The Busch Clash is an annual NASCAR Cup Series exhibition event held at Daytona International Speedway in February, the weekend before the Daytona 500.

The race was first run in 1979 and was a fifty-mile "all-out sprint". In its current format, it is made up of two segments, starting with a 25-lap segment which culminates in a 50-lap final segment. The race, like the All-Star Race held at Bristol Motor Speedway in July, carries no points for the winner but rather a large purse, circumstances which are supposed to encourage an all-out driving style not seen in regular-season races where one serious mistake can largely ruin a season. However, due to the smaller fields, huge accidents normally seen in the Daytona 500 are uncommon.

The 1987 race, won by Bill Elliott was completed at an average speed of 197.802 mph. It stands as the fastest sanctioned race in the history of NASCAR (though it was not an official points-paying event).

Race format[edit | edit source]

  • 1979-1990: The race consisted of a single twenty-lap (50-mile) green flag sprint with no pit stops required.
  • 1991-1997: The race was broken into two ten-lap, green flag segments. The field was then inverted for the second ten-lap segment. Prize money was awarded for both segments for all positions.
  • 1998-2000: The event was renamed the Bud Shootout, and consisted of two 25-lap (62.5-mile) races, the Bud Shootout Qualifier at 11 a.m., and the Bud Shootout itself at 12 p.m. One two-tire pit stop was required for each race. The winner of the qualifier advanced to the main event.
  • 2001-2002: The event was renamed the Budweiser Shootout and expanded to a new distance, 70 laps (175 miles). Caution laps would be counted, but the finish had to be under green, with the Truck Series green-white-checker rule applying if necessary. A minimum of one two-tire green flag pit was required. The Bud Shootout Qualifier was discontinued as qualifying for Cup races had been reduced to one round.
  • 2003-2008: The race was broken up into two segments: a 20-lap segment, followed by a ten-minute intermission, concluding with a 50-lap second segment. While a pit stop was no longer required by rule, a reduction in fuel cell size (from 22 gallons to 13.5 gallons) made a fuel stop necessary. Many drivers also changed two tires during their fuel stop, as the time required to fuel the car allows for a two-tire change without delay.
  • 2009-2012, 2016-present: The first segment is 25 laps, followed by the 50-lap second segment. The total race distance is 75 laps (187.5 miles).
  • 2013-2015: The race was divided into three segments (30 laps, 25 laps, 20-laps), with online fan voting deciding certain aspects of the race specifics (lengths of the segments, requirements for mandatory pit stops, number of drivers eliminated, etc.) The total race distance was 75 laps (187.5 miles). For 2013, the vote resulted in a mandatory four-tire pit stop, and no cars were eliminated. For 2014, voting set the starting lineup per final practice speeds and required mandatory pit stops after the second segment.

Race eligibility[edit | edit source]

