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NASCAR: 2018 Advance Auto Parts Clash Review

So the 2018 racing season is back in full swing after a long three months of offseason action.

Looking into today’s running of the Advance Auto Parts clash, there has been a few surprising moments, as well as some of the portions in this race questionable.

1st Segment (Lap 1-25)

Pole-sitter Austin Dillon led the 17 man field at the start.

It wasn’t too long to see Restrictor Plate king Denny Hamlin jump into the lead when he passed the No.3 of A. Dillion on Lap 3.

Behind Hamlin, you got Erik Jones in 2nd and Martin Truex Jr. in 3rd at that time, creating a 1-2-3 Toyota power lead.

If you’re wondering as to why Chase Elliott will bounce back this season, then you’re beginning to show why because he has gone from sixth to first in the first ten laps.

Mind you, Austin Dillion and Chase Elliott never led a single lap of the Clash until today, in which they now have done it for the first time.

There have been some worries for Kyle Larson when he went a bit loose on Lap 8, despite addressing his reservations with spotter Derek Kneeland, Larson did lead out in front at the end of the 1st segment.

2nd segment (Lap 26-75)

It’s been a rough day for Jimmie Johnson when he was penalized for driving past several pit boxes while on pit road.

On Lap 36, Kurt Busch squeezed into Jamie McMurray where he tightened the left rear quarter panel of the No.1 and forced to see McMurray slid into the right side of the barrier.

McMurray was unfortunate not to resume the race as the No.1 car returned to the garage before medics checked him on his release from the care center.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a penalty despite being pushed below the yellow line

Even though the No.18 Kyle Busch pushed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. below the yellow line, Stenhouse had to serve a penalty for passing a position using below the yellow line on the No.18.

Some of these types of moves will be questionable considering if a driver bumps you off the track but you pass him off the road then the officials have an action of that.

If Kyle Busch didn’t send him to the yellow line, then the No.17 car would’ve been excellent.

Either way, NASCAR needs to thoroughly look at this rule and check if a driver who bumps another car below the yellow line should get a penalty instead.

That’s my suggestion there in a way not to cause a controversial move ever again.

Last Lap Wreck

The 48 of Jimmie Johnson was bumped on the left rear quarter panel by Larson where Johnson slammed into the right side of the barrier.

Then Larson and Johnson collected several other cars such as Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.

Johnson has experienced another unlucky crash in out of the last seven consecutive times now he competed in the Clash.

In the end, Brad Keselowski worked his way from the back end of the field to win this year’s Advance Auto Parts clash.

It’s also an excellent day for Team Penske where Joey Logano finished runner-up followed by Ryan Blaney in 4th.

Blaney would’ve loved to seal the third spot to make a Team Penske 1-2-3 sweep, but he’s happy to settle in 4th behind Kurt Busch.

Here are two facts we’ve learned today:

1. Team Penske is the first team since 1990 to finish 1-2 in a preseason race.

2. It’s still a durable Top 4 finish by Ford Performance engine department today.

Final Thoughts

Nice to see Brad Keselowski predicting himself that he would win today’s Clash on Twitter.

Well, he did to end the day at victory lane with his wife Paige and daughter Scarlett by his side in style.


References: ESPN (Picture of Brad Keselowski)

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