Brad Keselowski made it clear last summer in Daytona that he was going to wreck people “so they would stop throwing bad blocks,” and he delivered another message Thursday afternoon in final practice.
Keselowski tagged William Byron going into Turn 3 as the two led a small drafting pack. Byron got sideways but saved his car, although it suffered damage to both the left rear, where the initial contact came from, and right rear, which Keselowski hit as Byron started to come back up the track.
“I just had a big run and he put me in a position where I had to lift and I keep telling these guys I’m not lifting,” said Keselowski. “I hate it for his team and they got to work on their car and so do ours, but just trying to send a message: I’m not lifting.”
A year ago, Keselowski was spun on the backstretch at Daytona. He was in the lead pack, which Byron was leading, when Byron made a block from the top of the track to the bottom, where Keselowski lifted to avoid getting into him and was hit by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from behind.
“I’m tired of getting wrecked at the plate tracks,” Keselowski continued. “I’ve been wrecked four out of these last five races, quite honestly because I let people pull moves like that on me. They’re all watching. They know.”
Byron will switch to a backup car for the remainder of the weekend.
“I was in the lead last year and he was second and I guess he thought I threw a block,” Byron referenced. “I thought I was clear there (in practice), which obviously I was, but he just decided to drive into the left rear.
“I don’t know. It’s practice. I get it, but I don’t think that was really necessary to turn us there, but it’s all right.”