Kurt Busch said his Chip Ganassi Racing team was in “a really good position” to win at Daytona Sunday afternoon.
But the No. 1 Chevrolet team pitted when NASCAR called one lap to go until the restart following the ‘Big One.’ With that call, Busch gave up the race lead and cycled to 10th before the red flag was displayed because of lightning within eight miles of the track.
“It’s a matter of when the one random lightning bolt comes down to decide when you make the call,” said Busch. “So, it was a judgment call on their [NASCAR] part.”
Asked what he thought when the first lightning bolt struck: “Just … they had to make a judgement call, and they made a judgement call.”
The race was declared official after more than two hours of trying to wait out more lightning and then a storm.
Asked if NASCAR could have done anything differently Busch said, “We could have started the race at 11 a.m. and got a full race in.
On whether he was bothered the race didn’t start earlier, Busch responded, “It’s just the TV window. There are so many things that are out of driver control. But common sense sometimes says there are going to be thunderstorms later. It’s all ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’. We got a top 10 today, and we’ll go to Kentucky next week.”
A 10th-place finish capped off an eventful day for Busch who started eighth and was a key part of a strong contingent of Chevrolet drivers that spent time at the front of the field. On Lap 60, while running second, Busch and leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact coming down the frontstretch toward the start/finish line when the latter appeared to be trying to pull in front of Busch.
Fortunately, Busch’s CGR Camaro didn’t suffer any damage in the resulting accident, but he later hit the wall and then spun in Turn 3, crunching both the right side and left front.
“I think we did pretty good to finish 10th considering everything that went on,” said Busch.