virtual drawing Monday among crew chiefs from teams participating in Tuesday’s Busch Clash exhibition race on the Daytona International Speedway road course puts Ryan Blaney on the pole for the 35-lap race. Alex Bowman will start next to Blaney on the front row.
Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski will start in the second row. Erik Jones, who won the 2020 Clash on the Daytona oval will start ninth. Tuesday night’s race will be Jones’ first stint behind the wheel of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet.
This year’s edition of the event will be its first on the road course. Chase Elliott, who will start seventh, won last year’s points paying race on the Daytona road course, the only NASCAR Cup Series race, to this point, on the course. Elliott has won the last four road-course races in the Cup Series, dating back to 2019.
Other top-10 starters include William Byron in fifth, Tyler Reddick in sixth, Cole Custer eighth and Joey Logano in 10th.
Drivers qualified for the Clash by being former Clash winners or Daytona 500 pole or race winners, provided they were full-time Cup Series drivers in 2020; 2020 pole winners; 2020 race winners, participation in the 2020 playoffs; or 2020 stage wins. Twenty-one drivers are enterd of the 24 eligible for the event. Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are qualified but are not participating after their retirements at the end of the 2020 season.
The stage win criteria made Ty Dillon eligible for the 2021 Clash, but he lost his ride at Germain Racing when that team shut down at the end of the 2020 season. The new 23XI Racing team co-owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan has hired Dillon to drive its #E23 Toyota in the Busch Clash, because 23XI’s driver, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., isn’t Clash-eligible. Dillon will start the car from the 14th position Tuesday.