The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action Tuesday night with the Busch Clash at Daytona. The annual exhibition race marks the start of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The finish will be the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.
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Much is different about this year"s event, starting with how it will be contested. The Clash has been moved to Daytona"s 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course from its 2.5-mile superspeedway. This will be the first road-course Clash in the race"s 43-year history.
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Other changes involve the day and time of the race. The 2021 Clash will be a weeknight race rather than a weekend afternoon race. The event is scheduled to begin sometime after 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. It will be broadcast on FS1, with the network"s coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
"We continue to look for opportunities to differentiate the Busch Clash from the Daytona 500 and obviously everything we do around Speedweeks . . . is about building toward the 500," Chip Wile, president of Daytona International Speedway, said last March as he announced the changes to the Clash. "This is about how we can continue to push and elevate the Busch Clash to be something different."
Below is all you need to know about this year"s exhibition race at Daytona, including the TV/live stream info, the format for the event and the starting lineup.
Clash at Daytona start time 2021Date: Tuesday, Feb. 9Start time: 7 p.m. ETTV: FS1
The Clash will be the first race for the Fox NASCAR crew of Mike Joy (play-by-play), Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Larry McReynolds (analysts). Bowyer is in his first season with the network after retiring as a full-time driver last season.
Jamie Little and Regan Smith will be the pit reporters.
Clash at Daytona schedule 2021
An additional change from last year is that there will be no practice session for the Clash. Teams will line up and go on race night. They"ll be back on the track Wednesday afternoon for the first Daytona 500 practice session and again Wednesday night for Daytona 500 pole qualifying.
Below are the TV and radio schedules for all Cup Series sessions at Daytona this week. Sessions will be televised on Fox, FS1 or FS2 and broadcast over the Motor Racing Network (MRN). All events can be streamed on Fox Sports Go.Tuesday, Feb. 9
|7 p.m. ET||Busch Clash at Daytona||FS1||MRN|
Wednesday, Feb. 10
|12:05 p.m. ET||Daytona 500 first practice||FS1||MRN|
|7 p.m. ET||Daytona 500 pole qualifying||FS1||MRN|
Thursday, Feb. 11
|7 p.m. ET||Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1||FS1||MRN|
|8:45 p.m. ET||Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 2||FS1||MRN|
Saturday, Feb. 13
|9:30 a.m. ET||Daytona 500 second practice||FS2||MRN|
|12:30 p.m. ET||Daytona 500 final practice||FS1||MRN|
Sunday, Feb. 14
|2:30 p.m. ET||Daytona 500||Fox||MRN|
Clash at Daytona 2021: Format, lineup, entry list
The Busch Clash is scheduled for 35 laps (126.3 miles), with a scheduled caution at Lap 15. It is an invitational --- a driver must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible to compete:Pole winner from any race last seasonPast Clash winner who raced full time last seasonPast Daytona 500 winner who raced full time last seasonPast Daytona 500 pole winner who raced full time last seasonQualified for last season"s Cup Series playoffsWon a Cup Series race in 2020Won a Cup Series race stage in 2020
NASCAR changed the criteria for the 2021 race because of the low number of qualifying sessions in 2020. NASCAR mostly eliminated on-track qualifying after resuming the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty-four drivers were eligible to race in the Clash after the end of the 2020 Cup Series season, but three of them will not be racing in Tuesday"s exhibition. Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer retired as full-time Cup Series drivers in the offseason. The other 21 eligible drivers will compete in the Clash.
Below is the starting lineup for the 2021 Busch Clash at Daytona. Positions were drawn at random on Monday, Feb. 8, during a virtual meeting at Daytona International Speedway. Each crew chief chose a Busch Beer can that was marked with a number from 1-21.
|1.||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske|
|2.||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3.||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4.||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske|
|5.||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6.||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing|
|7.||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports|
|8.||41||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|9.||43||Erik Jones||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|10.||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske|
|11.||6||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing|
|12.||21||Matt DiBenedetto||Wood Brothers Racing|
|13.||17||Chris Buescher||Roush Fenway Racing|
|14.||23||Ty Dillon||23XI Racing|
|15.||1||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|16.||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|17.||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|18.||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|19.||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing|
|20.||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing|
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|10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing|
Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used in this report.