Contact between the Ford of Clint Bowyer and the Chevrolet of Austin Dillon ignited major fireworks in NASCAR’s last trip to Daytona on the Fourth of July weekend.
On lap 117, Dillon had surged past Denny Hamlin into the lead, but Bowyer had a run on the leader and steered his car down the track entering turn one. The movement of Bowyer’s Mustang across Dillon’s rear bumper appeared to destabilized Dillon’s Camaro.
Lightning and an approaching storm added urgency to the situation, and Dillon continued down the track to try to block Bowyer’s progress. The wreck at the front of the field collected 18 cars all told and put a third of the field out of contention for the win.
“I guess he didn’t want me to pass him,” Bowyer said ruefully. “I don’t know. I got under him and he blocked, and we got together. I got off of him – moved down and got off of him – and here he comes back down even more and just finally wrecked us all. That’s just part of racing like this.”
The accident spoiled strong runs for both Bowyer and Dillon, who won the race’s second stage.
“I really felt it was kind of urgent, because of the lightning and rain coming,” Dillon said. “Just trying to get a race win is all it is. I got turned a little bit left, and then it shot me down left. It’s just part of this kind of racing.”
On that last point, at least, Dillon and Bowyer agree.