DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday’s DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway concluded with carnage and chaos. From a race with huge packs throughout the event it became a survival strategy in the closing laps.
Many thought we were going to see what we saw on Saturday with the Xfinity Series race, cars running single file against the wall. Fortunately, that was not the case. The event consisted of two-wide and sometimes three-wide racing most of the day.
The first major accident happened with less than 20 laps to go. More than 15 cars were a part of that accident, but Ross Chastain was able to overcome the madness and bring home the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet in 10th place.
“Just riding around” Chastain told reporters. “Jay Robinson working together, having a plan coming in that’s why he kept me in the car and didn’t put other people in I think because he knew we could work together and know when to go right at the end and try to get 10th that’s a big deal for us.”
Chastain pulled triple duty to start off the season. In all three races, he stayed out of trouble and his best finish came in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck event where he placed in the third position.
“It’s luck for sure, definitely luck,” Chastain said. “I said it this morning, we’re going to use all our luck up this weekend and I might come back here for five years and crash. You just take it when you can get it and luckily, I had a plan in the Truck race knowing they were going to crash and, in the Xfinity race, we got lucky because we went and raced, and nobody did crash so good thing we did race.
“Tonight, we knew from the beginning to just ride and we got two laps down at one point. The car was fast enough to keep up it was just matter of timing our gaps and stay in that second pack.”
Luck played a role for most of the drivers that finished in the top-10. Some of the cars that had strong placements were already involved in prior accidents throughout the event. It shows that part of your driving skills at superspeedway tracks like Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway must be fast reflexes as drivers need to know how to avoid wrecks.
“A couple of them we got lucky to be able to stop in time,” Chastain said. “I slid my tires a couple of times trying to get slowed down but I feel like its right place at the right time. There is a bigger plan for all of this and a lot of this is out of our control as far as if you get caught up in it or not.”
After an offseason that left Chastain in wonders after losing his full-time Xfinity Series ride with Chip Ganassi Racing, Chastain started the 2019 season on the right track. As Speedweeks concludes, Chastain will put his focus on Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend, where he hopes to continue the momentum of a strong start to the season.
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