DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – You know you are a villain when you crash at a track like the Daytona International Speedway and the crowd cheers. That’s exactly what happened when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was collected in a two car crash on Lap 123 of Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Kyle Larson appeared to lose a tire in Turn 3 and he spun in front of his friend, Stenhouse as a result of that. The Roush/Fenway Racing driver had no where to go and ran into Larson, suffering damage to his No. 17 Ford.
The crowd erupted in cheers when that happened.
See, out of the two early race big ones, Stenhouse was directly involved in both. Some blame him for both accidents, but I think the first one was a byproduct of restrictor plate racing. The other thought was actually his fault.
On Lap 53, it appeared that Stenhouse was pushing Brad Keselowski too hard entering Turn 3. But, Keselowski later said that the 25 car melee in the third turn wasn’t Stenhouse’s fault but rather William Byron’s for coming down and blocking their momentum. Stenhouse wasn’t doing anything wrong but rather Keselowski checked up which caused him to crash.
I put the fault on that crash on plate racing. Keselowski said that he either checks up and causes a crash or doesn’t check up and runs over Byron causing a crash too.
Then, 11 laps later, well that crash was Stenhouse’s fault. He admitted he was side drafting too deep in the turns and while in the middle of the banking, he got into Kyle Busch’s left rear quarter panel. That sent Busch into race leader William Byron causing both to get into the outside SAFER barrier in Turn 4.
Social media went a blaze blaming Stenhouse for both incidents when in reality, only one was his fault. So, when Larson went spinning in Turn 3 and Stenhouse got into him, the crowd went nuts.
That wasn’t it for Stenhouse either. He blew a tire heading into the tri-oval on Lap 149 bringing out another caution. He would eventually finish 17th.
Stenhouse, had a great car and a great shot to win tonight too though. He led six times for 51 laps including winning both stages.