Jones Survives the Carnage to Win Busch Clash

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Erik Jones drove a battered car to victory lane in Sunday afternoon’s season-opening Busch Clash from Daytona International Speedway.

Jones won the exhibition race with a car that had been involved in multiple accidents.  Jones was one of just six cars still running at the end of the race, and he and his teammate Denny Hamlin linked up to go to the front.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Jones said his damaged car helped him stay connected with Hamlin on the final lap.

“Honestly, my car was so draggy it wasn’t too much for him to stay connected and he was able to push us home,” Jones said.  “Huge thanks to Denny…he stuck with us there that whole last lap.”

The race had numerous wrecks that took out the majority of the 18-car field, including favorites Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and defending Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch.

Hamlin said the reason for the carnage was lead cars throwing late blocks on the competition.

“I think everyone’s got to realize that these late blocks just don’t work,” Hamlin said.  “The way they used to drive superspeedway races where you really had time to see the runs coming…it just doesn’t work.”

“It causes the carnage…if you don’t want to finish, you continue to do the same thing over and over.”

The Busch Clash was the first event in NASCAR’s week-long buildup to the Daytona 500 on February 16th.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman qualified on the front row for Sunday’s race, and the rest of the field will be set on Thursday during the Bluegreen Vacations Duels.

Unofficial results:

  1. Erik Jones
  2. Austin Dillon
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Aric Almirola
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Kurt Busch
  13. Kevin Harvick
  14. William Byron
  15. Alex Bowman
  16. Martin Truex Jr.
  17. Brad Keselowski
  18. Kyle Busch