Tony Stewart sent Kyle Busch into a spectacular last-lap crash that triggered a pile-up, and went on to claim a tarnished victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart led lap after lap, using a flawless pit-lane performance to inch closer to his second win as owner of his race team, before Busch overtook him before the final lap to take the lead.
Stewart chased him down and a slight tap on the bumper sent Busch drifting up the track before sliding back down to maintain the lead.
Busch then tried to slide in front of Stewart to block, and Stewart hooked Busch’s right corner to send Busch sailing into the wall.
It triggered a multiple crash behind them, but Stewart sailed through for his second points win of the season.
“I went where I had to go, and he went where he had to go,” Stewart said. “You hate seeing a guy that’s been up front all day, especially a guy that’s helped me the whole race, wreck like that.”
“You’re kind of forced in that position. But I made my move to the outside and he went to block us and we were already there,” he said.
“It still doesn’t mean you like it. That’s not the way to win these things. If I did something wrong, I’m sorry,” Stewart said.
It was another wild finish for NASCAR, which is still smarting from April’s frightening crash at Talladega Superspeedway, where Carl Edwards went airborne into the fence on the final lap in a similar incident.
“That’s not the way I wanted to do it,” said Stewart, who won the summer Daytona race for the third time in five years.