Daytona NASCAR Support Race Ends with Rolling Car, Photo Finish
Even NASCAR's top-level pack races at Daytona and Talladega are known for their "Big One" wrecks that sweep through the field. Support series also run pack races at these tracks, though, and the combination of inexperience and urgency makes these wrecks all the more common. All of that made yesterday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona's race-ending crash no surprise, but the specifics of the wreck are as strange as any you will ever see.
That final lap. pic.twitter.com/cjU4eumpQ0
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 19, 2023
Sam Mayer was racing teammate Justin Allgaier for the lead out of turn 2 when he found himself leading without any drafting help. Mayer cut back down to stop the run of third-placed Austin Hill, bounced off Allgaier, and after bouncing back into the next lane wasspun at full speed off Hill's nose. At that moment, Allgaier was clearly leading and a caution at this exact point would have awarded him the race win. Mayer, however, went on to roll backwards in front of the entire field as they slowed to avoid the wreck. The caution flag was thrown a little later, with the leader unclear.
This is the photo at the time of caution that NASCAR syncs frame by frame with timestamps. The 21 rear is ahead of the 20 and that is what made it clear to them. pic.twitter.com/u6LrFSd4Cz
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 19, 2023
Since it was the last lap of the race, NASCAR went to video review to determine when exactly the caution was thrown rather than deciding who would lead from timing loops placed around the track. The moment of the caution is actually seconds after Mayer flips, which means that Allgaier (obscured behind the No. 20 of John Hunter Nemechek in this photo) fell from the win to third. Hill is instead named the race winner, with Nemechek in second.
With all three major support races complete, the stage is set for the 2023 Daytona 500 later this afternoon. Hopefully, it ends without any last-lap rollovers and video reviews.
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