DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch’s day at the Daytona 500 went from sublime to ruined in a matter of minutes. Forty-six laps after winning NASCAR’s first-ever race stage, Busch wrecked out of the race, victim of a blown tire. And after climbing from the ruins of his car, Busch didn’t waste time leveling blame.
“Goodyear tires just suck,” Busch told a handful of reporters in the garage.
Busch’s wreck collected fellow Toyota driver Erik Jones and teammate Matt Kenseth, as well as fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. Busch said he’d felt a rear tire losing air prior to the wreck, and soon afterward, he was in the wall. One driver’s splitter ended up embedded in the wall, causing a 17-minute red flag after the wreck.
“Obviously,” Busch told a TV audience, “Goodyear tires aren’t very good at holding air.”
This wasn’t a sudden development; according to Busch, tires had been a problem all week, from practice to the preseason Clash to the field-setting Duels. “Every time we put a set on they vibrated. Every single time,” Busch said, adding with dripping sarcasm, “So, they’re great.”
The tragedy, for Busch, is that the team had what he believed was a race-winning car. “Hell yeah, we were capable of winning this thing,” he said.
The wreck only adds to Busch’s ugly legacy at Daytona. He’s now raced 24 times at the Cup level, and has only a single victory, in the summer 2008 race. He’s also suffered multiple vicious wrecks here, including a 2009 last-lap wreck involving Tony Stewart that ended with Busch in the fence, and a 2015 Xfinity Series wreck that broke both of Busch’s legs and kept him out of the car for 11 races.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.