The Advance Auto Parts Clash ended with a last-lap crash for the second-straight year. But unlike 2017, the lead didn’t change because of the crash in 2018.
Brad Keselowski cruised to the victory in the season-opening exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway after Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. crashed on the backstretch.
Keselowski controlled the end of the race as most of the field stayed behind him single-file for the final laps. Ryan Blaney, who was running second, tried a move just as the last lap started but didn’t have any drafting help with him.
That moved Logano into second, though he never had a chance to take advantage of a run behind Keselowski to challenge for the lead.
Keselowski called his shot earlier in the day too, even if he was joking a bit.
It’s Keselowski’s first February Daytona win. While he’s won five races at Talladega, his only Daytona win came in July of 2016. He was in position for a win in 2017 but crashed with Denny Hamlin on the final lap as Logano steered through for the win.
The race was the first for the new restrictor plate racing rules in the Cup Series. With no ride-height requirements, the rear of the cars are much lower to the ground. That means increased speed and decreased rear grip because the spoiler isn’t cutting through the air as severely. Many drivers looked to be fighting loose cars and no one seemed to have a stable ride throughout the 75-lap exhibition race.
Because of new engine rules for 2018, there’s no on-track action for the Cup Series at Daytona until Thursday’s Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Alex Bowman won the pole for the 500 earlier Sunday while Denny Hamlin will start second.
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