Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano had very different reactions to the crash that cost them both a win at the famed Daytona 500 on Sunday.
Logano led the pack as they headed down the final stretch of the final lap of Sunday’s rain-delayed season opener. But an aggressive move from Keselowski in the No. 2 position — he tried to pass Logano on the inside, but caused the both to spin out — caused a massive fiery crash that cost both a win in the 2021 NASCAR season opener.
Instead, Michael McDowell took advantage of the situation and won his first ever Daytona 500 under caution (he was also first to cross the finish line). It was the only lap he led in the 200-lap race. Logano finished 12th, and Keselowski finished 13th.
Said Logano after the race:
“Pandemonium, I guess. Chaos struck,” he said. “(Keselowski) kept trying to back up, trying to get a run. I was trying to back up to him to keep the runs from being too big and just, I guess he got to the back of (McDowell) and it ended up being a really big run coming at me and it seemed like we all just collided in one spot. It’s a real bummer that none of the Penske cars won, but at least a Ford won and I’m really happy for McDowell.
“I hate that we didn’t win with our Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. I feel like we had a great shot being where we were and leading on the last lap, but if we couldn’t win I’m really happy to see McDowell win this thing. He’s a great guy, a great person, a good leader in life and has helped me a lot in my life, so it’s very cool to see him win the Daytona 500.”
Keselowski was clearly frustrated following the crash, tossing his helmet and gloves at his No. 2 car.
That said, he didn’t regret the move that cost his teammate a win and himself a top-two finish.
“I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everybody else’s car, so frustrating,” he said following the race. “The Discount Tire Ford was not the fastest, but (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and the whole team did a great job of keeping us in position and right then we were in position. It’s exactly where I want to be running second on the last lap at Daytona with this package and had the run, made the move and it didn’t work out.”
The two spoke out on Twitter following their post-race interviews, again with very different tones. Logano, who was aiming for his second Daytona 500 win, was “bummed.” Keselowski, who caused the crash in his bid to win the race for the first time — and become only the second active driver to win all four of NASCAR’s crown jewel events — said his “heart is broke.”
My body is fine but my heart is broke
Months of studying, months of tremendous car prep from the #2crew & in the perfect position at the end…
Yet, Another #DAYTONA500 slips away…
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 at a win in Daytona next week, albeit at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253, a road race.