Daytona International Speedway announced Wednesday, a rebranding of the season opening exhibition race that is held at the speedway yearly.
Beginning in 2017, DIS plans to rename the event ‘The Clash’, a historical throwback to the legendary name that adorned the race dating back to 1979. DIS is still seeking a title sponsor for the race, after Sprint leaves the sport entirely following 2016.
In a track release, President of Daytona International Speedway Chip Wile, addressed the name change, and is excited to add history to this historic name
“We’re bringing back The Clash at Daytona,” said 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.”
The format for this year’s event has also been updated. Unlike previous years, ‘The Clash’ will not mandate a set number of cars for the field. NASCAR and Daytona announced a new criteria for entry into the season opening exhibition race. The 75-lap race again will be divided into two segments, along with a competition caution at Lap 25.
Eligible for the 2017 Clash include,
2016 Coors Light Pole winners – 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, and Martin Truex Jr.
Former Clash winners – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart
Former Daytona 500 Pole winners – Danica Patrick
2016 Chase Drivers – Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray
The 2017 Clash will be aired live on FOXSports 1 on February 18th.