DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 19: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Busch Light Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2024 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Drivers Express Frustration About Daytona 500

Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Chris Buescher and Noah Gragson have joined a growing list of drivers voicing frustration about the level of fuel conservation during the Daytona 500.

"I got on the radio to Chris and I'm like 'This sucks,'" Denny Hamlin said on the latest episode of his "Actions Detrimental" podcast. "Like, I want to race. I want to race; I want to battle. I want to shoot through the middle. I want to go to the bottom and top — but I couldn't because the field's jammed up. Everyone's trying to save gas because that's the type of racing that we have now."

During the Daytona 500, drivers were forced into running in fuel conservation mode throughout most of the race and were simply riding around until the end of each stage.

"It's frustrating, I don't know how to fix it," Erik Jones said after finishing in the eighth position. "It really hurt the racing for sure at these tracks. It's a 480-mile fuel-saving race and a 20-mile sprint of chaos to the finish. I wish we could race more during the day."

Chris Buescher, who finished 18th after being involved in a crash, said "Everyone was saving fuel. Get in the pack, and you run five seconds slower than we should have been running in the first stage. It was a massive pack. Five seconds. It's brutal. You end up eighth in a row on the inside. Both lanes are saving. You can't even get out of the lane if you want to. You're just trapped. No matter if you wanted to go or not, you can't."

Noah Gragson, who finished ninth, said he's excited to get to the Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend where he feels there will be a lot more racing, and less riding around.

"It is [frustrating], but it takes a lot of the risk factor out at the beginning," Gragson said. "You end up where you end up, and just ride right by. I think that's why you see a lot more cars start a run in the middle of the final stage because everyone is running half-throttle. I'm not complaining. Just stating facts."

Fans have also taken to social media to agree with the drivers saying, "I don't think anyone was a fan of that," and "No cautions at end of stages fixes that...NASCAR scared they might miss a few slots of commercials."

This is not the only controversy to come out of the Daytona 500 with fans confused by how the finish was called. NASCAR has since explained its reasoning in declaring William Byron the winner.

More: Hendrick Motorsports Nabs First Daytona 500 Win in a Decade