NASCAR drivers crash after the checkered flag in stage two at Michigan International Speedway
On Sunday, NASCAR returned to the 2-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway. The high downforce package created a product of aero racing and heavy side drafts.
Austin Dillon found himself solidly in the top 10 and battling for the lead at certain points of the event. Dillon was looking for his first top-10 in 11 races as he sits outside the playoff cutline.
Watch the Austin Dillon crash video below.
Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon raced side by side off turn four on the final lap of stage two. They fought for space and nearly touched off the corner.
Dillon was pulling a sidedraft on the left rear of Keselowski. As Dillon stalled him out, he then cut to the bottom of the track and went onto the apron as they raced to the line. Dillon was done there as far as possible to keep Keselowski from returning the sidedraft.
Keselowski hung onto his right rear all the way to the finish line. However, Dillon made the pass and finished 6th in the stage, ahead of Keselowski.
After they passed the start finish line, Keselowski remained on the white line as Dillon ran the apron. However, at high speeds, the apron runs out.
The checkered was out. Dillon left the apron, he straightened the steering slightly to come back onto race track. Keselowski remained a few inches below the white line.
The two drivers made contact. Dillon was hooked in the right rear and sent nose first into the outside wall. His day was done, the car was destroyed but Dillon climbed from the car.
Keselowski came on the radio to his crew directly after the crash, “Oh man, I didn’t want to do that! Aw, why’d he come up? I didn’t want to wreck him, just following him down. Man, I’m sorry about that.”
Austin Dillon on Keselowski crash
“I was just trying to get as many stage points as I could get right there,” Austin Dillon told NBC Sports after exiting the infield care center.
“Did a good job side drafting, came down to the apron. I mean, it was after the start finish line. I was starting to come up off the apron because it’s so rough down there.”
“Figured by that point, he would have given me a little room. Yeah, I hate it. Thankful that the good lord kept me safe today. That was a heck of a wreck but I feel fine.”
“I hate it for my guys, most of all. They built a rocketship. Was working our tails off, I think we would have had a shot to do something there at the end with that race car. Best race car we’ve brought to the track this year at RCR.”
“I don’t know why it happened really. I thought I had a little room to come up and he just held me down there a little bit too long.”
Dillon concluded, “It was so fast. I was having a blast out there racing like that. But, that’s one’s probably done. We’ll just bring another one next week to Daytona.”
Dillon is now -25 points to the playoff cutline. He heads into the final regular season race at Daytona, near a must win situation.
Brad Keselowski remains apologetic
Keselowski commented on the crash video after the race via social media, “Watching this makes me sick to my stomach for Austin and his team.”
“He was crazy fast today and deserved better. Definitely not what either of us wanted to see… With a lap to go we both wanted the stage point and I should have given him more room to avoid this. Glad he is ok.”
Keselowski added, “I can’t begin to describe how bad I wanted today to go differently. In the end, I’m so incredibly thankful to get this time in Michigan with my family. We will be back.”
Keselowski is already locked into the NASCAR Playoffs.