DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell — Kyle Souza photo —
Daytona 500 rookies Matt DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher saw their runs in the 58th annual ‘Great American Race’ come to a rough end on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, after a vicious crash into the Turn 2 outside SAFER barrier drew the third caution of the race at lap 92.
DiBenedetto’s No. 93 Dustless Blasting Toyota from the BK Racing stable got loose on the bottom of the track, sending him hurtling up into Buescher’s No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops/Front Row Motorsports Ford and both drivers into a heavy impact, before they slid down the banking to a stop.
Both drivers were slow to climb from their machines (DiBenedetto limped a little with help from safety officials), and were taken to the infield care center — where both were checked and released.
“I am fine, it just knocked the wind out of me,” DiBenedetto said.
Because Sunday was both young guns’ first appearance at ‘The Great American Race’, the end result stung even more.
“We were having so much fun. I hate that I’m standing here right now,” reigning XFINITY Series champion Buescher said. “It was just hard racing. The track had gotten slick there. But, Matt (DiBenedetto) apologized to me and I appreciate that. He said he had just gotten loose there. (This is) an unfortunate way to end our first Daytona 500.”
A dejected DiBenedetto, however, took full responsibility for the accident.
“I just hate it for my guys,” he said. “We worked so hard to get here, to make the Daytona 500. Once the fuel run (went farther), we kept getting looser and looser. I have no excuse. I went into (turn one) with a head of steam, got sideways, and crashed. So it was my fault. Nobody to blame but myself.”
Halfway through the 500-mile race and with two more drivers retired, the field is slimming as the checkered flag approaches. Broadcast coverage of the action can be found on FOX, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Follow along for live updates on Race Chaser Online’s Twitter @RaceChaserNews all the way through the checkered flag.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and was also formerly the public relations director for NASCAR Next member Austin Hill. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Md., completing his sophomore year. He is just 15 years old.
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