The buildup to the Daytona 500 is going to have a significantly different schedule in 2021.
NASCAR and Daytona announced Wednesday that the Busch Clash would move to Tuesday, Feb. 9 ahead of the Feb. 14 Daytona 500. The race will be run on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course as well. It’s the first time the exhibition race has been held on Daytona’s road course layout.
The Clash has long been held the weekend before the Daytona 500 along with pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. Qualifying will now be the night of Wednesday, Feb. 10 instead of the Sunday before the Daytona 500.
“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 Ben Kennedy said in a statement. “Fans coming to the track will get to see six consecutive days of exciting NASCAR action, with no two days being the same.”
The Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500 remain on the Thursday before the 500 and the Truck race remains on that Friday. The Xfinity race will be run on the Saturday before the 500 like usual and will be accompanied on that day by the ARCA race. The ARCA race has been typically run on the Saturday of the weekend before the 500.
The move to shorten the Speedweeks schedule is one that makes sense for multiple reasons. First, Speedweeks was basically a week and day recently. It wasn’t even two weeks. But on a serious note, it allows for more efficient travel schedules for teams and crews and also means that there aren’t any NASCAR events being run on Super Bowl Sunday. Had the traditional Speedweeks schedule been left in place in 2021, qualifying would be held in the hours before the Super Bowl.
The Speedweeks change may also be a precursor for more schedule changes to come in 2021. NASCAR made some changes to the schedule in 2020 like moving both Pocono races to the same weekend and swapping Indianapolis and the summer Daytona race and could make some even bigger ones in 2021.
“NASCAR fans have asked for more road-course competition and the industry is listening,” Daytona president Chip Wile said. “With the talent level the Busch Clash brings to the table, the race will now clearly have its own look and feel during Speedweeks in 2021 and beyond.
“The new placement on the Speedweeks schedule also adds to the anticipation. That switch will make for a fuller Speedweeks calendar. Fans also will have the opportunity to engage in a festive infield atmosphere, similar to the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, with many prime viewing opportunities.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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