Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano had very different reactions to the crash that cost them both a victory at the famous Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Logano led the pack as they headed toward the final leg of the final lap of Sunday’s rain-delayed first game of the season. But an aggressive move by Keselowski at the No. 2 position – he tried to bypass Logano on the inside, but caused them both to go off – sparked a massive crash that cost them both a victory in the opening of the 2021 NASCAR season.
Instead, Michael McDowell took advantage of the situation and won his first Daytona 500 under the yellow flag (he was also the first to cross the finish line). It was the only lap he led in the 200-lap race. Logano finished 12th and Keselowski 13th.
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Logano said after the race:
“Pandemonium, I guess. Chaos struck, “he said.” (Keselowski) kept trying to back down, trying to get a run. I was trying to back up towards him to keep the races from getting too big and I guess he got to the back of (McDowell) and it ended up being a really big race coming towards me and it seemed like we all just collided. In one single place. It’s a real bummer that none of the Penske cars ever won, but at least one Ford won and I’m so happy for McDowell.
“I hate that we didn’t win with our Shell / Pennzoil Mustang. I feel like we had a great opportunity being where we were and leading on the last lap, but if we couldn’t win, I’m very happy to see McDowell.” “He’s a great guy, a great person, a good leader in life, and he’s helped me a lot in my life, so it’s great to see him win the Daytona 500.”
Keselowski was clearly frustrated after the accident, throwing his helmet and gloves at his No. 2 car.
That said, he had no regrets for the move that cost his teammate a victory and himself a top two result.
“I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive someone else’s car, it’s very frustrating,” he said after the race. “The Ford Discount Tire wasn’t the fastest, but (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and the whole team did a great job keeping us in position and at that point we were in position. It’s exactly where I want to be second in the last. Back at Daytona with this package and I had the race, I made the move and it didn’t work.
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The two spoke on Twitter after their post-race interviews, again in very different tones. Logano, aiming for his second victory at the Daytona 500, was “bummed.” Keselowski, who caused the accident as he tried to win the race for the first time and become the second active driver to win all four NASCAR crown jewel events, said his “heart is broken.”
My body is fine but my heart is broken
Months of study, months of tremendous preparation for the # 2 create and in the perfect position at the end …
Still another # DAYTONA500 sneaks …
What else can you say?
What else can you do but be grateful for the opportunity?
– Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) February 15, 2021
Both drivers will have another chance to win at Daytona next week, albeit at O’Reilly Auto Parts 253, a road race.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.