Rousch Fenway driver Travis Pastrana managed to slide across the grass and secure a top-10 finish in his Daytona NASCAR debut after he was caught up in a major multi-car accident on the last lap of Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The accident sent spectators to local hospitals.
Pastrana was impressive in his first run at the Florida track, at times moving easily through the field. Perhaps because of the rookie stripe on his bumper, Pastrana had difficulty getting drivers to pair up with him in a race that saw two-car tandems move to the front of the field.
A 10-car accident as Tony Stewart took the checkered flag resulted in the engine of rookie Kyle Larson’s car penetrating the catch fence and debris injuring several spectators. Stewart fulfilled his obligations and posed for photos at a subdued victory celebration.
Sam Hornish Jr. crossed the finish line behind Stewart. He was followed by Alex Bowman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Scott, Justin Allgaier, Eric McClure, Robert Richardson Jr. and Pastrana.
“I think to see and explain what we know right now is there obviously was some intrusion into the fence, and fortunately with the way the event's equipped up, there was plenty of emergency workers ready to go,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said when addressing the media. "They all jumped in on it pretty quickly. Right now it's a function of trying to determine of what all damage is done. They're moving folks as we've seen to care centers and taking some folks over to Halifax Medical Center. We'll be able to update you later on, but all we know is everybody is working hard on what all happened.”
Pastrana’s teammate Trevor Bayne, a contender for the NASCAR Nationwide title, started on the pole but mechanical issues sent him behind the wall. He returned to finish the race in the 31st position.
The Nationwide Series drivers return to action next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.