Erik Jones wins wreck-filled Busch Clash in third overtime attempt
Erik Jones survived four wrecks in the final 22 laps and three overtime restarts to win Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
He did it with arguably the most damaged of the six cars that finished the 88-lap race, which began with 18 cars. Jones was listed as being involved in three of the four wrecks.
Jones received a push from teammate Denny Hamlin, who was a lap down, and passed Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon on the final lap to claim the win in the exhibition race.
Jones beat Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Newman and Hamlin. Those were the only cars that were running at the end.
“Not (a race) I would have thought we’d (have) won,” Jones told FS1. “It was an awesome race. I got to give a huge thanks to Denny there in the 11. He stuck with us there that whole last lap. It wasn’t the fastest car I don’t think left in the race. But we brought it home. I owe him one for that, for sure.”
Jones said he was surprised by how damaged his race-winning car was.
“I knew it was pretty tore up, I could see the hood, but I didn’t know the nose was so busted in until I saw it,” Jones said. “We recreated the Terry Labonte picture (from his win in the 1995 Bristol night race) with our crew, so I’m excited to see how that turned out. ... I’ve won with some beat up cars racing at short tracks, but they never looked quite like that. It’s one I’ll always remember.”
With so much mayhem over the last portion of the race, Jones said he was “just laughing a lot of the time at the end.
“Because No. 1, I couldn’t even believe we were still going. And No. 2, that we were up front and having a shot. ... I was having a great time. I would love to have that car and point it out and tell the story of it.”
The fourth wreck, which led to the final restart, occurred in Turn 4 as a result of contact between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.
The third wreck occurred on the first overtime attempt, when Denny Hamlin got loose while trying to fend off Elliott’s attempt to take the lead and spun. The ensuing carnage included 11 cars, almost every one left in the event.
The wreck that created the need for overtime occurred on a restart with three laps to go in the scheduled 75-lap distance.
The field hadn’t even crossed the start-finish line when contact between William Byron and Ryan Newman in the outside lane caused Byron to swerve. He was then hit from behind by Kevin Harvick, which sparked a chain reaction that collected 10 cars.
“Obviously I gunned it like you normally would on a speedway,” Byron told FS1. “You don’t normally spin the tires that bad. If anything, you spin them a little bit. Obviously pretty dumb to spin the tires like that. I don’t know if there was something on the track or what. It was not the best moment.”
That restart was set up by a wreck at the front of the pack with nine laps to go in the scheduled distance. Joey Logano was leading and trying to hold off a charge from Kyle Busch when they made contact as they exited Turn 4. That caused Busch to lose control and slam into Logano. Brad Keselowski and three others were involved.
Keselowski, who led a race-high 33 laps, slammed the side of an ambulance in frustration after leaving his car.
NOTABLE: At 88 laps, this was the longest Busch Clash yet ... Jones earned Joe Gibbs Racing its ninth win in the Clash. All have come since 2001 ... All five of Toyota’s wins in the Clash have come in the last eight years.
NEXT: The Daytona 500 qualifying duels at 7 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1