Advance Auto Parts Clash, Can-Am Duel Revisiting Past Traditions; DAYTONA 500 to Debut New Format

16 Feb 2017
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Saturday night’s Advance Auto Parts Clash will return an iconic race name  – the Clash – to Daytona International Speedway’s NASCAR competition. Five days later on Feb. 23, the Can-Am Duel, the two 150-mile qualifying races for the DAYTONA 500, will also revisit a past tradition as for the first time since 1971 those races will award points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

These inventive nods to the past will be complemented by a bold, forward-thinking development regarding the 59th running of the DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 26. The 200-lap “Great American Race” will be divided into three stages – 60, 60 and 80 laps – with series championship points awarded to drivers and owners for each stage finish. The DAYTONA 500 will be the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup event using NASCAR’s new format that divides races into stages.

The Can-Am Duel won’t have stages but points will be awarded to the top-10 finishers in each race, “which adds even more intensity to a pair of races that are already intense and unpredictable,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “The original qualifying races that paid points from 1959-71 truly set the stage for those early years of the DAYTONA 500. Now that we’re back to awarding points, the fans are going to benefit in a big way. The racing is going to be more exciting and obviously more meaningful as part of a season-long championship points battle.”

The Advance Auto Parts Clash – a non-points event – debuted as the Busch Clash in 1979, with an all-star lineup consisting of pole winners from the previous NASCAR season. This year’s exclusive field features last year’s pole winners, former Clash champions, former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and drivers from the 2016 playoffs. The 75-lap/187.5-mile race will be split into two segments, separated by a mandatory caution period at Lap 25. The race will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 8 p.m. ET.

Stock cars hit the DIS high banks for the first time in 2017 on Thursday with practice for Saturday’s Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire, the season-opening race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

Venturni Motorsports teammates Noah Gregson (189.665 mph) and Tom Hessert (189.645) topped the speed charts in the two-hour session. Michael Lira of nearby Port Orange was 11th fastest (188.482) and Daytona Beach’s David LeBeau was 22nd fastest (187.821 mph)

On Saturday, Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire qualifying is set for 3:30 p.m., between Clash practice sessions scheduled for 5-5:55 p.m. and 6:30-7:25 p.m.

Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the Can-Am Duel, the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 26 and all other Speedweeks events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.

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Steven B. Wilson

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