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Tony Stewarts beats Kyle Busch to win the Daytona 400, but triggers a bad last lap crash

Another maddening, crashing finish to a restrictor plate race: Kyle Busch (18) heading nose-first into the wall after being hit by Tony Stewart and then Kasey Kahne (9) in the final yards of the Coke 400 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Another plate race, another big, dangerous crash at the finish line.
   This time it was Tony Stewart versus Kyle Busch. At Talladega a few weeks ago it was Carl Edwards versus Brad Keselowski.
   And once again drivers said they were helpless to change the frightening dynamics of restrictor plate racing.
   Stewart bumped his way to victory in a vigorous last lap duel with Busch. But the NASCAR tour leader was clearly shaken, and apologetic, about the final moments of Saturday night's Coke 400.
   Stewart dominated the race, and was leading on the final restart with nine laps to go in the 160-lapper. But Busch, with help from teammate Denny Hamlin, made a move to the outside on Stewart and blew by to take the lead heading into the last lap.
   But Stewart didn't give up, and had his front bumper on Busch's rear through the final lap. Coming off the fourth turn, Stewart appeared to give Busch a slight tap, to try to get him loose in the trioval. Stewart then tried to jump to the outside of Busch, who moved up to the outside line, and the two collided.
   Busch slammed hard nose-first into the outside wall, then he got hit brutally hard twice, once by Kasey Kahne in the driver's door. It was one of the most vicious crashes of the season.

The set up: Kyle Busch, with a push by teammate Denny Hamlin, moving to the outside around Tony Stewart for the lead (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   When the smoke cleared, Busch, seemingly miraculously, climbed from his car and walked all the way across the track and left without comment.
   Stewart was shaken: "I don't know if I was real proud of that…but I don't know what else I could have done.
  "I went where I had to go (high), and he went where he had to go (high)….
   "I don't like to win 'em like that. You don't like it. But you're kind of forced in that position.
   "I made my move to the outside and got up to his rear tire, and he went to block us, and we were already there.
   "It still doesn't mean you like it. That's not the way you want to win these things.
   "We had a good car and a good day…but you feel bad because you wanted him to have a good day too…
    "If I did something wrong, I'm sorry. I don't think I did.
    "I was out there when he moved (up)….but you just feel bad about it. That's not the way you want to win these things."
   "I wanted to be up there fighting with those guys, but then that was insane – I saw Kyle's car sideways and going head-on into the wall," Carl Edwards, finishing fourth, said.
   "It's plate racing. We're damned if we do, damned if we don't," runner-up Jimmie Johnson said.
   "This is just a product of restrictor plate racing. Every time we leave restrictor plate tracks, we have questions about how to keep this from happening. But we can't."

Tony Stewart: Upset over the finish. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mike, KB triggered that

KB triggered that incident. Aggressive blocking twice, not even close to clear the second time. What did he expect TS to do, brake? KB made an aggressive move, hurting himself and putting all the other drivers in that wreck at serious risk. Your article doesn't mention KB's blocking? Clear as day on many replays. KB clearly turned down on TS to block, not even close to clear. I never heard "clear" from his spotter, either and I was listening to KB's scanner.

"I made my move to the

"I made my move to the outside and got up to his rear tire, and he went to block us, and we were already there.
"It still doesn't mean you like it. That's not the way you want to win these things.

This time it was very clear,

This time it was very clear, Tony had the spot and Busch came back up the track and got spanked for it. Busch looked like a rookie and Stewart looked like a professional. Do you think Earnhardt Senior would have lifted and let Busch go by? No way. Quit crying Busch, or keep it up to show everyone the real cry baby you are.

Did you see the same replays

Did you see the same replays I did? KB turned in front of Tony at 186 MPH 200 feet from a vitory and took himself and half the field out. Not Tony. PS I wonder how many comments you don't see/get because your stupid code will never take. I am on my 8th try to get it to work...
Make that 9: The answer you entered for the CAPTCHA was not correct.
Make that 10
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Kyle Bush knew that he had to

Kyle Bush knew that he had to block regardless of the consequence. He has shown in the past that he will deliberately wreck another driver to win. His block failed when he came back up, since Stewart was already past his rear quarter panel. He wrecked himself, trying to win.
The rest of the carnage was caused by the home made "Not Stock" cars. They run in a pack & wrecks are going to happen. If the drivers were not as good as they are, with defensive driving, we would see wrecks on every lap.
I have driven in the 50s & watched racing ever since. This latest racing is garbage. It is only to sensationalize the pack type wrecks, that the modern fan wants to see.
Tom M

Kyle made a great move to get

Kyle made a great move to get around Tony, then threw it all away with the blocking moves. It sums up Kyle's career: brilliant moves followed by bone-headed moves. So great at times and so dumb at other times.

"Every time we leave

"Every time we leave restrictor plate tracks, we have questions about how to keep this from happening. But we can't."

Wrong. Yes you can. Don't block. Blocking is illegal. Just because NACSAR no longer has the courage to enforce it doesn't mean the drivers "have" to do it. It is dangerous and it causes wrecks. It caused this wreck. Just don't block.

