After the 2020 Busch Clash left much of the field in a mangled heap, the 2021 edition will see a new approach. On Wednesday, Daytona International Speedway officials announced the exhibition race will move to the track’s infield road course layout.
“We continue to look for opportunities to differentiate the Busch Clash from the Daytona 500 and obviously everything we do around Speedweeks presented by Advent Health is about building toward the 500,” track president Chip Wile stated. “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.”
The road course most notably hosts the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship‘s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January and the Daytona 200 motorcycle race. Informally, the endurance race kicks off the new American racing season by leading into Speedweeks, a series of stock car events that include the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck Series, and the NASCAR Cup Series‘ Clash and Bluegreen Vacations Duel. All of these races culminate with the Daytona 500 to officially begin the Cup season.
For 2021, Speedweeks will be condensed into six days from the traditional seven. The Clash is scheduled for Tuesday, 9 February, followed by Daytona 500 qualifying on Wednesday and the Duel on Thursday. The Truck and Xfinity support races will remain on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but the ARCA Menards Series round will now be held the same day as the Xfinity race. The 2021 Daytona 500 will take place on 14 February.
“The famed road course at Daytona has a long and storied history with sports cars and motorcycles and now we can write a new chapter on it with stock cars,” NASCAR Vice President of Racing Development Ben Kennedy added. “Fans coming to the track will get to see six consecutive days of exciting NASCAR action, with no days being the same.”
Although 2021 will see the début of the new Next Gen car, teams will continue to run the Generation 6 car for the Clash.
While the Clash is an exhibition race, NASCAR has seen a gradual increase in infield road course—or roval—races in recent years. In 2018, the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was moved to its roval layout, while the Xfinity Series’ date at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has shifted to the road course layout for 2020.