Chris Buescher wins at Daytona after Ryan Preece’s car flips at least 10 times in terrifying crash

Ryan Preece was able to get out of his car after an incredibly scary wreck during the final laps of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on Saturday night.

Preece’s car turned over in various directions 12 times after it got airborne while sliding down toward the infield grass. After exiting his car, Preece laid down on a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to the infield care center. NBC reported after the race that Preece had been transported to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.

The crash happened with six laps to go in the 160-lap race. Drivers had taken it easy for much of the final stage of the race before their final pit stops. Once teams pitted for their final fuel stops of the evening, drivers got aggressive as they raced for the win.

The race restarted with two laps to go after the caution for Preece’s crash. Chris Buescher got pushed to the lead by Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing teammate Brad Keselowski and wasn’t challenged over the final lap to win his third race of the season.

Buescher’s win meant Bubba Wallace grabbed the 16th and final spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Wallace entered the race in the final playoff position but would have been knocked out of the playoffs had a winless driver outside the top 15 in the points standings won the race.

With Wallace in the playoffs, Chase Elliott misses the playoffs for the first time in his Cup Series career. Elliott missed seven of 26 regular season races because of a broken leg and a one-race suspension. Elliott finished fourth Saturday night and scored enough points per race to make the playoffs but simply didn’t compete in enough races to qualify for the postseason via points.

Elliott was fortunate to drive his way through a 16-car wreck at the end of the second stage. Ty Gibbs got turned while racing for the lead with Ryan Blaney and his car sent Blaney head-on into the outside wall in a massive hit.

The playoff field is set

Martin Truex Jr. clinched the regular-season title and 15 extra points for the playoffs at Daytona. He starts the playoffs tied for first with William Byron. Byron led all drivers with five wins over the first 26 races of the season.

Buescher will start the playoffs in fourth after his win and is four points behind Denny Hamlin in third. Here’s how the playoff field looks before the first round of the playoffs at Darlington, Kansas and Bristol.

1. William Byron, 2,036 points

2. Martin Truex Jr., 2,036

3. Denny Hamlin, 2,025

4. Chris Buescher, 2,021

5. Kyle Busch, 2,019

6. Kyle Larson, 2,017

7. Christopher Bell, 2,014

8. Ross Chastain, 2,011

9. Brad Keselowski, 2,010

10. Tyler Reddick, 2,009

11. Joey Logano, 2,008

11. Ryan Blaney, 2,008

13. Michael McDowell, 2,007

14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 2,005

15. Kevin Harvick, 2,004

16. Bubba Wallace, 2,000

Race results

1. Chris Buescher

2. Brad Keselowski

3. Aric Almirola

4. Chase Elliott

5. Joey Logano

6. Alex Bowman

7. Kyle Busch

8. William Byron

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Corey LaJoie

11. Ty Dillon

12. Bubba Wallace

13. Michael McDowell

14. Austin Hill

15. Chandler Smith

16. Christopher Bell

17. Ross Chastain

18. Erik Jones

19. JJ Yeley

20. Daniel Suarez

21. Justin Haley

22. Josh Berry

23. BJ McLeod

24. Martin Truex Jr.

25. Tyler Reddick

26. Denny Hamlin

27. Kyle Larson

28. Harrison Burton

29. AJ Allmendinger

30. Chase Briscoe

31. Ryan Preece

32. Todd Gilliland

33. Austin Dillon

34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

35. Ty Gibbs

36. Ryan Blaney

37. Austin Cindric

38. Riley Herbst

39. Brennan Poole