Na$crap's silence on blocking

Na$crap's silence on blocking is finally starting to bite them in the a**. Kudo's to Brad K. for holding his ground at Talladega, after Regan Smith got badly blocked below the yellow line by Tony last yaer. Way too many plate races have been run with the winner blocking all the way to the finish. Block once OK, then let the 2nd car attempt to pass another time, WHY WOULDN'T that be exciting for the fans? Busch hitting the wall looked alot like Dale Sr.'s Daytona crash. Kahne hitting Busch looked like Edwards/Newman at Talladega, and then he gets drilled on drivers side by Lagono. Now the drivers CLEARLY know what it will take to win a plate race. The day is fast coming to plate tracks where somebody will get killed from a blocking wreck, or a car will go into the stands. Anyone notice how Denny Hamlin got away with passing below the yellow line?

Both Kyle and Tony should

Both Kyle and Tony should have have the same view on the crash. It should go something like "I did what I had to do to try and win. So did he and only one of us was gonig to get to the checkers first." Neither one did anything wrong they each had one shot at winning and each one took the respective shot they had.

Kayne hit Busch in the rear.

Kayne hit Busch in the rear. It was Logano who got him in the door!

either way, it was some

either way, it was some brutal crashing.....i'm just glad those dudes walked out of the infield hospital.....

I agree with you Mike and I

I agree with you Mike and I can't understand the numerous articles I've seen today blaming Tony. I don't know what these people were watching last night but I still haven't seen a replay that even shows Tony bumping Kyle in the tri-oval. Either way he didn't cause the wreck, Kyle did. He blocked him twice, had the roles been reversed, everyone knows that Kyle would have certainly turned left and turned Tony. Had Kyle been smart and just held his line on the inside he would've won, Tony didn't have anyone close enough to push him past. Finally Kyle takes himself out in one of many wrecks he's caused in all of the series.

I am curious as to why nobody has brought up anything regarding the mystery caution with 15 to go. Either TNT was worse than usual and didn't think to bring it up or they were told not to question it.

debris, tires.....well, there

debris, tires.....well, there was a lot on the track....now you're not saying you're skeptical of some of these debris cautions are you?

Mike, I'm sorry, I have to

Mike, I'm sorry, I have to disagree with you but Tony didn't start that wreck. Tony was clearly beside Kyle when Kyle started to move up to block Steward and Kyle's quarter panel caught Tony's left front fender and that's what turned Kyle into the wall causing the big wreck. The replays clearly show Kyle moving up to block after Tony was already beside Kyle. I know Tony was apologizing in Victory Lane but he hadn't seen the replay showing clearly that Kyle moved up after Tony's car was beside him. Your statement that "Tony triggers a bad last lap crash" is simply not true. And, what Tony did to Kyle to initially loosen him up was exactly what Kyle would have done given the same cicumstances. Kyle is one thing that is wrong with Nascar today. Not a lot of fans care for the arrogant, brash, spoiled rich kid brat driver who pouts when he wrecks but doesn't mind wrecking other drivers when it's convenient for him. Two instances in just the last few weeks comes to mind. The wreck he caused at New Hampshire taking out a lot of drivers. And, the truck race at Charlotte where he deliberately took out the two top trucks. Nascar penalized him at Charlotte but that doesn't help the drivers who got their trucks tore up and lost points running for a championship. Maybe, eventually Kyle will hit the wall hard enough to knock some sense into him like his older brother seems to have learned. Again, replays clearly show Tony beside Kyle when Kyle moved up the track trying to block and made contact with Tony causing the wreck.

certainly, no question that

certainly, no question that kyle moved up and tony had the spot. i wasnt implying tony started the wreck; maybe bad wording, but he was obviously the man pressing the issue (no problem there, of course). i do think kyle could have stopped and said a few words afterwards, but then he did need ivs after that grand-american race, so he might have just been a bit worn out. and i dont really blame him that much for the loudon deal -- a guy goes low, there's an opening up high, it's a restart, and if you slow down too you'll probably get rearended. now charlotte might be a different story, i agree....

Stewart didn't "push" Kyle

Stewart didn't "push" Kyle anywhere. Kyle was three feet from being clear and turned into Stewart to block and caused his own problem. I thought it was a stupid move myself.

the push i was referring to

the push i was referring to was from the bumper cam shot on busch's car a few seconds earlier, which was light, yes, but i was thinking just enough to get busch a little loose, to give tony the option of high or low....yes, it was clearly busch's block that cause the wreck.....but what bothers me is driving were blocking all night -- how many guys were brushed into the outside wall, and yet i dont think nascar threw any penalties for that. stupid move? well, i wouldn't doubt that tony would have blocked high too, or at least faked high.....

Hey, did anyone see Hamlin

Hey, did anyone see Hamlin advance his position by passing below the yellow line last night and no penalty was issued? Even the announcers were discussing it just waiting for Nascar to black flag him or something. I thought they just came out before Talledega saying you couldn't pass below the yellow line or you would be penalized. They took a win away from Regan Smith at Talladega now it seems to be OK again. Another one of those deals of Nascar selectively enforcing their "rules"! And, I still believe Nascar is throwing "debris" cautions to try and make the races and/or finishes more exciting.

Yes, and Hamlin was asked

Yes, and Hamlin was asked about it:
"I think that was a similar deal where I had a pretty big run going and Kurt Busch saw me coming and went to block. I didn't want to cause the same wreck that happened in the 500.
"I felt like if they were going to black flag me I would have been okay with that, versus causing a wreck. But I didn't go more than my left side tires stayed on the yellow line; I'm not sure that they went below it.
"I think they saw it as more of an evasive move than a move to pass. I think that's probably what their judgment was."

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