Kurt Busch said he was on the “wrong side of a lightning bolt” Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch finished 10th in the rain-shortened Cup race after his team and others decided to make a pit stop from the lead under caution on Lap 127, thinking the race would resume on the ensuing lap.
But with 33 laps to go, NASCAR issued a red flag for a lighting strike in the area after Busch returned to the track in 10th. The red flag remained for more than two hours, and Justin Haley was declared the winner of his first career Cup race.
“Our plan was to stay out as long as we could, and when they said one to go (until the green flag), we have to pit,” Busch told NBCSN. “Then they said a lightning bolt came by, which that was the same one from before.”
Busch called the decision by NASCAR a “judgment call on their part.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was in the lead and in position to win before his pit stop after he avoided an 18-car wreck with 43 laps to go.
He had bounced back from an incident on Lap 75 when his No. 1 Chevrolet got into the wall in Turn 2 and then spun in Turn 3, clipping Brendan Gaughan‘s No. 62 Chevrolet with his left-front fender.
“All-in-all with everything we went through today to finish 10th, we’ll take it,” Busch said. “Let’s go to Kentucky.”