Erik Jones Wins the Busch Clash with Help from Denny Hamlin

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 09: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 Sport Clips Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 09, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo – Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

Speedweeks has officially kicked off for the NASCAR Cup Series with the 2020 Daytona 500 qualifying, and the Busch Clash. 18 drivers made up the field by either winning a pole in the previous season, making the playoffs in the previous season, or winning the Daytona 500 at some point in their career. All three Team Penske drivers, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers, and all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers were part of the field and heavily favorited.

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Denny Hamlin Pushes Teammate Erik Jones to Victory in Busch Clash

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 09: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 Sport Clips Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 09, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Florida Photo – Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Denny Hamlin couldn’t win the Busch Clash at Daytona for himself, but he made sure his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate did.

For nearly the entire final lap in the third attempt at overtime, Hamlin pushed the mangled Toyota of Erik Jones all the way to finish line in a race that saw only six of 18 cars running at the finish.

With the nose of his car caved in and held together with tape, Jones led only the final lap—the 88th of the race and the 13th of overtime—in collecting his first victory in the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series exhibition race.

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Playoff Standings Tighten as First Elimination Race Approaches

RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 13: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Haas Automation Ford, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Global Poker Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 13, 2019, in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The scenario for Sunday’s much-anticipated Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course provides exactly the intensity NASCAR fans want, but for the Playoff drivers competing to advance to the Round of 12 – the recently added road course also presents high anxiety.

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