First Next Gen Big One Includes Harrison Burton Blowover

Brad Keselowski pushed the right rear of the Wood Bros. No. 21 and others piled-in.


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History will remember it as the first 'Big One' of the Next Gen era and it began with a push from Brad Keselowski that sent Harrison Burton around and briefly upside down across the Daytona International Speedway backstretch.

The first major incident of the 64th Daytona 500 took place on Lap 64. Burton was leading the outside line and had been receiving a steady push from Keselowski the last several laps. The final one was too far to the right and sent Burton hard left into William Byron.

Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and eventually Ross Chastain all drove into the crash with varying intensities. Burton blew over before landing on all four tires. Burton attempted to drive his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford away from the scene, but it was too heavily damaged.

The crash eliminated Burton, Hamlin, Byron and Chastain from the race while the others were able to repair their cars and return to the field.

Burton immediately came over his radio and lamented being hit on the right side as the cause of the incident.

"These bumpers don’t line up as good as the old ones did," Burton said. "Through the testing I always found that dead center was the best, so when I was pushing Joey (Logano) or whoever you wanted to push, do it in the center of the bumper.

"I couldn’t tell, here. I haven’t watched a good video of it yet, so don’t take what I say to the bank. Obviously, I’m not questioning Brad’s ability, but I think he just got a little wide on my right side and kind of shot me on the inside."

Burton says he was working together well with Keselowski up to that point, even if there were moments ‘I was having to save it kind of sideways,’ before one got too far to his right side."

Hamlin was aiming to win his fourth Daytona 500 in seven years and diplomatically pinned the incident on Keselowski.

"Obviously it was too much because it caused a big crash," he said. "You could see (Burton) was kind of getting out of control there, so you know the mindset was that you’ve got to back off, but I think (Keselowski) was just insistent on pushing him at all costs and eventually turned (Burton) around.

"It’s tough because it was just for the stage. We were boxed in and I felt like something was about to happen, but I was boxed in, behind a teammate and trying to help. Again, just too aggressive pushing when he they weren’t lined-up and in control."

Byron was surprised the pushes kept coming from Keselowski to Burton give what he saw from the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24.

"He was kind of out of control the lap before that, so I was already nervous about it," Byron said. "There was nothing that I could do because I was on the inside and trying to push (Truex). All the guys on the bottom could seem to take the push pretty well. I thought we were going to have a really good day, so it sucks that it could end before we could get any points."