By Toby Christie (Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie)
The Clash at Daytona is always a fun treat. The race is a shorter-style (not as short as it used to be) 75-lap exhibition event that gets the NASCAR season kicked off and it gives fans the chance to whet their appetite for racing until the Daytona 500.
“There’s no better way to start the season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The close, door-to-door action you see in the Advance Auto Parts Clash is a precursor to the intense competition you’ll see in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series throughout 2019.”
The criteria to make it into the event is usually related to winning pole awards, but over the years the eligibility criteria has morphed but it always turns into a spectacle.
“It’s a tremendous day of racing for our fans,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile in a track release. “Having Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger followed by the Advance Auto Parts Clash makes for a sweet first Sunday of Speedweeks and will have fans fully tuned up for the 61st running of the ‘Great American Race’ on Feb. 17.”
On Thursday, NASCAR announced the 2019 eligibility rules and as a result, 20 drivers are eligible to drive in the event at the 2.5-mile speedway.
This year’s Clash will consist of drivers who won a Busch Pole Award in 2018, former Clash winners who ran the full schedule in 2018, past Daytona 500 pole winners and race champions who ran the full 2018 slate and 2018 Playoff contenders.
Here are your 2019 Clash at Daytona eligible drivers:
2018 Busch Pole Award Winners (13)
Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr.
Former Daytona 500 Winners (4)
Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon (also former D500 pole winner), Jimmie Johnson (also former D500 pole winner)
2018 Playoff contenders (3)
Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski
The Clash at Daytona is scheduled for Sunday, February 10 at 3:00 pm ET.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.