Busch Wins the Busch Clash at Daytona
Tuesday night at Daytona, Kyle Busch claimed his first win of 2021 at the Busch Clash. Always a fan favorite, Rowdy passed the 2020 NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott coming out of the chicane just yards before the finish line. Ryan Blaney had chased down the number 9 of Elliott on previous lap to take the lead with only two laps remaining in the 35-lap precursor to the season opening Daytona 500. Elliott entered the Clash having won the last four NASCAR Cup road races and wasn’t going to let Blaney just pull away. With Kyle Busch moving himself up to third, Elliott dove under Blaney going into the chicane for one final chance at the win but an overly aggressive move midway through the chicane took both drivers out of contention when the two made contact and Blaney spun into the wall. The tangle with Blaney's #12 cost Elliott his momentum and Busch sailed by for the surprise victory in his M&Ms Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Brain Child of Monty Roberts in 1979
In 1979, Monty Roberts was instrumental in rebranding Busch Bavarian Beer under his new label Busch Beer. Roberts had been around racing for years and understood that stock car race fans were also loyal brand followers. The original format was to invite the fastest drivers from the previous NASCAR season to race a 50-mile sprint with no pit stops. 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Baker won the first Busch Clash with an average speed of 194.38 mph. As the popular format evolved, The Busch Clash was seen as way to expand racing at the two-weeks known as Daytona Speedweek, which traditionally culminated with the 500-mile race. This year’s race was not only the opening event for Daytona Speedweek, “The Busch Clash” was the 2021 season opener for Cup, where NASCAR is experimenting with a condensed schedule where all of Daytona’s races will span six days and will conclude with Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Dramatic Preseason Racing on Daytona’s Road Course
For the first time, the 2021 Busch Clash was contested on Daytona’s road course. Having won the 2020 NASCAR Cup race at the Daytona road course last August, Chase Elliott entered this year’s Busch Clash as a favorite. Surprisingly, this year’s Busch Clash ran much smoother than last year's race at Daytona on the oval track. Last year the event was a crash fest and every car racing the event was in at least one crash and only six of cars were running at the end of the race. Although Kyle Busch has won just about everything in NASCAR’s three professional divisions, the win last night comes after a disappointing 2020 season where he failed to advance to the final four championship for the first time since 2014. However, nothing would ease the pain of coming off a one-win season than winning the “Great American Race”. This year will be Busch’s fifteenth start in the 500-mile race and the two-time champion would like nothing better than to add a Harley J. Earl Trophy to his shelf. His quest for a Daytona 500 victory begins Thursday night in the Bluegreen Vacations Twin Duels that set the starting lineup for Sunday’s event.