DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Less than a month after Denny Hamlin celebrated his Daytona 500 crown in the sport’s most famous victory lane, Daytona International Speedway has announced major adjustments to the traditional NASCAR Cup Series season-opening race week for 2021 — changing the course of the popular Busch Clash race and condensing the schedule.
Next winter, the Busch Clash will be run the night of Tuesday, Feb. 9, and kick off six consecutive days of on-track action. The race is also being moved from Daytona’s high-banked 2.5-mile oval; stock cars will instead race on the track’s famed road course for the first time.
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Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile announced the news Wednesday in advance of the track hosting this weekend’s 50th running of the Daytona Supercross.
“We continue to look for opportunities to differentiate the Busch Clash from the Daytona 500 and obviously everything we do around Speedweeks . . . is about building toward the 500,” Wile said. “This is about how we can continue to push and elevate the Busch Clash to be something different. And we’ve done that with a lot of new initiatives the first weekend.
“We’ve seen growth year over year with the Busch Clash and that weekend, but to see the resurgence in road-course racing and the excitement around it from the fans, we thought, why can’t we do this?” Wile added.
The road course at Daytona is best known for hosting IMSA’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the DAYTONA 200, North America’s premier races for sports cars and motorcycles, respectively.
The Busch Clash will be followed by Daytona 500 pole qualifying on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Duel races to set the rest of the Daytona 500 field will remain on a Thursday evening, Feb. 11, followed by the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday, Feb. 12. The track will host a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 13, starting with the Xfinity Series season opener and the ending with the ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200.
The Daytona 500, “The Great American Race,” will take place Sunday, Feb. 14, putting an exclamation point on the week of speed.
“Fans coming to the track will get to see six consecutive days of exciting NASCAR action, with no days being the same,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing development, said.
Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.
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