After an action-packed Daytona 500, we can’t help but wondering what the heck is going on.
Kurt Busch took his first 500 victory during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, but finishing the race at all arguably was just as impressive a feat.
When Busch crossed the finish line, there were just 25 cars, and hardly any of NASCAR’s big-ticket drivers, remaining on track. Veterans such as Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, all of whom were running well at the time, were taken out in one of the several big wrecks.
For many NASCAR fans, the Daytona 500 probably felt like déjà vu, as Saturday’s Xfinity Series race had an even higher attrition rate. During the 124-lap race, there were 10 cautions — one less than the event record — resulting in only 20 of the 40 cars reaching the checkered flag.
While some might attribute the helter-skelter races to NASCAR’s new race format, we’re not entirely convinced that’s the case.
While the goal of the new format undoubtedly was to create more aggressive on-track action, not all of the accidents happened at the end of a stage when points were up for grabs. Brad Keselowski touched upon this after crashing out, telling FOX some years there are just a lot more wrecks at Daytona than others.
Given that there were such an exceedingly high number of incidents in both the Xfinity and Cup races, however, it seems to suggest one of two things: Either drivers are racing with a greater sense of desperation due to the new format, or they’re being feeling overly aggressive this year.
We won’t know for sure until we see a few more races run using the stage-based format, but either way it seems like we might be in for some long races this year.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images