Daytona International Speedway renames season-opening race

WPPROD

The NASCAR Premier Series 75-lap preliminary race at Daytona International Speedway has a new name.

“The Clash” at Daytona will now kick off the 2017 season on Feb. 18, which dates back to the original name of the race.

The exhibition race was originally known as the Busch Clash from 1979-1997. In 1998, it was renamed the Bud Shootout until 2001, when it was renamed once again to the Budweiser Shootout.

The event was rebranded the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona for the 2013 season, which also brought along a new format.

“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.”

Unlike years past, The Clash starting field will now be limited to drivers who meet exclusive criteria, including 2016 pole winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and drivers who qualified for the 2016 Chase.

See the list of eligible drivers below:

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