  • 1979-1997: Pole position winners from the previous season clinched automatic berths. The drivers that were the fastest qualifiers for the previous year's races' during Busch Second Round Qualifying were eligible for one wild card spot. The wild card driver was selected by blind draw during the week of the NASCAR awards banquet or during the January media tour.
    • From 1995-1996, the winner of the most pole positions in the secondary NASCAR Busch Series won an entry into the Busch Clash, driving a Busch-sponsored car. David Green won the right both times.
  • 1998-2000: Pole position winners from the previous season clinched automatic berths. Drivers eligible from Second Round Qualifying participated in the Bud Shootout Qualifier, with the winner advancing to the Bud Shootout.
  • 2001-2008: Pole position winners from the previous season clinched automatic berths, in addition, all former winners of the event not already qualified received automatic berths.
    • NASCAR eliminated second round qualifying beginning in 2001. For the 2001 Budweiser Shootout only, the drivers eligible from second round qualifying of 2000 events were placed in a blind draw for the final wild card starting position, as had been done from 1979-1997.
  • 2009: Top 7 teams from each manufacturer based on Owner points.
  • 2010-2011: The top 12 drivers in points from the previous season, past NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions, past Budweiser Shootout winners, past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 winners, and the reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
  • 2012: The field was once again expanded. Automatic bids went to the top 25 in series points (every driver from defending series champion Tony Stewart through 25th place Brian Vickers), as well as any Daytona race winner who was not otherwise qualified and who competed in at least one race in 2011 (which enabled Bill ElliottGeoff BodineDerrike CopeMichael WaltripJamie McMurrayTrevor BayneTerry Labonte, and Ken Schrader to make the race if they decide to run).
  • 2013-2014: The Unlimited format returned to the format used from 2002-2008, with all drivers who won pole positions via time trials (does not include winners of practice one, should qualifying not be held because of inclement weather) and previous Unlimited/Shootout winners that have attempted to qualify for any of the 36 points races in the previous season. Because of the new race sponsor, the beer sticker mandate was eliminated by the track.
  • 2015-2016: Eligibility was once again changed, with a minimum of 25 eligible entries. Automatic eligibility now goes to:
    • The 16 drivers from the previous year's Chase; e.g. in the 2016 Unlimited, every driver from defending 2015 series champion Kyle Busch through 16th place Clint Bowyer qualified; with the exception of Jeff Gordon, who retired.
    • Drivers who won pole positions via knockout qualifying (excluding winners of practice one, should qualifying be rained out)
    • Previous Unlimited winners that attempted to qualify for any of the 36 points races in the previous season
    • Previous Daytona 500 front row starters (both inside and outside polesitters) if they did not win a pole position at any of the other 35 races during the previous season
    • Any remaining spots are filled by the highest drivers in the previous season's final point standings to not be automatically entered into the Unlimited on any of the other qualifications
  • 2017-2018: Unlike previous years, the starting field for the Clash at Daytona will not be a predetermined number of cars; rather, the field is limited to drivers who meet more exclusive criteria. Only drivers who were 2016 Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016, and drivers who qualified for the 2016 Chase are eligible.
  • 2019-present: Rules for the 2019 Clash were changed slightly, allowing only drivers who were 2018 Busch Pole Award winners, former Clash winners who competed full-time in 2018, former Daytona 500 champions who competed full-time in 2018, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2018 and drivers who qualified for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs to be eligible for the Clash.

Race history[edit | edit source]

