It’s the first official race of the season when 18 drivers will participate in the invitation only Busch Clash.
It isn’t a points race, but it will get one driver and his team a great way to start the season…and some bragging rights.
Whether it be team mates or brothers, it all goes out the window as drivers will beat, bang, and bump draft for 75 laps.
After a blind draw, the starting lineup for the Busch Clash:
Martin Truex Jr
William Byron – first Clash
NASCAR has planned a caution flag at lap 25.
Rocketman Ryan Newman brings the field down for the green flag start with Newman edging out Brad Keselowski for the lead.
Ryan Newman takes lap one with Aric Almirola in second.
Lap three, Ryan Newman has a narrow lead on Martin Truex Jr but Martin Treux Jr gets a push from behind and takes the lead from Newman.
Lap four the drivers have already topped 200mph in the draft.
Lap five, after starting last, Denny Hamlin has moved up eleven spots.
Lap five; the top five are Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano.
Lap seven, Martin Truex Jr continues to lead the race with Brad Keselowski in second.
Lap eleven, Brad Keselowski takes the lead. Martin Truex Jr’s grille was filled with debris and he had to move back to get it cleaned off.
Lap 13, Brad Keselowski leads the way with Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones rounding out the top five.
Sixteen down and Brad Keselowski still holds on to the lead.
Lap 20, Brad Keselowski has the lead with Clint Bowyer in second. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones round out the top five.
The field has split up with one group of drivers holding back.
Lap 22, Clint Bowyer takes the lead, but Keselowski retakes the top spot.
Lap 23, Kyle Busch in eighth just barely keeps his car off the wall.
Lap 24, Brad Keselowski has the lead with Clint Bowyer in second. Erik Jones barely escapes slamming the wall.
Lap 25 just before NASCAR throws the caution flag, several drivers come down pit road for service.
As lap 25 ends, NASCAR throws the caution flag with Ryan Newman leading the race.
Aric Almirola was charged with having his team coming over the wall too soon and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.
Once pit road opened, all of the drivers who did not pit before the caution come down pit road for service.
Ryan Newman was caught speeding on pit road.
Brad Keselowski brings the field down for ther green flag restart on lap 31 and golds on to the lead with Denny Hamlin in second.
Lap 31, Denny Hamlin takes the lead.
Lap 32, Brad Keselowski retakes the lead.
Jimmie Johnson reports that the wind is affecting the handling of the car.
Lap 33, Brad Keselowski has a half second lead on Clint Bowyer; with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Treux Jr rounding out the top five.
Lap 37, Brad Keselowski continues to lead the race.
Lap 41, Brad Keselowski continues to hold on to the lead with Clint Bowyer in second; Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.
With reports of drivers trying to save fuel, there is a question as to whether drivers can complete the race without making a pit stop for fuel.
Lap 46, Brad Keselowski has the lead but is getting a challenge form Kyle Busch. Lap 46 Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski swap the lead.
Some of the drivers come down pit road for fuel.
Erik Jones passed his pit stall and had to back up before the team could service the car.
With all the pit stops, William Byron takes the lead on lap 48 with Kyle Larson in second; Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.
Lap 50, 25 to go, William Byron has the lead.
Working to save fuel, William Byron gives up the lead; Chase Elliott is the new leader with Alex Bowman in second; Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.
Lap 56, Chase Elliott is in the lead; Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.
Lap 57, Alex Bowman is the new leader with Joey Logano in second; Chase Elliott drops to third.
Only 17 laps remain in the race, drivers are beginning to make their moves.
Lap 61, Joey Logano leads the pack of fuel saving drivers with Austin Dillon in second. The drivers who have stopped for fuel are coming on fast and strong.
Lap 63, all 18 drivers are in a single line with Joey Logano leading the way.
Lap 63, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano swap the lead with Logano leading the inside lane and Dillon leading the outside lane.
Lap 64, Joey Logano retakes the lead. With Brad Keselowski in second.
Ten to go, the top five are Joey Logano and half the field swapping places every few feet.
Lap 66 a big crash involving Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson,Keselowski have to take their cars to the garage and are out of the race.
With only three laps remaining in the race, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the restart of the race and another crash happens, this time involving most of the field. Only three of the car escaped any damage with nine cars on pit road getting repairs.
William Byron, Alex Bowman, and Martin Truex Jr are out of the race.
And in the first overtime race of the season, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag with Aric Almirola alongside. Aric Almiroa gets out in front as the two drivers swap the lead.
Denny Hamlin gets turned around with a flat tire and causes a second big crash including Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, and Kurt Busch.
For many drivers, they are driving their Daytona backup cars.
Joey Logano comes to pit road with a great deal of grass on his front end.
When the pace car picks up the field, there are only six cars moving on the track.
NASCAR has red flagged the race. Chase Elliott has a tire that looks flat.
Normally, teams are not allowed to touch the cars during red flag conditions, but that does not apply to The Clash and the six minute repair policy does not apply.
With eight cars on the track and six on the lead lap; Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson are on the front row for the second overtime attempt at finishing the race.
Austin Dillon has the lead when the green flag drops and then swaps the lead with Kyle Larson and another crash occurs causing a lot of damage to Chase Elliott’s car as Kyle Larson spins out. Chase Elliott is out of the race, but Kyle Larson is back on the track.
With two overtimes…so far…it has become the longest Busch Clash at 84 laps.
Austin Dillon leads what’s left of the field to the third overtime start with Ryan Newman alongside on the front row. Austin Dillon is the only driver that does not have a damaged car.
Coming from the inside lane, Erik Jones takes the lead.
Ryan Newman takes the white flag.
Coming from third place with a badly damaged car, Erik Jones wins the race with a little help from team mate Denny Hamlin.
This is the ninth Busch Clash win for car owner Coach Joe Gibbs to give him the most wins of any owner.
The Clash results:
Martin Truex Jr
feature photo credit: By NASCAR – https://twitter.com/a_s12/status/1207344810069315584?s=21, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85021724