Kyle Busch Wins Busch Clash At Daytona Road Course As Elliott And Blaney Collideby Hunter Thomas February 10, 2021 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch won the first Busch Clash run on the Daytona Road Course after Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney collided in the final corner of Tuesday night’s race.
Blaney led the entire final lap of the non-points event, until Elliott dove to his inside in the final corner and collided with him. Blaney hit the outside wall on the frontstretch, and Elliott could not get up to speed quickly enough to hold off Busch who fly by him to take the checkered flag.
“I knew to keep my head down and keep focus ahead and see if I could keep hitting my marks to get close enough to have a shot like that – if something like that were to materialize,” said Busch, driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry. “Fortunately it did for us.”
On the final lap, Busch saw the battle up front, and he certainly had hit doubts about a clean finish, and at the end of the night, he was in the right place at the right time.
“I didn’t know how it was going to play out or what was going to happen there, but I saw those guys go in there two-wide and I was like, I don’t know if they’re going to come out two-wide,” Busch said. “Certainly, it was a tough battle between those two. They were really good. The 9 (Chase Elliott) was fast, I don’t know if he was the class of the field, but the 12 (Ryan Blaney) was definitely just fast and made aggressive moves and was doing a good job all night getting himself back up to the front each time. Those two coulda, shoulda, woulda been the two to race it out for the win and maybe the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.). Just interesting how that plays out sometimes and what dynamic will push you into victory lane.”
Elliott limped a few yards from the accident to finish second in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Llumar Camaro. The Georgia native did not mean to wreck his friend, but he saw an opportunity to win, so Elliott took the risk, and it did not pay off.
“Yeah, and neither one of us won,” Elliott said. “That’s the big one. I was close enough to drive it in there and I feel like I’d be mad at myself for not at least trying. Obviously, I don’t mean to wreck anybody, especially him. Some guys I wouldn’t mind. But he’s not one of them. Hopefully he’s not too mad at me. I feel like you’ve got to go for it here in an event like this in any situation. I can’t be sorry about going for the win, but I certainly didn’t mean to wreck him. I drove in there and, just that corner gets so tight and I didn’t want to just completely jump the curb to the right. But I feel like I tried to get over there as far as I could.”
As for Blaney who went from first to 13th in a corner, he understood the bold move that Elliott made. In fact, Blaney was very critical about his final lap effort that allowed Elliott to catch him in the final corners.
“Just two guys going hard,” Blaney said. “We didn’t really get away from him like I needed to on the last lap there after we passed him. I didn’t get away from him. I kind of slipped up one or two corners and he was able to get into me there and kind of keep me close. I hit the mud hard on the backstretch and kind of let him get even closer and then I was trying to protect against the dive bomb there and I braked deeper in that corner than I had braked all night and he set it off in there and we came together and neither one of us won the race. It definitely sucks for sure, but I appreciate the fast car and it’s a shame it didn’t happen.”
Finishing behind Busch and Elliott were Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Marr DiBenedetto.
There were eight leaders and 12 lead changes. Hamlin led a race high of 21 laps as he was out in front of the field on four occasions.
There were four cautions for eight laps in the 35-lap race.
On lap 23, Cole Custer stopped on the track as flames came from his Stewart-Hass Racing No. 41 Ford.
The final caution of the night flew on lap 29, when Martin Truex Jr., who was battling up front, spun exiting the bus stop on the backstretch and nailed the outside wall on the backstretch.
“I just overshot the bus stop a little bit and hit that mud that was there.” Truex Jr. said. “It was worse than the laps before, so just caught me off guard. I actually slowed down from the lap before going through there and once it got in the bus stop turned back to the right, it was gone. It’s been a tough night with that mud there, but I made a big mistake early on and it cost us the lead and we had to come from the back.”
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series is practice on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. on FS1, followed by qualifying for the Dayton 500 that will also broadcast live on FS1 at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images