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NASCAR Cup: Busch Clash moves to Daytona road course with tweaked criteria

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR


The 2021 Busch Clash exhibition race that kicks off the NASCAR portion of Daytona Speeedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, scheduled for Feb. 9, will look different that Clashes of years past, as it moves from the facility’s 2.5-mile oval to the 3.61-mile infield road course.

The NASCAR Cup Series took on the Daytona road course for the first time last August when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in schedule changes. The stock-car racing sanctioning body added the road course to its schedule for the first time after cancellations of races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The Cup Series will contest a points-paying race on the Daytona road course, again, in 2021, with a scheduled race there on Feb. 21. The track was, again, a late addition to the 2021 schedule because of coronavirus-induced changes.

“The excitement by both the drivers and our fans leading up to the 2021 Busch Clash At Daytona is unprecedented,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “NASCAR’s initial visit to the Daytona Road Course in August delivered big time, with incredible competition, adding to the legacy of the famed road course made famous with sports cars and motorcycles. Having the Busch Clash At Daytona on Tuesday night also adds to the anticipation of an action-packed Speedweeks calendar. With the talent level in the field, the race will now clearly have its own look and feel during Daytona Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth in 2021 and beyond.”

The 2021 Clash on the road course will be a 35-lap event with one scheduled caution on lap 15.

Previous Clash race fields primarily were made up of previous season pole winners. But NASCAR scrapped qualifying for most races in 2020 in favor of single-day weekend schedules, void of practice and qualifying. As a result, eligibility requirements have changed for this year’s Clash. Drivers are eligible for this year’s Clash if they won a pole last season; are past Clash or Daytona 500 winners, provided they competed full-time in the Cup Series in 2020; former Daytona 500 pole sitters who competed full-time last year; were playoff drivers last season; won a Cup Series points-paying race in 2020; or won a race stage last year.

There are 21 drivers on the entry list for the 2021 Busch Clash, including Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.

Ty Dillon doesn’t have a full-time ride in the Cup Series this season as a result of Germain Racing shutting down at the end of 2020. He got a ride for the Clash with the new 23XI Racing team co-owned by Hamlin and Michael Jordan. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. is that team’s full-time driver but 2021, but Wallace is not eligible for the Clash.

“Very important for our team to get reps,” Hamlin (@DennyHamlin) tweeted. “This will be a crucial race for us to get just that. Special thanks to @TyDillon for stepping in!”

Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer also are qualified for this year’s Clash, but will not compete in the 2021 edition of the event after retiring at the completion of the 2020 season.

The starting lineup for the Clash will be set by a drawing at 7 p.m. ET Monday among the crew chiefs of teams competing in the event. The race is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday and will air live on FOX Sports 1.

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Posted by on February 6, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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