Chris Buescher won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night, eliminating fan favorite Chase Elliott from playoff contention and sending Bubba Wallace into the postseason.
Buescher and teammate Brad Keselowski finished 1-2 for RFK Racing. It was Buescher’s third victory in the past five races, making him a title contender no one could have expected two months ago.
“We certainly got momentum on our side right now,” Buescher said.
Because Buescher had previously won this season, Wallace took the 16th and final playoff spot on points.
“That was the most stress, but also the most locked in I’ve ever been,” Wallace said. “Proud to be locked into the playoffs. We’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations. So proud of the effort we put in.”
Drivers had to regroup in the waning laps after Ryan Preece flipped about a dozen times and came to a halt in his mangled No. 41 Ford. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was able to get out with help before emergency personnel put him on a gurney and into an ambulance for a quick trip to the infield care center. He was later transported to a hospital for further evaluation.
Preece made contact with SHR teammate Chase Briscoe, and his car started flipping when he slid across the infield grass.