Keselowski Dominates The Clash at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Brad Keselowski went from last to first Sunday at Daytona International Speedway to win the The Clash, the unofficial first race of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. The race includes past Clash winners, and you’d never know it by the publicity that it was sponsored by Advance Auto Parts. With the retirements of Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Danica Patrick, the field was made up of only 17 drivers.
Team Penske teammates Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano ran 1-3 late in the 75-lap, 17-driver event at the 2.5-mile restrictor-plate track. Blaney tried to make a race-winning move with one lap remaining but by breaking the draft without any help, he quickly dropped to sixth.
On the backstretch of the final lap, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson touched, sending Larson's car into the rear of Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet, starting a wreck that damaged nearly a third of the cars.
Logano finished second, followed by reigning Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch and Blaney, giving Ford a 1-4 finish. Ford swept the restrictor-plate races last year and appears to be ready to capture another Daytona 500 win next Sunday. That will get an argument from Chase Elliott, who looked strong in the early going, but seemed to have a handling problem the longer the race went.
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. finished 14th in The Clash, which is held annually for full-time drivers who won a pole last season, made the playoffs last year or are former Daytona 500 pole-winners.
While Keselowski captured his first Clash win, only six times in the 38-year history of the race has the winner gone on to win the Daytona 500.
Unofficial Race Results for the The 40Th Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash
Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, Status, Tms, Laps, Playoff Pts
1) 17, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, 75, RUNNING, 2, 43, 0
2) 3, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 75, RUNNING, 1, 1, 0
3) 14, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford, 75, RUNNING, , , 0
4) 15, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Peak Ford, 75, RUNNING, , , 0
5) 1, Austin Dillon, No. 3 DOW Chevrolet, 75, RUNNING, 2, 3, 0
6) 2, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, 75, RUNNING, 1, 8, 0
7) 13, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, 75, RUNNING, , , 0
8) 4, Erik Jones, No. 20 Circle K Toyota, 75, RUNNING, , , 0
9) 9, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 75, RUNNING, 1, 2, 0
10) 10, Kyle Larson, No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 75, RUNNING, 2, 2, 0
11) 11, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet, 75, RUNNING, , , 0
12) 5, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 74, RUNNING, , , 0
13) 12, Chase Elliott, No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet, 74, RUNNING, 3, 17, 0
14) 6, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 74, RUNNING, , , 0
15) 7, Kasey Kahne, No. 95 Procore Chevrolet, 74, RUNNING, , , 0
16) 8, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 73, RUNNING, , , 0
17) 16, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet, 43, Accident, , , 0
Total Race Length - 75 Laps - 187.5 Miles
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 06 Mins, 19 Secs. Average Speed: 169.641 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.102 Seconds
Race Comments: Brad Keselowski won the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, his first victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening exhibition event. Prior to the start of the race, no cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty.
Caution Flags: 3 for 8 laps: Laps: 27-29 (25 Lap Segment Conclusion [None]); 35-38 (#1, 41 Incident Turn 4 [None]); 77-77 ( [None]).
Lead Changes: 11 among 7 drivers: A. Dillon 1; D. Hamlin 2-9; C. Elliott 10-14; A. Dillon 15-16; C. Elliott 17-23; J. Logano 24; K. Larson 25; K. Harvick 26-27; B. Keselowski 28-33; C. Elliott 34-38; B. Keselowski 39-75; K. Larson 76
Ron Fleshman with John Davison
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.