Stewart, who was one of the favorites after showing strength all Speedweeks, started the day 13th and was quickly fighting for the top ten. On lap 32 however, Stewart’s hopes for a win came to an end when he was swept up in a multi-car crash ignited when Kyle Busch pushed the Chevy of Kasey Kahne into the outside wall. Kahne careened down the track sweeping up Stewart and others.
“The guys in front of me were all checking up,” Kahne said “I was trying not to run over Jeff (Gordon) and I could feel a lot of momentum right there, so I was trying hard not to run over Jeff. Kyle (Busch) was probably feeling the same momentum from behind and hit me, which shot me to the infield. There were a lot of cars close together.”
The crash also took out Kevin Harvick. Harvick won last Saturday nights Sprint Unlimited and followed that up with a win in one of the Duel qualifying races Thursday. He was one of the favorites in Sunday’s 500, only to see it end early.
“I let off a little bit to miss the wreck,” Harvick said. “It looked like the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) hooked the No. 5 (Kasey Kahne) and that kind of just started a chain reaction. I don’t know who was behind me, but just one of those deals.”
Stewart was visibly upset and couldn’t even take solace in the season ahead.
“The hell with the season, I wanted to win the Daytona 50,” Stewart said. “We had a car that we could pass with today. We were passing cars by our self so. Happy with our car, was just waiting for it to all get sorted out again. I don’t know what started it, but we just got caught up in another wreck.”
Stewart was scored 41, Harvick 42 in the 43 car field.