the same real estate at the same time. Could Keselowski have been less aggressive with his push? Maybe, but, he claims that he tried to get off of Busch’s rear bumper. Was Byron’s block aggressive? Yes, it was, but he was trying to both keep Blaney from passing him and get into the fast lane.

There were a lot of moving pieces in this, and if one was a bit different, the incident would not happen. Most of the drivers involved seem to think this was a racing incident to some extent.

However, if blame has to be pinned somewhere, the aggressive push by Keselowski may be it. Then again, the Byron/Blaney block happened so fast that maybe pulling off of Busch would not have changed the momentum that much.

It’s a tough call, and there are multiple different perspectives on the crash. Who was at fault?

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Joshua Lipowski

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