NASCAR Cup: Daniel Suarez in Clash, but Bowyer not
Daniel Suarez (right) and team owner Joe Gibbs during a press conference at Joe Gibbs Racing on Jan. 11, announcing Suarez as the new driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
As a result of Daniel Suarez inheriting the seat behind the wheel of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota vacated by Carl Edwards last week, NASCAR will allow Suarez to compete in the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 18, based on Edwards being qualified for the race. Clint Bowyer, though, who is inheriting the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford vacated by the retired Tony Stewart, will not be allowed to compete in the Clash, even though Stewart qualified for the race as driver of the No. 14.
reasoning behind NASCAR’s decision to allow Suarez but prohibiting Bowyer from competing in the event is because JGR already had a car prepared, complete with sponsorship backing, for the race prior to learning of Edwards’ decision to step away from NASCAR competition in 2017. Edwards announced his decision last week.
SHR, though, knew far in advance of Stewart’s retirement. Stewart announced his retirement in late 2015.
Drivers who won poles in 2016, former Clash winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners and 2016 Chase drivers are eligible for the 2017 Clash. Edwards was qualified for the Clash by virtue of winning a series-leading six poles last season and by being a Chase driver. Stewart was qualified for the event by being a former Clash winner and also by being a 2016 Chase driver.