Blaney went low and high and was blocked both times by Wallace. On the third block attempt, Blaney had seen enough and got into the back of Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota, which sent him up the track and into the wall.
The incident collected several other cars and NASCAR was forced to throw the caution, which froze the positions of the cars. Kyle Busch was ahead of Blaney on the track at the time and was declared the winner.
“It’s just you get big runs, take them when you can,” Blaney said. “I’m glad everyone’s okay, but in my mind, you kind of do a triple move like that, triple block, you can’t block three times. I don’t know. Runs are so big.
“As a leader, with Bubba trying to block, which is the right thing to do. But I think a lot of those, I mean, I got to go somewhere.”
Despite the second-place finish, Blaney was disappointed is losing out on what he thought was a good opportunity to pick up his first win of the 2023 season.
“I hate that cars got torn up, I hate for us being so close to the win,” he said. “I’m not blaming anybody. Just hard racing at the end of this thing. Unfortunate that cars got tore up and we missed out on another win.”
Wallace takes the blame
After Wallace drove his damaged car back to pit road, he was seen throwing his HANS device in disgust. However, when interviewed later at the infield care center, Wallace took responsibility for the last-lap wreck.
“I just got dumped by (Blaney),” he said when asked what happened. “I threw a late block – close, close block. Not (Blaney’s) fault. I honestly thought that he would leave me high and dry going back around.
“Just hate it for the team. It’s just how it goes. That was our best – by far – plate race we’ve ever done, so hat’s off to the No. 23 group. A great day for us, just a crap result. I hate it I caused that one.”
Wallace was credited with a 28-place finish. Despite showing speed capable of contending for wins in several races this season, Wallace has now failed to finish four of the season’s first 10 races, either by wrecks or an engine issue.
Wallace said he was a little surprised how the end of the race played out considering how it was relatively tame most of the day by Talladega standards.
“The way we were shoving and pushing (in overtime), we were getting each other out of whack instead of moving the momentum forward,” he said.
“Then when I got the move (to the lead), it was all about defending and you can’t let your guard down for one second or you end up here (at the care center).”