Daytona NASCAR: Blaney survives to win in wreck-marred finish

A late-race shove sent Ryan Blaney to a second consecutive victory as he claimed top honours in Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup race at Daytona under caution.

Chris Buescher led the way entering the two-lap overtime – one of six drivers in the top 10 running order still trying to make the playoff in the regular season finale.

With one lap to go, Corey LaJoie gave Blaney a shove that allowed him to clear for the lead. A multi-car wreck erupted when Kurt Busch got into Daniel Suarez in Turn 3 to place the race under caution and secure Blaney’s victory.

“How about that? That was a lot of fun. Gosh, we just barely missed that wreck,” Blaney said. “Got to line up on the front row, got a good push by (LaJoie).

“You never know how the end of these things is going to play out. Down the back (stretch), you don’t know what lane is getting a bigger run. I guess someone got tangled up over there. Hopefully everyone is okay.

“It’s so cool. Win at Daytona, everybody here. Thank you guys for coming. Really special. It’s been a fun two weeks.”

It’s the third win of the 2021 season for Blaney, who won last Sunday’s race at Michigan with a late-race push to the lead by Kyle Busch.

Tyler Reddick, with a damaged car, finished fifth and clinched the 16th and final spot in the playoff field.

Kyle Larson, who finished 20th after getting caught up in that last-lap wreck, still won the regular season title over Denny Hamlin by 18 points.

Buescher had claimed second in the race, but in the post-race inspection his #17 car failed the checks in the early hours of Sunday morning at Daytona as his car was found to have an unapproved track bar mounting assembly.

As a result, the #17 was disqualified from the race, handing Buescher a last-place finish (40th) and he would not get to keep any stage points accumulated in the race.

The disqualification moved Bubba Wallace into a second-place finish, Ryan Newman to third, Ryan Preece fourth and Tyler Reddick gained a fifth-place finish in a wrecked car.

The remainder of the top 10 were Justin Haley, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and B.J. McLeod and Josh Bilicki.

In addition to Reddick and Larson, also advancing to the Cup series playoff are: Hamlin, Elliott, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Bowman, Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola.

Race results - 165 laps

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap
1 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 2:54'03.219  
2 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 2:54'03.992 0.773
3 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 2:54'04.143 0.924
4 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 2:54'04.738 1.519
5 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 2:54'05.412 2.193
6 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 2:54'08.261 5.042
7 77 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 2:54'08.262 5.043
8 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 2:54'14.902 11.683
9 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 2:54'15.428 12.209
10 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 2:54'16.360 13.141
11 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 2:54'16.934 13.715
12 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 2:54'20.084 16.865
13 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 2:54'21.068 17.849
14 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 2:54'22.155 18.936
15 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 2:54'25.575 22.356
16 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 2:57'12.080 3'08.861
17 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 2:53'12.440 1 Lap
18 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 2:53'12.582 1 Lap
19 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 2:53'12.668 1 Lap
20 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 2:53'12.681 1 Lap
21 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 2:53'12.764 1 Lap
22 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 2:53'12.983 1 Lap
23 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 2:54'05.507 1 Lap
24 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 2:54'21.883 1 Lap
25 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 2:54'24.249 1 Lap
26 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 2:54'37.279 1 Lap
27 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 2:54'16.387 2 Laps
28 66 United States David Starr Toyota 2:54'18.745 2 Laps
29 51 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 2:54'21.183 2 Laps
30 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 2:54'27.212 2 Laps
31 53 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 2:54'30.459 2 Laps
32 15 United States Joey Gase Chevrolet 2:54'40.607 3 Laps
33 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 2:39'33.941 8 Laps
34 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 2:38'22.952 9 Laps
35 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 2:38'23.028 9 Laps
36 16 United States Kaz Grala Chevrolet 2:38'23.468 9 Laps
37 96 United States Landon Cassill Toyota 2:24'38.024 19 Laps
38 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 2:25'30.392 19 Laps
39 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 2:54'31.333 29 Laps
40 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 21'23.834 142 Laps

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