After the two and a half month offseason, the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series hit the track for the Busch Clash. Kyle Busch reigned victorious in Daytona in the 35 lap event.
“I just knew to keep my head down and keep my focus ahead to see if I could hit my marks and get close enough to have a shot at it if something like that were to materialize, fortunately it did for us.” Kyle Busch said about the finish to FOX Sports.
When asked about the new crew chief on the No. 18, Ben Beshore, Busch said, “Been through a couple crew chiefs anyways and it always seems to go well for a little while then it fizzles out. It is what it is in this kind of racing.”
For the first time ever, the Busch Clash was held on the road course instead of the typical oval. 2020 champion, Chase Elliott, had to start in the rear of the 20 car field for unapproved adjustments.
When the green flag waved, it was Ryan Blaney leading the field to green, beside Alex Bowman in second. Tyler Reddick made an aggressive three-wide move going into turn-one, propelling him to third place from his sixth place starting position. By the end of lap one, Denny Hamlin was able to steal the lead from Blaney and stretch his lead to almost two seconds in two laps.
On lap three, Kevin Harvick went through the dirt in the backstretch chicane, spinning his No. 4 Mustang around.
After early damage to the nose of Joey Logano, he made his way down pit road under green on lap 6 with Kurt Busch. On the next lap, the caution flag flew for the first time for debris. This led to a track cleanup for the dirt thrown on the racing surface.
On the restart, Blaney overshot turn-one, allowing Reddick to snag the lead while Harvick spun around behind him. Hamlin, who made his way down pit road on the lap 7 caution, made his way through the pack and back to the lead on lap 13. The competition caution flew on lap 15 and Martin Truex Jr. was able to pass his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate for the lead on the lap prior.
Under this caution, Truex Jr. did not make it through the frontstretch chicane, making him restart at the tail-end of the field.
The third caution came on lap 22 when Cole Custer was stopped in the frontstretch chicane; NASCAR deemed this as a mechanical problem and allowed the team to return to competition if they fixed it.
With eight laps to go, Truex Jr. fought his way back up to the lead, just to spin out in the backstretch chicane on the next lap. This brought out the fourth caution of the race.
Coming to three laps to go, Tyler Reddick got into the back bumper of Chris Buescher, spinning the No. 17 around collecting Alex Bowman; the race remained green.
On the last lap, Chase Elliott drove into Blaney, which spun Blaney around, allowing Kyle Busch to take the inside line to steal the win from Elliott.
The Busch Clash was just the start of all the action in Daytona. Make sure to tune in to FOX on Sunday, February 14th, at 2:30pm EST for your coverage of the Daytona 500.