Chase Elliott has a message for Ryan Blaney: This is Daytona. Get over it.
And Blaney sounds just fine with that.
Elliott was entirely non-apologetic after turning Blaney on the final lap of Tuesday’s Busch Clash, basically shrugging his shoulders when asked about ruining his friend’s — and his own — shot at a victory.
“If I’m sorry about trying to win a race, I’m in the wrong business,” Elliott told reporters, per Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter.
Blaney essentially echoed his friend’s remarks, although with a tinge more frustration in his voice.
“We’re just as hard of competitors as we are good friends,” Blaney said, according to NBC Sports.
The reality also was that Blaney opened the door for Elliott to make contact with a couple bobbles in the closing turns. Blaney’s No. 12 Ford was in position to take the checkered flag in the Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway, leading Elliott and Kyle Busch in the waning moments of the season-opening exhibition race.
Elliott appeared to have the advantage multiple times, but Blaney was able to maintain his position. Finally, Elliott resorted to using the chrome horn on the No. 9 Chevrolet to nudge Blaney out of the way. Instead, both cars ended up spinning
Busch snuck past in the No. 18 Toyota to claim the win.
Elliott, 25, is gunning for his second NASCAR Cup Series championship after taking the crown last season. The sport’s most popular driver seemed to find an extra gear in the 2020 playoffs, and putting his name into the headlines from the start this season only can help in a year filled with intriguing storylines.
From Bubba Wallace potentially getting his first real opportunity to win races for the new Michael Jordan-Denny Hamlin join venture to Ryan Newman returning to the race where he suffered a terrifying crash just one year ago, there is no shortage of things to watch in NASCAR’s year of change.