Oh the stories… The spin on the spins… The “behind the grandstands” commentary…

William Byron won the day late Daytona 500. Alex Bowman was right there with him for 2nd place. Hendrick Motorsports earned a 9th Daytona 500 win (Tied with Petty Enterprises).

“He wrecked half the field to do it!”
“They planned it – Byron drove right into the back of Brad!”
“Whatever – All the good ones got wrecked”

And other such talk. You’d think it was an election year with all the finger pointing conspiracy nonsense… (Wait… Oh… Yeah…)

To be fair (stop… we’re not in Canada) the drivers that got knocked about called it out as hot racing up front with laps winding down. Anyone not expecting someone to get loose and cause a super speedway “big one” just doesn’t watch racing very often.

Yes, Bowman gave Byron a push but was not lined up square and Byron went up and then down into Brad Keselowski. Side draft off the 22 of Logano seemed to catch the 24 and push it back down towards the 6 of Keselowski. The 6 spun in front of and around the 24. The 24 went below the line and caused the 38 of Todd Gilliland to check up and spin back into the field. Cars went into billiard mode and bounced about in smoke and rubber and metal.

The race actually finished under yellow. The restart put several up front with Byron being chased into the final laps. The 7 of Corey LaJoie, the 1 of Ross Chastain and the 2 of Austin Cindric got a bit touchy going for any advantage over the 24. The contact took them all off pace and kicked off the yellow just beyond the cut line for the 24 to set a re-start. The timing put Bowman just next to but a bumper back giving Byron the win.

Straight up I’m not a big fan of Byron. There is no doubt of his skill set with wins and growing performance consistency. It may just be the appearance of money and favoritism, real or not, of his somewhat sudden appearance and advancement through the upper tiers of NASCAR. It is not the digital iRacing heritage as that is actually kind of cool to come in that way. Perhaps there is a level of hard running late model drivers around the Country being skipped for shots at a seat while some much younger hit a streak of luck with bits falling into place at ease as if advancing levels in a video game.

Maybe it’s just the Liberty University connection. Have you been to Lynchburg…? If so, you’re not at all surprised by the Daytona “big one”. Everybody in Lynchburg drives like they expect God to save them…