Keselowski Sends A Message In Daytona Practice

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Brad Keselowski (2), shown here Thursday during practice at Daytona Int'l Speedway, was involved in a practice incident with William Byron. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Brad Keselowski (2), shown here Thursday during practice at Daytona Int'l Speedway, was involved in a practice incident with William Byron. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Brad Keselowski sent a message to the entire Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage on Thursday at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

The message was simple, he’s not going to lift.

Keselowski delivered the message during the final practice ahead of Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona Int’l Speedway and the unfortunate recipient was William Byron.

Entering turn three, William Byron was in front of Keselowski in the draft and was running half a lane up from the bottom. Keselowski got a run on Byron and rather than back off, he ran into the back of Byron’s Chevrolet and turned him sideways.

Byron, somehow, managed to save his car from crashing and he returned it to the garage. However, his Hendrick Motorsports team decided that enough damage had been done to switch to the backup car for Saturday’s race.

Keselowski said after the incident that he was simply sending a message to Byron and anyone else who might try blocking in the draft.

“I had a big run and it put me in a position where I had to lift. I keep telling these guys I’m not lifting,” Keselowski said. “I hate it for his team and that they’ve got to work on their car and so do ours, but I’m just trying to send a message. I’m not lifting.”

The message that Keselowski sent was nearly the same message he delivered after he crashed out of the 2018 edition of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.

“We’re not wrecking enough people. We need to wreck more people so they’ll stop throwing bad blocks,” Keselowski said in 2018. “That’s what is happening to me on the plate tracks. Everybody that is watching all them drivers out there throw another bad block, I’m just going to drive through you and wreck you.”

Byron said he felt like there was no reason for Keselowski to use his bumper the way he did.

“It’s practice, I get it, but I don’t think it was necessary to turn us there,” Byron said. “It wasn’t like I changed four lanes down the backstretch and blocked him. I was just kind of holding my lane and he just used his run to drive into my left rear.”

Looking at the speed charts Thursday, Kyle Busch led the opening round of Coke Zero Sugar 400 practice with a 200.754 mph lap. The second practice was paced by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., who circled the 2.5-mile superspeedway with a fast lap of 205.935 mph in the draft.

Qualifying for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 is scheduled for Friday at 5:05 p.m.