Long a staple of the season-opening Speedweeks at Daytona, the annual Clash exhibition race is making a move from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon in 2018.
NASCAR announced on Monday that fans will get a double-dose of racing action to open the 2018 season on Sunday, February 11, with The Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway capping a day that starts with Coors Light Pole Award qualifying for the 60th Annual Daytona 500.
“A double-header, featuring The Clash and Daytona 500 qualifying, is a great way to start the 2018 season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “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.”
A star-studded lineup of elite drivers will battle in the 75-lap event which airs live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3 p.m. ET. The annual preseason race will be run in two segments, with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments.
Consistent with the eligibility criteria used to determine last year’s Clash field, there is no pre-determined number of cars. The exclusive field is limited to drivers who were 2017 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2017 and drivers who qualified for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Eligible drivers included all 14 Coors Light Pole Award winners from the 2017 season, a list that includes Brad Keselowski thanks to his pole award wins at Las Vegas and Michigan. The other 13 who qualified for the Clash based on pole award wins are: 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.
Additionally any former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award Winners and 2017 Playoff drivers who didn’t win a pole award in 2017 are still qualified for the race. That adds six drivers to the field: Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman, bringing the total to 20. For the first time in years, they’ll race in the afternoon sunshine instead of under the lights at Daytona this coming February.
“For four decades, the Advance Auto Parts Clash has been a staple of the Speedweeks lineup,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “The event has a rich history and serves as a preview to the Can-Am Duel qualifying races and the DAYTONA 500. Combining the Advance Auto Parts Clash and DAYTONA 500 Qualifying on the same day will deliver race fans a full day of NASCAR action.”