By Dustin Albino

DAYTONA Beach, Fla. — Ryan Blaney began his Cup Series title defense on Thursday evening in the second Bluegreen Vacations Duel race at Daytona International Speedway. It ended 13 laps early in a fiery crash.

For the third time in as many races at Daytona, Blaney was hit in the right rear of his No. 12 Ford, and was hooked into the outside wall. This time it came from contact between Kyle Busch and William Byron, which turned the No. 24 Chevrolet into Blaney. Eleven of the 21 competitors were involved in the incident.

“I can‘t control it, but it comes from awful pushes by people,” Blaney said, regarding the incident. “Three times here in a row, awful pushes have led me to getting right reared. It‘s just guys not being smart, not knowing when to get off somebody — you cannot push in the corner, that hard in the tri-oval.

“I don‘t know when guys are going to get it. I‘m sick of paying the expense of it and getting right reared from someone‘s dumb push.”

Blaney’s frustration boiled over, believing his No. 12 team had done everything correctly to that point in the race. He couldn’t pinpoint who to place blame on for the wreck because there was an accordion between Brad Keselowski and Busch, which led to the contact with Byron.

“It seems like [Keselowski] shoved [Busch] into [Byron] and it looked like he was trying to lift, but I don‘t know,” Blaney said. “I can put the blame on somebody, that‘s for damn sure.”

Busch didn’t place blame on Keselowski, knowing he couldn’t see what was transpiring in front of the No. 8 car. Busch saw Byron lose momentum and, while he was lifting out of the gas to stay off the No. 24 car’s back bumper, Keselowski was bumping Busch from behind.

“I hit the 24 in the tri-oval where you‘re not supposed to and spun him out and caused the wreck,” Busch said. “It‘s an accordion type deal, but it happens that way.

“It‘s just the nature of what all this stuff is.”

For the second straight season, Busch’s Richard Childress Racing team will need to prepare a backup car to compete in Sunday’s Great American Race.

Despite slight damage, Keselowski believes his car is capable of winning the Daytona 500. As for the incident, he bluntly said, “You just see a bunch of guys that don‘t know what they are doing and pretend they know what they are doing.”

Noah Gragson will also go to a backup car, while Rick Ware Racing teammates Justin Haley and Riley Herbst will have their primary cars repaired after getting caught up in the lap 47 wreck.

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