The Wait is Finally Over!
Indeed! And we couldn’t be more excited. Cars hit the track on Saturday, kicking off the build-up to the Daytona 500 with the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. The Clash is an exhibition race, consisting of 75 laps around Daytona International Speedway, separated into two segments by a competition caution at lap 25. The starting grid is chosen by a draw. As an exhibition race, the Clash is not points-paying, and participation is based off of eligibility standards determined by NASCAR. Additionally, only a few select drivers are in the race.
So, Who Gets to Race?
Drivers gaining eligibility by winning pole positions or making it to the Chase (now called the playoffs) in 2016, or by having won the Clash before or scoring pole position at a Daytona 500 and competed full time last season.
Greg Biffle, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex, Jr. all qualified by winning pole in 2016,
Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, and Jamie McMurray qualified by making the Chase last year,
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart qualified by having won the Clash before,
and Danica Patrick qualified by having won pole at a Daytona 500 and having competed full time in 2016.
But, That’s not the Whole Story.
Eagle-eyed readers may have realized that there are some inconsistencies in this list, and they’d be right. In fact, there are a few important things that need clearing up. For example, Alex Bowman and Dale Earnhardt drove the same 88 car at different times last year, so how could they both be in the same race? That’s a good question to ask, and the answer is: there isn’t a way. Earnhardt Jr. handed his drive for the Clash over to Bowman, with Jr. set to return for the 500. So that’s one driver off the list.
Greg Biffle doesn’t have a 2017 ride, so he won’t race,
Tony Stewart is retired, so he won’t race,
and after Carl Edwards announced his surprise retirement last month, NASCAR allowed Daniel Suárez, the rookie from Mexico, to race in his place.
Which means We’re Looking at a 17 Car Grid:
Martin Truex Jr.
How do I watch?
The race is Saturday, Feb. 18th, at 8:00pm EST (GMT—5)
Watch on FS1 in the USA and Premier Sports in the UK