During the closing laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, all hell broke loose.
The final ten laps were a roller coaster of emotions as polesitter Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick tangoed. The show they put on made everyone sit on the edge of their seats; Harvick would cast a line, reel Busch in, yet faltered when the No 41 broke away. Laps whittled away until two lone cycles remained.
That’s when the caution came out for debris.
Up to this point, the race had its good and bad moments, staying particularly exciting at points. However, it was about to get insane.
Everyone came down pit road to change tires and fuel up. Matt Kenseth, who was consistent all afternoon, broke an axel leaving his pit stall. An uncontrolled tire earned Denny Hamlin a penalty. It boiled down to cars staying out and others taking tow tires.
The first attempt at a green-white-checkered began with the No. 41 shooting to the front, the No. 4 following suit.
Another caution flew before the white flag had a chance. Kyle Larson’s bumper cover flew off. Pit stops happened again, and the order didn’t change much.
Kurt Busch brought the field to the green once again, determined to redeem himself. After being suspended for the first three races of the season, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver swore he would earn his keep.
It was not his day.
Brad Keselowski crept into the frame, soundlessly gaining of his former Team Penske teammate. The white flag came out. Their cars raced side-by-side as chaos erupted in the back of the pack.
Greg Biffle spun and hit the wall on the frontstretch. No caution followed.
Keselowski went to the lead and never looked back, winning his first race of 2015. He led one lap during the event.
While trying to catch up, Busch hit the wall. The misstep allowed Harvick to advance to second, marring his teammate back in third.
Seeing the race fall apart right in front of Kurt Busch is both heartbreaking and confusing. He had the best car all weekend, yet it still didn’t go his way. Judging by the expletive-filled responses from fans, many aren’t happy with how things turned out.
NASCAR might have some explaining to do with how the cautions fell—or how they didn’t fall at all. Many view the last lap crash similar to the one during this season’s Daytona 500. What was the difference?
No matter how one feels about the ending or NASCAR’s officiating, there’s something we can all agree on.
Auto Club is unpredictable, and the ending was quite fitting.