Chase Elliott: “I don’t mean to wreck anybody, especially him. Some guys I wouldn’t mind. But he’s not one of them.”
On Tuesday, Daytona International Speedway hosted the opening race of the 2021 NASCAR season. The Busch Clash at Daytona is an exhibition event for the NASCAR Cup Series.
Watch the 2021 Clash at Daytona video highlights below.
Chase Elliott started the race from the tail of the field. The Hendrick Motorsports team was forced to make unapproved adjustments after inspection.
It didn’t take long for Elliott to find the front of the field. However, he didn’t find the race lead until the very end of the race.
Truex Jr was the fastest car to this point. However, toward the end of the race, he spun and smashed the wall, ending his night. That opened the door for another team to find victory lane and a great battle ensued…
With just a handful of laps to go, the leaders hit the pit lane. Elliott stayed on track after pitting just a few laps prior and inherited the lead.
3 to go
With 3 laps to go, Blaney had caught the bumper of Elliott and he was on fresher tires.
2 laps to go, Blaney worked outside of Elliott in turn four. Elliott got loose on his inside and ran wide off the corner. Blaney was nearly shoved into the grass as the rubbed doors off the corner. However, Blaney was on the inside for the next corner and completed the pass.
On the final lap, Elliott drove it deep into turn one. He closed a multi-car length gap and was now back in the race. Blaney opened the gap through the infield section only to see Elliott close the gap once again into the backstretch bus stop.
Heading into the final corner, Blaney was deep on the brakes and Elliott still drove it deeper. He worked to the inside of Blaney but Elliott clipped the curb as Blaney gave him very little room.
Elliott drove into the door of Blaney. Both the race leaders went for a spin. Kyle Busch snuck into the picture to claim the win in The Clash at Daytona.
After the race, Elliott walked up to Blaney’s car on pit lane to talk about the incident. Off the track, these two are good friends.
Chase Elliott comments
Chase Elliott was able to untangle his car following the contact and save a 2nd place finish. But, in this event, winning is all that matters.
“I was close enough to drive it in there and I feel like I’d be mad at myself for not at least trying,” Elliott told FOX Sports.
“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.
Elliott continued, “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.”
Elliott concluded, “But I feel like I tried to get over there as far as I could. And at that point we were coming together at the same time. I hate it. We had a fast Llumar Chevrolet in a position to have a shot at it. We’ll try again on Sunday.”
Ryan Blaney comments
Blaney looked to be heading for the win as he took the white flag. Instead, he crossed the line in 13th.
“A race is a race. I don’t care if it’s an exhibition race or a normal points race. I don’t care about that,” Blaney stated after the Daytona finish.
“It’s racing, but I was upset about it, for sure. Chase and I know each other well. I know he didn’t do it on purpose, but sending it off in there hard like anybody would do it’s just a shame we both got taken out or neither one of us won the race.”
Blaney concluded, “If you’re gonna make a move like that make sure you either win the race, don’t let the third-place guy do it.”
Kyle Busch comments
Kyle Busch grabbed 1 win in 2020. Now, he opens 2021 with a win in the first event.
“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,” stated race winner Kyle Busch.
“Certainly, it was a tough battle between those two. They were really good. The 9 was fast, I don’t know if he was the class of the field, but the 12 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. Just interesting how that plays out sometimes and what dynamic will push you into victory lane. Here we are with our M&M’s Toyota.”
Busch added, “Thanks to TRD, Interstate Batteries and Rowdy Energy Drink and everybody that gets us here. Appreciate Ben Beshore (crew chief) and all my new 18 guys for this year.”