Fans weigh in: Clint Bowyer should be allowed to run in Clash, too

Fans weigh in: Clint Bowyer should be allowed to run in Clash, too

Published Jan. 20, 2017 2:46 p.m. ET

We asked and you, the race fans, spoke once again -- and this time, you made it clear that you believe NASCAR should allow Clint Bowyer to compete in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the season-opening exhibition races at Daytona International Speedway live on FS1 on Feb. 18.

NASCAR recently announced that Daniel Suarez, who only recently took over the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota following Carl Edwards’ decision to leave the sport, would be allowed to run in the event that is supposed to be limited to drivers who meet the following criteria: 2016 pole winners, former Clash champions, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016, and Chase playoff participants from 2016.

Suarez, a rookie who will run his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points race in the Daytona 500 Feb. 18 on FOX, is none of those. Yet even as Suarez was being declared eligible for the event, it was determined by NASCAR that Clint Bowyer, who is replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing car, still remains ineligible for the event.

Bowyer drove another car last season for HScott Motorsports and finished 27th in the points. But Stewart, who retired from full-time Cup Series racing at the end of last season, did win a race and participate in the Chase in the No. 14 last year.

So we posed the question in a poll: Is it right for NASCAR to allow Daniel Suarez to compete in the Clash while ruling Clint Bowyer ineligible?

And perhaps that is why 50 percent of nearly 20,000 race fans who checked in on the poll agreed with the statement, "No, Bowyer should be able to race, too."

A fairly strong block of 36 percent who voted in the poll said neither driver should be permitted to compete.

But only 14 percent said NASCAR made the right call by allowing only Suarez to compete.

NASCAR said it determined that since JGR already had a car and sponsorship ready to go for the Clash and Edwards’ departure was a surprise, it was only fair to let Suarez compete. On the other hand, SHR knew of Stewart’s retirement ahead of time and was not as prepared to compete in the 75-lap exhibition race.

The 75-lap/187.5-mile race will be split into two segments, separated by a mandatory caution period at Lap 25. The race will be televised live on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 18.