DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Daytona 500 is known as the big race, but it’s also known for the big one, the big wreck that changes the dynamics of a race. Sunday’s big one came with 10 laps to go and it wiped out both Hinckley native Matt Tifft and Trumbull County native Ryan Blaney.
“I thought I saw the #95 or somebody get turned up front and I couldn’t see after that it was just melee. I tried to get on the brakes and unfortunately I couldn’t see anything and we were in it,” said Tifft.
“I saw him kind of turn to the right, get hooked, and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to miss this one,’ which stinks. We were really fast all night,” Blaney said.
Blaney was pleased with his car before the crash, in fact, the driver of the Ford #12 had won the second stage of the Daytona 500.
“We had a fast car and we were able to kind of pick the right lanes to work our way up, you just kind of pick and choose,” said Blaney.
Matt Tifft was making his Daytona 500 debut, he finished 36th.
“All in all a really cool experience but obviously want to finish the race and it’s disappointing.”
Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing went on to win the race, it was his second Daytona 500 win. Most importantly for JGR, the win comes just months after Joe Gibbs’ son JD passed away.
Next up for Tifft, Blaney and the rest of the Monster Energy Cup Series a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway next Sunday.