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NASCAR Cup: Clash-eligible drivers announced

The green flag waves on the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

The green flag waves on the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Twenty drivers are eligible for the 2018 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona exhibition race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Feb. 11, using the same eligibility requirements in place for the 2017 edition of the event.

Drivers eligible include pole winners and playoff drivers from 2017 and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in the Cup Series last years. Using those criteria, drivers eligible for the 2018 Clash include Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman.

Three of the aforementioned drivers — Earnhardt, Kenseth and Patrick — are not expected to race full-time in 2018, with Earnhardt announcing his retirement from full-time competition as a driver early in 2017, effective at the end of the 2017 season, and Kenseth and Patrick left on the sideline without a ride at the end of 2017. As a result, Patrick announced she would run the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in 2018 and, then, hanging up her racing helmet, and Kenseth announced that he would step away from competition but stopped shy of announcing a retirement, stating that he may possibly get back behind the wheel, should an adequate opportunity present itself.

During the 2017 season, Earnhardt publicly expressed interest in racing at Daytona in 2018, but wife Amy seemed to dash those hopes. Patrick, as mentioned, is expected to be at Daytona to race the Daytona 500, car owner unknown. The chance of that potential owner also fielding a car for her for the Clash is unknown. As for Kenseth, it’s unknown whether or not there’s a car owner who would be willing to field a competitive car for Kenseth for the event.

The Clash will close a day at Daytona that also will include pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. The Advance Auto Parts Clash will be a 75-lap race divided into two segments by a competition caution at lap 25.

“A doubleheader, featuring the Clash and Daytona 500 qualifying, is a great way to start the 2018 season,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “The urgency created by the non-points race sets a tone for the season, providing a strong preview of the competition we expect will be a mainstay all year long.”

The Clash will air live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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Posted by on December 12, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Camping World Truck. 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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