'If you're going to make a move like that, make sure you win the race' - Blaney

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'If you're going to make a move like that, make sure you win the race' - Blaney

NASCAR

'If you're going to make a move like that, make sure you win the race' - Blaney

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Ryan Blaney knew the contact from Chase Elliott on the final lap in the Busch Clash wasn’t intentional. Still, he was understandably upset and thought Elliott should have at least made it matter.

“If you’re going to make a move like that, make sure you win the race,” he said, “don’t let the third-place guy do it.”

The irony of Blaney’s statement was that the inaugural event at the Charlotte Roval in 2018 went in his favor because of a similar incident involving the race leaders.

Tuesday night, Blaney and Elliott came together in the frontstretch chicane on the last lap, giving Kyle Busch the win. Blaney had charged to the lead on fresher tires but admitted he didn’t do what he needed to do to keep Elliott off his bumper.

“I didn’t get away from him,” said Blaney, who was credited with a 13th-place finish. “I kind of slipped up one or two corners, and he was able to get into me there and kind of keep me close. I hit the mud hard on the backstretch and kind of let him get even closer, and then I was trying to protect against the dive bomb there, and I braked deeper in that corner than I had braked all night, and he set it off in there, and we came together, and neither one of us won the race.

“It definitely sucks for sure, but I appreciate the fast car, and it’s a shame it didn’t happen.”

Blaney led four laps in the Busch Clash. He and Elliott are good friends, and he appreciated the apology over nothing being said but was still unhappy.

“No good friends would be happy with each other if one ended up getting wrecked by the other one,” said Blaney. “I’ve always said that’s the good thing about having friends that race against you; you can sit down and talk about it, and it not be a huge blow-up argument.

“Now, we’re definitely not going to see eye-to-eye on it, but we’re going to be able to sit down and talk, and now just blow it off.

“It’s one of those things, man. He and I wrecked together in Kentucky in 2016, and that stuff’s going to happen. It stinks when it’s your buddy and the last lap.”

Elliott started in the back of the field following unapproved adjustments to his Chevrolet after inspection, and he also led four laps. He was passed for the lead, by Blaney, with two laps to go.

After the race, Elliott apologized to Blaney on pit road and in his interviews. Elliott said multiple times Blaney is not someone he would want to wreck.

“I think you have to try to win the race, for sure,” Elliott said of trying the move again next weekend on the road course. “I can’t be sorry – if I’m sorry about trying to win the race, then I’m in the wrong business here. So, I’m certainly going to give it my best shot to do that.

“I don’t know what you do there. I drove it in there and tried to get the inside, was going to try to roll in there kind of fast, and you roll in there too fast, and you jump the curbs, and he drives back by you on the straightaway. Or you roll in there kind of slow, and we both take up one lane and somebody wrecks, so it’s just a tough spot.”

Elliott said Blaney should be frustrated. However, a sign Elliott said he didn’t do anything intentional was that he screwed it up and didn’t win the race.

“That’s just my bad,” said Elliott. “Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about it now.”

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