NASCAR Cup Series
Austin Cindric Claims Daytona 500 Win on Penske's Birthday
Feb 21, 2022
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wasn't even done crashing as he keyed-up his radio with a conclusion on how he ended up in this predicament.
"Should have known with the 6. Dang it."
Stenhouse was leading the outside line with six laps to go in the 64th Daytona 500 when he got a push from behind in Turn 4 by Brad Keselowski. The contact sent the JTG Daugherty No. 47 around and hard into the wall. Chris Buescher, Keselowski’s teammate at Roush Fenway Keselowski had nowhere to go and was collected in the incident as well.
Earlier in the race, Harrison Burton crashed as a result of similar contact from Keselowski in an incident that also eliminated Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Ross Chastain.
"I felt like we were pushing people at the right times and there were spots on the race track you didn’t want to push or get pushed and (Keselowski) found that out a couple times today," Stenhouse said. "He tried to wreck everybody in the field until he won."
Stenhouse led 16 laps on Sunday and has earned a reputation as an aggressive superspeedway racer who is always near the front at Daytona and Talladega. He has a single win at both venues during his tenure at Roush Fenway Racing.
"For me, I was so happy with the way our race was playing out," Stenhouse said. "At the end, with so many Fords behind us, I was just trying to hang on. I felt like it was a little too early to need to get back to the lead off Turn 4. We had five more laps to get back to the lead if we needed to.
"I thought we all pushed really good; you just can’t push off the edge of a corner. Brad did it to (Burton) in Turn 2 early in the race and did it to me off Turn 4 at the end."
Keselowski was involved in a last lap crash and credited with a ninth-place finish in his debut as a driver-owner. He said he was surprised that Burton went around from his push earlier in the race.
"I was just pushing, and it just turned sideways and spun immediately out," Keselowski said of Burton. "I don’t know what happened there. It was a shame to see it. I hate it for him. I was trying to help him win the stage and certainly didn’t want to see him spin out."
He felt the same way about the incident with Stenhouse, too.
"The same thing," Keselowski said. "I was just pushing. We weren’t even all the way up to speed, so I feel like it was a crazy time to be pushing, but obviously the results say different."
The race was the first using the Next Gen platform and the rules of superspeedway engagement had subtlety changed since last season. Keselowski thought he was doing something that would have given both himself and Stenhouse a chance to fend off the Team Penske duo of Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney.
Keselowski led six times for a race high 67 laps after winning his qualifying race on Thursday night.
"Whenever somebody spins out obviously there’s somebody over aggressive ...," Keselowski said. "I was trying to give Stenhouse a push there and I thought we could settle it amongst us three and clear with the top lane, but it didn’t come together."