  • 1979: The race debuted on Sunday, broadcast live on CBS. Pole position qualifying for the Daytona 500 would start Sunday at 10 a.m., followed by the ARCA 200. The Busch Clash would be held after the ARCA race at 3 p.m.
  • 1980: Heavy winds during Daytona 500 pole qualifying delayed the proceedings and the ARCA 200 began 90 minutes later than scheduled. As 3 p.m. approached, the ARCA race was red flagged and halted so that the Busch Clash could be held as scheduled and be shown on live television. After the Clash was finished, the ARCA race resumed.
  • 1981: Morning rain washed out Daytona 500 pole qualifying, which was rescheduled for the following day. After the track dried Sunday, the ARCA race began at 2:30 p.m. The Busch Clash, scheduled for 3 p.m., was held following the delayed ARCA race.
  • 1983: Rain washed out all scheduled activities for Sunday. The Busch Clash was rescheduled and run the following day, Monday.
  • 1985: Track officials reorganized the schedule for track activities for the weekend. Daytona 500 pole qualifying was moved from Sunday to Saturday, and the Busch Clash was moved from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday. The ARCA 200 was then held after the Busch Clash rather than before.
  • 1992: For one year, Daytona 500 pole qualifying and the Busch Clash swapped days. The Busch Clash was held Saturday, and qualifying was held Sunday. This move was made at the request of CBS, who wanted the additional time on Sunday for their coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics.
  • 1995: Morning rain delayed the start by 30 minutes.
  • 2001: FOX broadcasts the race for the first time. It also marked the first race televised on FOX. The start time was shifted to 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
  • 2002: TNT broadcast the race for the first time.
  • 2003: The race was moved from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night at 8 p.m. In addition, pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 was moved to Sunday afternoon, and the ARCA race was moved to Saturday afternoon, just prior to the Shootout.
  • 2004: A crash at the final lap resulted in controversy. A 2003 incident at Loudon involving Dale Jarrett and Casey Mears had resulted in the banning of racing back to the caution. In this case, NASCAR did not wave the caution at the end of the race despite a crash involving Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray, and allow the race to run to the finish, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
  • 2006: The event was postponed from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon due to rain. This was also the first shootout to feature the green-white-checkered finish.
  • 2007: Tony "Smoke" Stewart won the race for the third time driving his #20 Home Depot car. It was the second win in a row for Joe Gibbs Racing because Denny Hamlin became the first rookie to win the event in 2006 in his Fedex #11.
  • 2008: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the race for the second time, and won in his first start with Hendrick Motorsports. He also made the record of leading the most laps, 47, during the shootout.
  • 2009Kevin Harvick, won the race for the first time on a last-lap pass reminiscent of his 2007 Daytona 500 last-lap pass on Mark Martin. This time however Harvick passed Jamie McMurray in Turn 3 for the win as an accident would occur behind Harvick, also the same scenario happened in the 500 for Harvick.
  • 2010: All Daytona 500 qualifying weekend activity was moved to Saturday, as not to conflict with Super Bowl XLIV. Daytona 500 qualifying started at 12 noon, then the ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at 4:30 pm, and the Budweiser Shootout was held at 8 pm. Kevin Harvick won the race for the second time in a row, becoming the first driver to win it consecutively since Tony Stewart. A crash caused by Jeff Gordon during the one attempt at the green-white-checkered finish led the race to finish under caution.
  • 2011Kurt Busch won the race in a complicated finish. For the last few laps, a lead pack of 4 cars ran single file, with Ryan Newman in the lead, followed by Denny Hamlin, then Busch, and then Jamie McMurray. Coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap, Busch and McMurray pulled to the outside, while Denny Hamlin pulled to the inside. Hamlin took the lead from Newman under the yellow line, which is prohibited at Daytona and Talladega. Busch and McMurray could not get to the line quick enough, so at first it seemed that Hamlin had won with 2-4 being Busch, McMurray and Newman, but after reviewing the footage, Hamlin was dropped to the last car on the lead lap, in 13th, and all other drivers on the lead lap gained a position, giving Busch the win.
  • 2012Kyle Busch won the race after passing Tony Stewart at the finish line. It was the closest finish in Bud Shootout history. The race itself, being the first Sprint Cup event under a new rules package designed to break up the controversial two-car tandem drafting of the previous year, was marked by three multi-car crashes during the race caused by drivers getting into the left-rear quarter panel of another car. The first crash happened in the first 25 lap segment when Paul Menard got into David Ragan in turn 2, starting an eight car crash. The drivers involved were: Kasey KahneDenny HamlinMatt KensethPaul MenardJeff BurtonDavid RaganJuan Pablo Montoya and Michael Waltrip. The second one happened on lap 55, also in turn 2. This one started when Marcos Ambrose turned Joey Logano loose. Several other drivers were collected trying to avoid Logano, including Kenseth, Martin Truex, Jr.Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Harvick's brakes failed, and he ended up coasting down the apron with flames coming out from under his car, though they extinguished themselves before Harvick reached the garage. A third crash happened with two laps to go within regulation, when Jeff Gordon got into the back of eventual winner Kyle Busch on turn 4. While Kyle retained control of his car, Gordon shot up the banking and collected Jimmie JohnsonJamie McMurray and Kurt Busch, and turned sideways on the driver's side door. Gordon was pushed down the track on his side for several hundred feet before his car barrel-rolled three times and came to a rest on his roof.
  • 2013Kevin Harvick won for the third time in the race. This was the first time the event was named the Sprint Unlimited. This race also marked the debut of the Sixth Generation car.
  • 2014Denny Hamlin won his second Unlimited by overtaking Brad Keselowski with drafting help from Kyle Busch with two laps to go. The first race under a new rules package that included a slightly taller spoiler, there were numerous wrecks, including a frightening wreck on lap 35 when Matt Kenseth was turned by Joey Logano in the trioval, collecting Kevin HarvickKurt BuschTony StewartDanica PatrickJeff GordonCarl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., which saw Stenhouse's car first drive under Busch's rear wheels, lose its brakes and steering, before t-boning Patrick on the apron. The race also saw an incident during the break between the second and third segments in which the pace car managed to catch fire. There were 16 lead changes among seven drivers.
  • 2015Matt Kenseth won the race with Martin Truex, Jr. challenging in the final laps. Brad Keselowski crashed hard on the front straight at lap 25, and Jamie McMurray caused the big one later in the race. After the race, defending series champion Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano were involved in an altercation after Logano's 22 sent Harvick's 4 into the turn four wall coming to the white flag.

