The theme of the weekend at Daytona International Speedway is blocking.Â
And in the Coke Zero Sugar 400, blocking was less tolerated than in previous super-speedway races. Kurt Busch dumped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. early in the race. Brad Keselowski, whoÂ denounced blocking earlier in the week, dumped a blocking William Byron in practice Thursday.Â
With 42Â laps to go, Austin Dillon appeared to veer left into turn 1 in response to Clint Bowyer’s diving move to the lead. It didn’t work out.
Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and William Byron were the few cars that appearedÂ without damage, which is the case when the leaders crash in front of the field.Â NBC reported that 19 cars were involved in the accident.
Busch had been in the lead but came to pit road for service after NASCAR put out a one-to-go signal under the yellow flag. Lightning struck close to the track shortly afterward. Justin Haley, an Xfinity Series regular, was the leader as the red flag flew. NASCAR called the race as official a couple hours later as rain soaked the track. Haley earned his first ever Cup Series victory in his third Cup Series start.
The intensity spiked after the end of Stage 2, with weather approaching. Dillon, Busch, Denny Hamlin and others traded the lead under darkening skies.
Joey Logano won Stage 1, while Dillon earned the Stage 2 victory.