Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron made a tremendous save during the final practice Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, keeping his car (mostly) straight after contact from the No. 2 of Brad Keselowski — contact both drivers ceded was intentional.
Keselowski’s Ford smacked the left rear of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet, sending it spinning onto the apron and putting the car in the garage for repairs.
“Just had a big run,” Keselowski told NBCSN when he brought his car back to the garage. “He put me in a position where I had to lift, and I keep telling these guys I’m not lifting. Just trying to send a message. I’m not lifting.
“I’m tired of getting wrecked at these (superspeedway) tracks,” he added. “They’re all watching. They know.”
The conflict between the two stems from last year’s July race at Daytona. Byron was leading then, switching lanes from top to bottom. He moved low to block Keselowski, an incident that ended with the No. 2 Ford spinning high and smashing the wall.
“I need to wreck more people so they’ll stop throwing bad blocks,” Keselowski said then.
He made good on his word Thursday.
“It’s practice,” Byron said after climbing from his car. “I don’t think that was really necessary to turn us there. … I didn’t really expect that, but that’s all right. 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.”
The No. 24 team will go to a backup car for Sunday afternoon’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (1 p.m. ET; NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
RELATED: Watch Byron’s full interview