The 2021 edition of the Busch Clash exhibition event for the NASCAR Cup Series, scheduled for Tuesday, will look different than Clashes of years past. For starters, the event moves from the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway oval to Daytona’s 3.61-mile infield road course.
“The excitement by both the drivers and our fans leading up to the 2021 Busch Clash At Daytona is unprecedented,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “NASCAR’s initial visit to the Daytona Road Course in August delivered big time, with incredible competition, adding to the legacy of the famed road course made famous with sports cars and motorcycles. Having the Busch Clash At Daytona on Tuesday night also adds to the anticipation of an action-packed Speedweeks calendar. With the talent level in the field, the race will now clearly have its own look and feel during Daytona Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth in 2021 and beyond.”
The race will be 35-laps long with a caution scheduled for lap 15.
Also, the eligibility criteria for competing in the event has changed. Previously, the race field was comprised, primarily, of previous season pole winners. But, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR scrapped qualifying, along with practice, for most of the 2020 season. For drivers to be eligible for this year’s Clash, one of the following must apply:
• 2020 pole sitter
• former Clash winner, as long as competed full-time in the Cup Series in 2020
• former Daytona 500 winner, as long as competed full-time in the Cup Series in 2020
• former Daytona 500 pole sitter, as long as competed full-time in 2020
• 2020 playoff driver
• 2020 Cup Series points-paying race winner
• 2020 Cup Series race stage winner
By the aforementioned criteria, 24 drivers are eligible for the 2021 Busch Clash. Twenty-one are on the entry list for the race, excluding Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer, who retired at the end of the 2020 season. Drivers entered include Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.
The starting grid for the Busch Clash will be determined by a drawing among participating crew chiefs at 7 p.m. ET Monday. The Clash is scheduled to take the green flag at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday and will be shown live on FOX Sports 1.