Clint Bowyer didn't pull any punches when it came to blaming Austin Dillon for triggering the 17-car "big one" at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Dillon had just taken the lead from Denny Hamlin on Lap 119 with Bowyer assisting him with a push. Bowyer then attempted to take the lead, but Dillon swung into his path which triggered a 17-car accident that collected several contenders including Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr among others.

"You have to be behind someone to block," said Bowyer. "I was clearly at his side. That was pretty bad.

"Nature of the beast for this type of racing. I got a good run, and he came down to try and block me, and I moved down and he came down again."

Dillon led a race high 46 laps and was aiming to keep the lead with weather approaching and deemed the move necessary.

"I really thought it was urgent because of the lightning and rain coming, so I jumped up there, had a good push from Bowyer," said the Richard Childress Racing driver. "My plan was to as soon as I cleared (Denny Hamlin) was to cut left and cut down again to go with my Chevy teammates. I was just trying to get a race win, that's all it was.

"It's part of this kind of racing. I was being aggressive and keep the lead, and that's what you get. It's part of it. I wish we could have worked with the Chevys to finish off what we started."

Bowyer acknowledged Dillon's motive, but it gave him no consolation.

"The kid was doing everything to stay in the lead, and it was pretty foolish," Bowyer continued. We've got communicators on top of the roof and pretty early in the race and a lot of race left to be aggressive with the block or whatever the hell that was."

The accident also hurt the chances for both drivers to secure a berth in NASCAR's playoffs as Bowyer sits 15th in the standings, just one point ahead of the cutoff position occupied by Ryan Newman. Dillon lies 77 markers behind the cut line in 23rd.