NASCAR announces 2021 Busch Clash field at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - AUGUST 16: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235 at Daytona International Speedway on August 16, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway announced the eligibility criteria for NASCAR Cup series drivers who will be competing in the 2021 Busch Clash on Daytona’s road course which will be held under the lights Tuesday, Feb.9.

The exhibition race will be held for the first time on the track’s 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course, which was raced on by all three of NASCAR’s top touring series this past August. The Clash will kick off the 2021 edition of Speedweeks. Normally held on the weekend prior to the season opening Daytona 500, for 2021 the Speedweeks schedule is being compacted. The Clash will kick off the week with qualifying for the Daytona 500 being held the following night.

The eligibility for the Clash is normally determined by pole winners from the previous years. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR adjusted the format for setting the field for most of its races in 2020. As such, the eligibility for the Clash has also been adjusted.

The eligibility requirements for the 2021 edition are:

·         2020 Pole winners
·         Past Busch Clash Winners who competed full-time in 2020
·         Daytona 500 Champions who competed full-time in 2020
·         Former Daytona 500 Busch Pole Winners who competed full-time in 2020
·         2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers
·         2020 NASCAR Cup Series Race winners
·         2020 NASCAR Cup Series Stage winners

Under these rules the 24 drivers eligible to compete in the ’21 Clash include:
1                     Aric Almirola
2                     Ryan Blaney
3                     Alex Bowman
4                     Clint Bowyer
5                     Chris Buescher
6                     Kurt Busch
7                     Kyle Busch
8                     William Byron
9                     Cole Custer
10                 Matt DiBenedetto
11                 Austin Dillon
12                 Ty Dillon
13                 Chase Elliott
14                 Denny Hamlin
15                 Kevin Harvick
16                 Jimmie Johnson
17                 Erik Jones
18                 Matt Kenseth
19                 Brad Keselowski
20                 Joey Logano
21                 Ryan Newman
22                 Tyler Reddick
23                 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
24                 Martin Truex, Jr.

“The excitement by both the drivers and our fans leading up to the 2021 Busch Clash At DAYTONA is unprecedented,” said Speedway President Chip Wile. “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 in 2021 and beyond.”

The 2021 NASCAR Daytona Speedweeks schedule

·         Tuesday, Feb. 9: 43rd Annual Busch Clash At DAYTONA (DAYTONA Road Course under the lights)
·         Wednesday, Feb. 10: Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger
·         Thursday, Feb. 11: Duel At Daytona qualifying races
·         Friday, Feb. 12: NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
·         Saturday, Feb. 13: NASCAR Racing Experience 300 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) and Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire (ARCA Menards) doubleheader
·         Sunday, Feb. 14: Daytona 500, The Great American Race

Greg Engle