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“Then I Hit Him Again” – Brad Keselowski Shrugs Off His On-Track Tussle With Kyle Busch, Triggering a Wreck Fest

Published 02/16/2024, 1:12 PM EST

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The 2024 Bluegreen Vacations Duel has been nothing short of action-packed throughout the day. From Jimmie Johnson barely making it past J.J. Yeley to qualify for the 500 in race 1 to Tyler Reddick and his Toyota Camry XSE fending off three HMS drivers, the Daytona Speedweek was off to a brilliant start. But that would all change for Ryan Blaney and a few other drivers.

Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch bumped into William Byron, triggering the Big One in the second duel. While Ryan Blaney wasted no time in voicing his frustration with the drivers behind him, Keselowski and Busch shrugged off the incident as a standard result of the ‘crapshoot’ that racing at a superspeedway like Daytona has become.

Brad Keselowski reveals his point of view during the Big One

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Reflecting on the incident, Keselowski shared with Bob Pockrass, “Something happened that shuffled the #24 (Byron) ahead of the #8 (Busch), and he didn’t have any speed to run. What happened, I was close to Kyle, and I checked up. I got off his bumper just in time for him to get the back of the #24, checked up, and then I hit him again.” 

It all began when Ryan Blaney was running in fifth and tried to make a move on fourth-position runner William Byron. Byron’s #24 was right ahead of the #12, blocking with all his might to break Blaney’s momentum. In this effort to block, the #24 lost some traction and failed to pick up momentum itself. Soon enough, Blaney was ahead of Byron, with Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski charging close behind.

Busch had to lift off the throttle to avoid hitting Byron on a few occasions, but with Keselowski right behind him, contact with the #24 was inevitable.

With William Byron spinning out, Ryan Blaney was unfortunately clipped on the right rear, sending him nose-first into the SAFER barrier. While this was the moment that directly triggered the Big One, Keselowski wasn’t too concerned with how things unfolded, sharing some disappointment at the loss of the cars.

He concluded, “I think the #24 was already spinning by then, just kind of how these deals go. I don’t know how the #24 got shuffled. He shuffled in front of Kyle, and we had a freight train of a run coming. I hate it for Kyle, I hate it for us, too, since we gotta fix it.”

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While Brad Keselowski felt the incident wasn’t up to one action but the result of a chain reaction, Kyle Busch had some words of advice for the #8 Spotter.

Could Keselowski’s crew have done more to prevent the Big One?

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In the final moments leading up to the Big One, Kyle Busch was closing in on William Byron after he had lost momentum. The #6 driver anticipated Byron’s pace and lifted himself to avoid bumping the #12. Unfortunately, Keselowski didn’t get the memo in time and kept drafting Busch until they were right behind Byron’s bumper, resulting in the big wreck.

When asked by the media if Keselowski was driving too hard, Busch defended him and stated, “He couldn’t see through me. So I don’t blame him, but it’s just the nature of what all this stuff is.” However, Busch felt the #8 garage could have done more to avoid such an incident.

The RCR driver shared his two cents, “Better spotter communication, I guess, maybe on Brad’s guy’s part, you know, ‘Hey, check-up, check-up, the #24 (Byron) is no speed in front of you.’ I don’t know what the code is, but it’s gotta be quick.”

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And with that, both Keselowski and Busch put the big wreck behind them, hoping to get the backup cars ready in time for the Daytona 500 in two days.

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Written by:

Kabir Bajaj Ahmed

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Kabir Bajaj Ahmed is an F1 & NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Known for his storytelling and extensive research skills, he has covered multiple stories on Dale Earnhardt Jr and his legendary dad, allowing readers to relive the thunderous days of 'The Intimidator'. Being a racer himself, Kabir can resonate with the motorsport world better than most.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad