Erik Jones wins crash-filled Busch Clash at Daytona
Erik Jones won Sunday Afternoon's Clash at Daytona International Speedway, but you wouldn't know it by the look of his care. In fact, between the front of his #20 Toyota being smashed in from previous cautions and taped up in several spots, you would have thought he ended his day in the wall.
“It was an awesome race.” Jones said afterwards
“I’ve got to give a huge thanks to Denny. He gave us a huge push that last run. It wasn’t the fastest car in the race, but we brought it home. I think, honestly, it was so draggy it wasn’t too much for him to lock on and push us to the win. Hopefully, next Sunday (in the Daytona 500) we can cap off another one.”
The field for the annual kick off race was 18 drivers, but that number dwindled quickly after a multi-car pile up on lap 67 that collected Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch. Logano, Johnson and Hamlin were able to continue after pitting for repairs, but Keselowski and Kyle Busch were both out of the race.
Things only got worse from there as several cars ended up spinning out coming to the restart line and it looked like the entire field was junked from there. This wreck ultimately ended the day of Martin Truex Jr, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Kevin Harvick, who could not get their cars up to a safe speed.
And then, the impossible happened. Two separate wrecks in a span of five laps left only six drivers to compete for the first checkered flag of the year. The final laps did feature some of the best restrictor plate racing of the year and even had a lot of near saves in the final moments, but Hamlin shot Jones to the lead and won his teammate the race.
“I knew he was going to be in for a ride.” Hamlin told NASCAR.com after the race.
“It was just a matter of whether he could handle it … I knew that last lap he needed to strap in, because I was going to push him. I didn’t care if I pushed him into a wreck — I was going to push him.”
The NASCAR Cup series will hit the track again Thursday evening for the annual Bluegreen Vacation duels, which will help set the field for next Sunday's Daytona 500. The 62nd running of The Great American Race, is scheduled for Feb. 16 with a start time of 2:30 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on Fox.
Published 10 Feb 2020, 08:51 IST