Race format and eligible drivers announced for 'The Clash' at Daytona

The season-opening NASCAR exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway is bringing back its original name after several overhauls in recent years.

The race was first run in 1979 and known as the Busch Clash. It was later rebranded as the Budweiser Shootout and then the Sprint Unlimited. Now, 'The Clash' is back. 

The Feb. 18th night race will consist of two segments -- 25 laps and then another 50 after a competition caution. The race will be 75 laps in total

The criteria for making the field has also grown more exclusive for 2017, making just 20 drivers eligible. Here they are and how they made the cut:

2016 Pole Awards winners (14)

- 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, Martin Truex Jr.

Former Clash race winners (2)

- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart

Former Daytona 500 Pole Award winners (1)

- Danica Patrick

2016 Chase drivers (3)

- Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray

“What better way to kick off the 2017 season than the sport’s brightest stars under the lights at Daytona International Speedway” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Coming off a thrilling season finale at Homestead-Miami, we’re looking forward to continuing that momentum into Daytona. With bragging rights and no points on the line, the Clash will set the tone for what should be a season full of great racing and tough competition.” 

“We’re bringing back The Clash at Daytona,” added Chip Wile, Daytona International Speedway president. “The Clash was a race name that has always been popular among both the competitors and race fans. We’re looking forward to bringing it back and building on the rich history of this thrilling and always unpredictable event that kicks off the NASCAR season.”

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Series NASCAR Cup
Article type Breaking news
Tags the clash