Race notes[edit | edit source]

  • Five times the winner of the Advance Auto Parts Clash has gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following weekend: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987), Dale Jarrett (1996, 2000), Jeff Gordon (1997), and and Denny Hamlin (2016).
  • Though there have been drivers who have won all three of the Cup events of Speedweeks at Daytona - the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the Can-Am Duel, and the Daytona 500 - there has not yet been a driver who won all three events in the same year. Twice, an Earnhardt won two of the events, but came up short by losing to Dale Jarrett in the third: in 2004, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Can-Am Duel and the Daytona 500, but finished second to Jarrett in the Unlimited. In 1993, Dale Earnhardt won the Clash and the Can-Am Duel, but finished second to Jarrett in the Daytona 500. In 2014, Denny Hamlin joined this group, winning the Clash and the second Duel race, but losing to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the 500.
  • While it was still named the Busch Clash, on two occasions, the race had the year in its official title. The Busch Clash of '89 and the Busch Clash of '93 were the respective advertised titles.
  • The drivers themselves qualify as eligible for the Advance Auto Parts Clash, not the teams. If an eligible driver for the upcoming Clash switches teams in the off-season, the driver, not the team, is eligible for the race. That driver competes in the race with his new team.
  • Until 2008, drivers who win the pole award at a race must have had an Anheuser-Busch decal (the Busch brand from 1979-1997, and the Budweiser brand 1998-2007), or the corporate logo affixed to their car (for drivers under 21 years of age) at the time in order to earn the berth for the Budweiser Shootout. If the car does not carry the sticker, the Budweiser Pole Award goes to the next car eligible, but the driver which wins the Budweiser Pole Award does not earn a Shootout spot.
    • In 1998, John Andretti was eligible to race in the Bud Shootout for having won a pole position in 1997 racing for Cale Yarborough. In the off-season, Andretti switched to Petty Enterprises, which was not allowed to participate, since they chose not affix the proper decals to their cars. Andretti participated in the race in a one-off ride with Hendrick Motorsports. (Ricky Craven, the regular driver for Hendrick's Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet, did not qualify for the race; Andretti drove the Hendrick car, which carried the usual #25 instead of the #50 used by the team for NASCAR's 50-year celebration.)
    • Bobby Hamilton won the pole position for the 1997 Miller 400 racing for Petty Enterprises, but was not eligible for the 1998 Bud Shootout since the team chose not to affix the proper decal.
    • John Andretti won the pole position for the 1998 Primestar 500 racing for Petty Enterprises, but was not eligible for the 1999 Bud Shootout since the team chose not to affix the proper decal. Todd Bodine was the official winner of the Bud Pole Award by NASCAR rule, but not awarded a Budweiser Shootout position.
    • Jeff Green won the pole position for the 2003 Daytona 500 racing Richard Childress Racing's #30 AOL Chevrolet, but did not participate in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout. Green changed teams twice in 2003 ending up in the #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge (which he also signed to drive in 2004). Since Petty does not permit alcohol decals on his Cup cars the #43 was ineligible for the Shootout. Green could have driven for another team, but chose not to do so.
    • Aric Almirola drove the Richard Petty Motorsports #43, which does not have the (since 2008) Molson Coors Brewing Company-provided Pole Award sticker (Coors Light or Coors Brewing 21 Means 21), per Petty policy. With InBev withdrawing sponsorship of the Shootout, the 2013 Shootout does not have an alcohol sticker mandate, the circuit he will be in the first race of the new 2013 format.
  • Drivers must carry a special decal without the alcohol brand if they are under 21 years of age, but could race in the Clash. Drivers must be 21 or older to wear alcohol decals, and those under 21 must wear a special sticker. Special stickers are made to cover up alcohol for such drivers.
  • Until the end of the 2012 season, drivers under 21 were not permitted to participate in formal activities relating to the race, such as the draw for position and other activities such as conferences related to the race because of the alcohol sponsorship. In those cases, the crew chief will participate in such activities. The abolition of the alcohol sponsorship eliminates the rule.
    • In the 2005 Shootout (Vickers under age), Lance McGrew, who was the new crew chief for Vickers that season, participated in the Shootout draw.
    • In the 2006 Shootout (Busch under age), Alan Gustafson participated in the Shootout draw.
    • Beginning in the 2009 Shootout (Joey Logano under age), Greg Zipadelli participated in the Shootout draw. Presumably, he will continue to do so until Logano turns 21; Logano himself can participate in the draw beginning in 2012.
  • Dale Jarrett (2000) and Tony Stewart (2002, 2006, 2007) are the only drivers to win the Budweiser Shootout without having won a pole position the previous year. Jarrett advanced to the Shootout by winning the Bud Shootout Qualifier, and Stewart was eligible for the Shootout via the 2001 rule change adding a lifetime exemption for former winners.
  • 2006 Budweiser Shootout winner Denny Hamlin was the first rookie to win the event. He had won the pole at Phoenix in a seven-race tryout for Joe Gibbs Racing to find a driver for the FedEx #11 car late in the 2005 Nextel Cup Season. A driver can make up to seven starts per season without giving up their eligibility to be a rookie in NASCAR.

