Examining the field at the 2020 Busch Clash

Profile Picture: Brandon Coppinger

February 6th, 2020

The 2020 NASCAR season kicks off Sunday, Feb. 9 with the Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway. This exhibition provides fans with a shortened race, in which drivers compete for pride and cash.

There are five factors that make a driver eligible for this race—a 2019 pole winner, former Clash winners, former Daytona 500 winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners, and drivers who qualified for the 2019 playoffs. The field will feature 18 drivers this year, and the starting order is determined by random draw.

The Busch Clash is one of the more challenging races to handicap. It’s a smaller field than we typically see, teams are somewhat new, and drivers' intentions can be all over the place. Every driver that competes will attempt to win, but some may use this race as a tune-up for next weekend’s Daytona 500.

Let’s break down this race down for each driver.

#1 Kurt Busch

He only has one winner at Daytona but will be in the mix Sunday. He always runs well on superspeedways.

#2 Brad Keselowski

He will have a strong Penske car but a new crew chief, and he runs better at Talladega than Daytona

#3 Austin Dillon

Dillon has won the Daytona 500 and has quality stats at Daytona, but is a play against.

#4 Kevin Harvick

He's a two-time winner at Daytona, including a Daytona 500, but recent races have not been kind to him. Harvick has had several DNFs and is a play against.

#6 Ryan Newman

Another former Daytona 500 winner, he somehow is always in the mix in superspeedway races, even though you never see him coming. We'll take a stand against him Sunday.

#9 Chase Elliott

He has terrible stats at Daytona, but this is a prove-it year for Elliott. He could have the fastest car in the race Sunday and should be considered.

#10 Aric Almirola

He's a Daytona night race winner and could be sneaky Sunday, but there are better options to pick from this field.

#11 Denny Hamlin

Hamlin is a two-time Daytona 500 winner. He should be considered one of the favorites, but how will he bounce back from Homestead? We’ll see, but he’s worthy of a look.

#12 Ryan Blaney

He'll have a fast Penske car, but his stats at Daytona are not good. Can he stay out of trouble and finish a race at Daytona strong?

#14 Clint Bowyer

He's had plenty of chances to win at Daytona but never does. Can he win at all anymore? Play against.

#18 Kyle Busch

Busch is a Daytona night race winner. We could see the 2019 champ using this event as a practice race for next Sunday. He desperately wants to add a Daytona 500 win to his résumé. We'll play against.

#19 Martin Truex Jr.

He's run a lot of races at Daytona and has several DNFs. We just don’t think he enjoys racing here.

#20 Erik Jones

Jones is a Daytona night race winner and comes into this race with good stats. However, the Toyota cars will be outnumbered. Will he get help when he needs it?

#22 Joey Logano

He will have a fast Penske car and deserves to be the favorite. Logano will be tough to beat if he stays out of trouble.

#24 William Byron

He should have a fast car, but is he ready to win? You’ll have to pay to find out.

#42 Kyle Larson

Larson has openly admitted he hates this kind of racing. We'll pass.

#48 Jimmie Johnson

Johnson is a three-time winner at Daytona and the defending Busch Clash winner. He has a shot, but is coming off a rough 2019 season by his standards. Can he turn the clock back? It’s possible.

#88 Alex Bowman

His stats at Daytona are rough. We're not sure he enjoys this kind of racing. Until shown otherwise, he’s a play against.  

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