NASCAR: 2021 Busch Clash at Daytona preview and value picks
The 43rd annual Busch Clash at Daytona is set for Tuesday night (7 p.m., FS1) at Florida’s legendary Daytona International Speedway. In a unique twist, this exhibition event will be held on the 14-turn road course, and not the familiar 2.5-mile superspeedway that the Cup Series drivers will be competing on in next Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The Busch Clash will be a 35-lap race, with a competition caution scheduled for Lap 15. The field has not been set yet (random draw scheduled for Monday), but oddsmakers have understandably established defending 2020 Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott as the +175 favorite. The No. 9 Chevrolet driver has won five straight NASCAR events on road courses.
The Cup Series’ other preeminent road driver – Martin Truex Jr. – is the second-choice at an unappetizing +300. Let’s go looking for some value as we make our selections for the Busch Clash at Daytona.
Wed, February 10 2021, 12:00 AM
Truex Jr, Martin
NASCAR’s regular season champion – Kevin Harvick – had a streak of six straight Top 10 finishes in road races interrupted by a spin-out and a 17th-place result in the inaugural Cup Series event at the Daytona Road Course. Harvick has a chance to right that wrong in the Busch Clash at fair odds.
Harvick has two career victories on road courses (Sonoma 2017, Watkins Glen 2006) and is second only to Elliott in average finishing position (12.57). The No. 4 Ford driver is a respectable fifth among active Cup Series competitors in laps led on road courses as well.
Road courses have not been kind to Kyle Busch lately, but he’s worth a gamble at these odds on Tuesday night.
Busch has just one Top 5 result in his last six road races, but his career average finishing position is a solid 14.92. “Rowdy” has also led more laps on road courses than any active driver (364).
Busch has four career road event victories, the most recent of which came at Sonoma in 2015.
Elliott (five wins) and Truex (two wins) have dominated the last eight road races in the Cup Series, but Ryan Blaney did manage a victory in that span.
He was the beneficiary of the infamous Truex/Jimmie Johnson chicane wreck at the Charlotte Roval in September of 2018, but he wasn’t just lucky that day. Blaney won Stage 2 and led 16 laps in that heat.
The No. 12 Ford driver has five Top 10s in his last six road races, and has the third-highest average finishing position (13.17) of any active driver on road courses.