Race winners[edit | edit source]

Year Driver Started Car # Owner Make
1979 Buddy Baker 2 28 Harry Rainer Oldsmobile
1980 Dale Earnhardt 5 2 Rod Osterlund Oldsmobile
1981 Darrell Waltrip 1 11 Junior Johnson Buick
1982 Bobby Allison 12 88 DiGard Buick
1983 Neil Bonnett 15 75 RahMoc Enterprises Chevrolet
1984 Neil Bonnett 8 12 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1985 Terry Labonte 11 44 Billy Hagan Chevrolet
1986 Dale Earnhardt 4 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
1987 Bill Elliott 1 9 Harry Melling Ford
1988 Dale Earnhardt 2 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
1989 Ken Schrader 1 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
1990 Ken Schrader 3 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
1991 Dale Earnhardt 6 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
1992 Geoffrey Bodine 3 15 Bud Moore Engineering Ford
1993 Dale Earnhardt 13 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
1994 Jeff Gordon 6 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
1995 Dale Earnhardt 2 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
1996 Dale Jarrett 12 88 Yates Racing Ford
1997 Jeff Gordon 14 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
1998 Rusty Wallace 13 2 Penske Racing Ford
1999 Mark Martin 13 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford
2000 Dale Jarrett 15 88 Yates Racing Ford
2001 Tony Stewart 7 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac
2002 Tony Stewart 3 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac
2003 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 19 8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet
2004 Dale Jarrett 15 88 Yates Racing Ford
2005 Jimmie Johnson 17 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2006 Denny Hamlin 15 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet
2007 Tony Stewart 14 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet
2008 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 7 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2009 Kevin Harvick 27 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2010 Kevin Harvick 2 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2011 Kurt Busch 17 22 Penske Racing Dodge
2012 Kyle Busch 2 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2013 Kevin Harvick 17 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2014 Denny Hamlin 1 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2015 Matt Kenseth 16 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2016 Denny Hamlin 15 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2017 Joey Logano 9 22 Team Penske Ford
2018 Brad Keselowski 17 2 Team Penske Ford
2019 Jimmie Johnson 13 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2020 Erik Jones 15 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
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