By: Ashley McCubbin
The Busch Clash has always been an exciting affair with drivers willing to do whatever it took to win – and some people wondered if the flair would be lost in heading to the road course. Oh boy were they proven wrong.
From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, there was eye-catching action all the way around the Daytona International Speedway as drivers battled for positions. Whether throwing it hard into the first corner a little wide, or sliding through the bus stop, it seemed the field was taking chances as they tried to make something happen. The result was keeping the fans on the edge of their seats, continuing to guess as to whom would be the winner.
It was also a good chance of pace. Normally we leave Daytona with smiles after a dramatic conclusion, but heartbreak in seeing a bunch of torn-up metal due to the nature of the beast in “restrictor plate” competition. However, we got the same type of drama, without having to use the tow truck a lot. It’s got to make the owners happy as cheaper on budget, and both drives and fans smile to see things cleaner as no fan likes a junkyard.
If you looked at the screen with three laps to go, you would have assumed Kyle Busch would not be in victory lane. However, he ultimately ended up there virtue of contact ahead of him between the leaders.
A lot of questions were asked about the past NASCAR Cup Series Champion when he failed to grace victory lane last year until late in the season at Texas Motor Speedway. The result was a change in crew chief, with Ben Beshore taking over the reigns from Adam Stevens. Now only one race into the year, and they have a checkered flag in hand. Could this year be a change in the tide? Busch showed speed all last year, including on the road courses so this is no overnight surprise. The issue was finding bad luck at times that resulted in not able to close the deal. Perhaps 2021 will have a different tune.
The contact ahead of him, by the way, was courtesy of a pair of best friends – Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott. Elliott dove into the corner perhaps harder than he should have, getting into the No. 12 Ford and spinning him around. While everybody wondered whether a rivalry would be started, that was not quite the case as the pair talked it out on pit road shortly thereafter.
Their agreement was simple as Chase Elliott said, “If I’m sorry about trying to win a race, I’m in the wrong business here. I’m certainly going to give it my best shot to do that.” The definition and why people love stock car racing is seeing each competitor hang it all out there on the line, doing whatever they can to take the checkered flag.
If Elliott had not pushed the issue, then people would question his desire as a driver. If the move worked, then let the applause begin for the perfect timed bump and run. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out quite right – and that’s okay, because that’s just how racing goes; at least they are putting on a show along the way.
The show, though, was seeing everybody slip through the bus stop with the dirt getting onto the track as everybody clipped the corners a little tightly. It cost Martin Truex Jr. big time, as he slipped in it, before going around into the outside wall. Unfortunately, that becomes a product of the racing here and something to watch two weeks down the road as NASCAR cannot do much considering how the curbing is.