The NASCAR season opened up as it does every year with the Busch Clash, but instead of us getting the short superspeedway dash we instead got a road course race that did in fact end with a clash. Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott’s contact at the end of the race was a disappointing end for me personally. I would’ve much rather seen a drag race to the line with two of NASCAR’s biggest stars.
Chase Elliott’s body slam took both drivers out of contention and Kyle Busch went on to win the race after overtaking the mayhem. Both Elliott and Blaney seemed to be fine after the race, afterall, it was only an exhibition.
For Blaney, the 2021 season starts with more bad luck. After having a handful of wins yanked away from him last season through a string of incidents that were out of his hands. It’s got to be scary for Blaney fans to see their man have another win opportunity missed. This time it was another driver who took it from him, one of his good friends no less.
Chase Elliott has been getting more and more aggressive as his racing career has gone on. His confidence has grown so much since entering the sport and his driving style has shown glimpses of extreme growth. While he’s not anywhere close to the realm of a dirty driver, his aggression level has been upped. I rarely critique drivers for being aggressive unless it was just reckless, and I don’t believe that Chase Elliott did anything wrong. I think there is a case to be made that there was no reason that either the Penske or Hendrick boys had to take home two wrecked race cars for a meaningless exhibition race though.
Kyle Busch, the man who actually won the race gets his 2021 season off to a great start. He didn’t have the fastest car all race long but the Joe Gibbs Racing cars were up at the front and Busch sat back in the cat bird’s seat and got his perfect opportunity. A lot of Busch haters should probably be prepared for their vacation from the Kyle Busch show to be coming to an end this season. We knew it was only a matter of time.
Other notables; Kevin Harvick had a horrible day as he’s still trying to figure out the best way to get around the Daytona road course after dealing with trouble twice last night.
The debut of 23XI Racing went off with a whimper. Ty Dillon either didn’t have the speed or didn’t have the skill to wheel a car that should be running with JGR equipment into the top portion of the field. All the other cars with JGR equipment were running great, but the 23-car stayed in the back most of the night.
It could be the team as a whole getting their act together and figuring out the new team. However, as of writing this, Bubba Wallace just put that #23 in the number one spot at practice, so make of that what you will. It’s probably why Ty Dillon is yet to have a full-time ride for this season.
Qualifying is scheduled to take place tonight at 7:30, but we all know Daytona 500 qualifying is just for fun. The duel races will take place at 7 tomorrow.