NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway recently made a joint announcement that will bring back memories to longtime fans of the sport. In the past few years, the season opening exhibition race has been called “The Budweiser Shootout” and “The Sprint Unlimited” and has been open to winners from the previous years as well as past champions in the Cup series. This year, the race will go back to its roots and be called “The Clash at Daytona.” Along with the name change, there will also be a change in the race format and in how drivers are able to compete in the race.
New Qualification Parameters and Race Format
The Clash will be a 75 lap slugfest that will be held one week prior to the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. We’re going to be treated to a 25-lap “warmup” prior to a “Competition Caution” and then an all-out slugfest of 50 laps to determine the winner.
The field for The Clash has been limited to 25 cars in years past. However, it will be limited to only 20 drivers this year. Qualification parameters for the race have also been tweaked a little. They are:
- Coors Light Pole winners from the 2016 season
- Former Clash winners
- Daytona 500 pole winners who were full-time competitors in 2016
- 2016 Chase drivers
2017 Clash Field Set
With the parameters outlined above, we know who will be racing in The Clash at Daytona on February 18th, 2017. They are 2016 pole winners:
- Greg Biffle
- Alex Bowman
- Kurt Busch
- Kyle Busch
- Austin Dillon
- Carl Edwards
- Chase Elliot
- Denny Hamlin
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Matt Kenseth
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
- Martin Truex Jr
Former Clash Race Winners
- Dale Earnhardt Jr
- Tony Stewart
Former Daytona 500 Pole Award winner Danica Patrick and 2016 Chase drivers Chris Beuscher, Kyle Larson, and Jamie McMurray.
NASCAR Premiere Series Has New Entitlement Sponsor
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France recently announced that they have signed a contract for a new entitlement sponsor for the premiere series. Monster Energy will now be the primary sponsor for the top-tier series. There’s been no announcement yet on the new name for the series.
France stated that Monster should bring in a new generation of fans, greatly expanding the sport’s fan base. France said that Monster’s edginess and lifestyle culture will make the sport more popular with a younger generation of fans.