Daytona Beach, Fla – It was back to the glory days for the season opening NASCAR race at Daytona. Since 1979, NASCAR has held an all-star event format formerly known as the Busch Clash. Every year, this race kicks off Daytona Speedweeks. Recently though, the race was renamed and moved to run under the lights.
But, a name change back to the “Clash” in the offseason and a rainout from last night, forced this year’s “Clash” to be run back to daytime hours.
That threw a wrinkle to everything, as all 17 cars that were eligible to run in this year’s race had their cars setup for a night time event. With the race being an impound event, teams weren’t able to change their setups prior to Sunday’s early afternoon start.
That’s why the best truly won today.
Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin by far had the top two cars all day and there they were leading the pack on the final lap. Hamlin, led a race high 48 of the 75 laps while Keselowski was so dominant early on in the race. Combined, they led all but 12 laps and were 1-2 entering Turn 1 on the high banked 2.5-mile track on the final lap.
Keselowski, had a run and Hamlin made a couple of moves to block him. Unfortunately, Hamlin came down on Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford which sent Hamlin spinning in Turn 2 ending his day with a 13th place finish. Keselowski, would obviously lose a ton of speed and finish sixth for his fourth top 10 in five Clash tries.
But, Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano was there to capitalize. Logano, skated by and took his No. 22 Ford to victory lane for the first time of his Clash career. He came home second a year ago and won today for his fifth straight top six finish and fifth top four in those five races.
It was the 10th last lap pass for the win in the Clash and Penske’s third career Clash victory.
Kyle Busch and Alex Bowman had a drag race for second with Busch taking his No. 18 Toyota to the runner-up finish. It was his third top three finish in his last six Clash starts. Bowman, brought the No. 88 Chevy home third.
Danica Patrick went from 10th to fourth on the final lap for her best career Clash finish while her SHR teammate of Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five in fifth.
The first caution came out on Lap 16 when Jimmie Johnson lost control of his No 48 Chevrolet exiting Turn 4 and got into Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Chevy. Busch, would be shot into the outside SAFER barrier as a result of the contract thus ending his day with a 17th place finish.
Johnson, then crashed again on Lap 48 in similar fashion ending his day with a sixth straight crash in the Clash.
The only other caution came with 10 to go when Martin Truex Jr. crashed in Turn 3.
Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Results:
- 22 Logano
- 18 KyBusch
- 88 Bowman
- 10 Patrick
- 4 Harvick
- 2 Keselowski
- 24 Elliott
- 19 Suarez R
- 37 Buescher
- 1 McMurray
- 20 Kenseth
- 3 Dillon
- 11 Hamlin OUT
- 42 Larson OUT
- 78 Truex Jr. OUT
- 48 Johnson OUT
- 41 KuBusch OUT