Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney Process Emotions After Last Lap Crash in 2021 NASCAR Busch Clash

Published 02/11/2021, 11:25 AM EST
MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 27: Chase Elliott, driver of the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, speaks to the media during a press conference after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)


NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney’s friendship has blossomed over the years, with a close bond evident between the pair. So, when the Hendrick Motorsports No.9 sent Blaney the other way in the 2021 Busch Clash, there was hardly any malice from the former.

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Heading into the final stretch on the Daytona Road Course, the Team Penske No.12 looked set for a win in the exhibition racing event. But following Elliott’s strong nudge, he finished in a disappointing 13th place.
After the race, Elliott even walked over to converse with Blaney for a few minutes. Although he did not regret making that move, the 2020 Cup Series champion admitted he had no intention of wrecking anybody, much less one of his good friends.

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Hate to hand it to somebody else like that, said a disheartened Chase Elliott

Elliott stated, “Yeah, I hate it. Like I said on TV there, I certainly don’t want to wreck him out of anybody, and more than anything I hate neither one of us won. I hate to hand it to somebody else like that.”
He tried to take the outside route of Blaney, who suffered a minor lockup of his own. However, the resulting door-slam saw Elliott lose a bit of momentum, and an incoming Kyle Busch overtook him to win the Busch Clash event at the very end.

Just … WOW. Chase Elliott sends Ryan Blaney around and Rowdy is there!

RETWEET TO CONGRATULATE KYLE BUSCH ON HIS WIN IN THE BUSCH CLASH AT DAYTONA.

Wow. pic.twitter.com/s5hylL5mlQ

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 10, 2021

Blaney added his own thoughts and said, “Listen, hey, we’re really good friends off the race track, but we’re both really hard competitors and we race each other really hard. So I know he’s going to make a big move.
“Any competitor would. If you don’t go in there trying to win the race, what are you there for?” concluded Blaney.

Both Elliott and Blaney will start in Duel 2 of the Daytona 500 qualifying

The No.9 saw his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman claim pole and William Byron lock the front row out. As a result, Elliott, after his main qualifying efforts, will have to go through Duel 2 in a bid to get a good starting position.

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 23: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, watches on during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The 2020 Cup Series champion begins the 150-mile race in fifth. Blaney meanwhile starts on Row 5 alongside Kaz Grala, and he will be looking to ensure a good outcome for Team Penske as well.
Regardless, it is not uncommon to see racing incidents leading to disgruntlement and fights. However, that was not the case with Elliott and Blaney, as all looked well between the duo following the race.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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