Ken de la Bastide: Carnage not surprising at Daytona

Feb. 20—Was anyone surprised the Daytona 500's last 10 laps saw two multi-car crashes?

With the field running three abreast in the closing laps, the proverbial "big one" took place with seven laps remaining which resulted in 18 cars taken out of contention.

Watching the closing circuits, it became evident an accident was going to happen and if it took place at the front of the field, there would be a lot of carnage.

But the carnage wasn't completed until the final lap, which meant the race finished under caution with William Byron being declared the winner over teammate Alex Bowman.

NASCAR officials determined Byron was leading at the time of the final caution, although replays appeared to show it was Bowman leading when the caution lights came on.

The Hendrick Racing teammates finished one-two on the 40th anniversary of the team's first trip to the Daytona 500.

The big crash knocked out of the race the car of Joey Logano, which was probably the best car all night.

A problem is the driver leading the race in the closing stages will inevitably move from lane to lane to block the cars running strongest in the draft.

When that happens, the trailing cars in the draft have two options — get off the gas or hit the brake — in either case causing the cars to get out of shape with the end result being the carnage.

Several drivers following the race complained most of the race was one of saving fuel and a 20-lap sprint to the finish.

It was a weekend of carnage for NASCAR, with several big crashes during the Truck race and the Xfinity race.

Before the Truck race on Friday, officials asked the drivers to be patient, a request that was mostly ignored by the drivers.

The Fox announcers at one point commented if fans like "pack" racing, there would be more in store this weekend at Atlanta.


Anderson's Greg VanAlst followed up his 2023 Daytona win with the ARCA Menard's series with a third-place finish.

His teammate, Issac Johnson, finished 18th after being caught up in a last-lap accident.

In that race, Gus Dean scored the win when he left his teammate, Jake Finch, out to dry after an agreement Dean would surrender the lead to Finch after a restart.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.