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NASCAR CUP SERIES Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway • Clash turns into a demolition derby; battered Jones the winner

NASCAR CUP SERIES Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway

• Clash turns into a demolition derby; battered Jones the winner

Daytona Beach, FL, Feb 9/20 (GRW): Many think that race fans just go to the races to see wrecks. If that has any truth to it, then those wreck-hungry fans should have been happy here at Daytona for the Busch Clash.

The big superspeedways like Daytona are known for their tendency to produce crash-filled races but this year’s Busch Clash had to be one for the record books. Only 18 cars started the race but by the end of the scheduled 75 laps most of those 18 cars had been torn up.

With just two laps left to run, as the field came down for the restart Ryan Newman - and William Byron behind him - spun to the left as the green flew, they collected essentially the whole field but for the three cars ahead of them – Hamlin, Jones and Blaney. This took the race into overtime. Under Clash rules the teams were allowed to work on their cars in the pit lane with no restrictions – so this meant that a few more of the wrecked cars were able to come back out for another attempt at finishing.

The green flew but Hamlin spun on the backstretch collecting another six of the front-running cars. The officials put out the yellow and then the red flag while the damaged cars were collected.

Another try at finishing the race. Austin Dillon is in front but Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott – right behind -- tangle and the rest of the cars behind can do nothing to avoid becoming caught up in this mess. Now we saw the spectacle of a mere four cars running behind the pace car. Larson caught up to them to make it five lead-lap cars plus Hamlin in sixth, two laps down.

On lap 87 the green flew for the last time. Newman, who had taken the green in first place fell back behind the others. Hamlin had made up one of his laps and he caught up to his Gibbs teammate Jones and he started to nudge him forward. It was not too difficult for this tandem pair to outpace the other walking-wounded on the lead lap and, as they came around to the checker, Hamlin pushed Jones out in front and then backed off to watch him coast across the line to take the win.

Behind Jones, the finishing order was Austin Dillon, Clint Boyer, Larson and Newman, the only other cars to finish on the lead lap. Hamlin was scored sixth the last car of the six cars still running at the finish.

“I knew he was going to be in for a ride,” Hamlin said. “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.”

“It was an awesome race,” Jones said. “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.”

While this is a special race and the teams dis not use the car they plan to use in next week’s Daytona 500 here, if they were planning to rely on their Busch car as a backup for next week, they can scratch that plan.

There are three more races for the Cup cars in the next seven days – the pair of ‘Duels’ next Thursday and the Daytona 500 on Sunday. If they keep wrecking cars like this next week, these will be interesting races. For those of us who are not fans of this ‘demolition derby’ style of racing, we will have to wait until the cars move on from here before we can hope to see some serious racing competition.

Click HERE for the results of the NASCAR Cup Busch Clash

Next week there are three Cup races scheduled – The twin Duels on Thursday evening and the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon.




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