Featured Stories Jones wins wreck-filled Busch Clash, only six cars finish

Jones wins wreck-filled Busch Clash, only six cars finish

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In a testing exhibition race, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones captured the checkered flag in the 42nd annual non-points paying race at Daytona International Speedway. This is his first time winning the Busch Clash and his second time winning at Daytona. This marks Joe Gibbs Racing’s ninth victory in the race, which allows them to lead in all-time victories by teams over Richard Childress Racing.

Ryan Newman led the 18-car field to the green flag a little after 3 p.m. on a sunny Florida day. The first half of the 187-mile trek proved to be uneventful as several Fords led the pack while a majority of the Chevrolets in the pack fell to the back. But as the cross flags were put up, strategy talks began to unfold, which provided some on-track action and mix-up.

On Lap 46, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones, along with Ryan Blaney, took a splash and go, except for Jones, who took four tires after a brief mishap missing his pit box. Other Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske drivers shortly followed suit at Lap 47, leaving the Chevrolet camp and Joey Logano.

With less than 20 to go, the Chevrolet drivers including Logano were faced with the decision of pit or be hunted down by a second pack who had been triumphed by the Chevrolet competitors who had yet to pit. Keselowski brought the pack to the bottom line, which mixed in with the first pack at Lap 63.

Kyle Busch, Logano and Keselowski were involved in a wreck after Logano tried to come low on Busch. Both Busch and Keselowski were scored out of the race. Keselowski showed obvious frustration as he slammed the door to his ambulance in which he rode to the infield for further mandatory evaluation. Logano was able to return to the track with repairs. Jimmie Johnson also received minor damage from the incident.

Following the conclusion of the caution, Denny Hamlin led the field back to the green flag with four laps to go, though more than six cars piled up as they crossed the start/finish line beginning with pole winner Ryan Newman clashing into Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney and William Byron. Truex and Byron retired from the race before the restart.

Hamlin and Almirola led the field back to the green and Hamlin cut a tire in the entrance of turn three, collecting many cars, bringing out the red flag. Another caution flew as cars wrecked attempting to make a white flag run, taking out Chase Elliott.

Jones was damaged in two incidents. Out of 18 drivers, six finished.

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John Willoughby
John Willoughby is a lifelong resident of Florida and a two-time award winning journalist within the Florida Press Association.

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