Daytona decides NASCAR playoffs field; Ryan Preece is OK
At 11:52 p.m. ET on Saturday, NASCAR driver Ryan Preece tweeted—or whatever it’s called now—from his hospital bed: “If you want to be a race car driver, you better be tough. Dammit. Fast Mustang. I’m coming back.”
That was the first indication those of us in the Daytona International Speedway press box had that Preece was genuinely OK, following the most violent crash NASCAR has seen in years. Preece barrel-rolled his car 10 times down the Daytona backstretch before the car came to rest on its wheels. The footage made almost every newscast on Sunday, and serves as a testament to the safety of Preece’s fast Ford Mustang.
The occasion was the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the final race of the NASCAR regular season and the last chance for more than a dozen drivers, including past champion Chase Elliott, to make their way into the final 16, which begin the playoffs this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Playoffs continue through the rest of the season to end at Phoenix International Raceway in November.
Bubba Wallace earned the final playoff spot via points, since Daytona winner Chris Buescher had already won twice this year.
As for Preece, he was discharged from the hospital 12 hours after the crash.
Here’s the NASCAR field of drivers who will be competing for the championship; points are important, as they—and a win—will help a driver advance to the next stage after eliminations begin.
1. William Byron: 2036 points
2. Martin Truex Jr.: 2036 points
3. Denny Hamlin: 2025 points
4. Chris Buescher: 2021 points
5. Kyle Busch: 2019 points
6. Kyle Larson: 2017 points
7. Christopher Bell: 2014 points
8. Ross Chastain: 2011 points
9. Brad Keselowski: 2010 points
10. Tyler Reddick: 2009 points
11. Joey Logano: 2008 points
12. Ryan Blaney: 2008 points
13. Michael McDowell: 2005 points
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 2005 points
15. Kevin Harvick: 2004 points
16. Bubba Wallace: 2000 points