NASCAR Clash Preview - Ford Tops Favorite List, Odds, TV Schedule
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicks off Sunday evening with the running of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. The non-points race is the traditional opener for the NASCAR season with the ARCA Racing Series running its opener at the famed speedway on Saturday Afternoon. And, with the new season – not much has changed according to oddsmakers as Ford drivers are riding the top of the favored list!
Three Ford drivers are listed as the favorites heading into Sunday’s Clash and all three of them are Cup Series Champions. Brad Keselowski, 2012 Series Champion, rides the top of the list followed by teammate, and current Cup Series Champion, Joey Logano. The third Ford driver at the top is Kevin Harvick who captured his crown in 2014. In all, there are nine Ford’s in the twenty-car field.
Picking this year’s winner may be tricky as Ford drivers will be behind the wheel of a different car this season – more on that below. First, here’s the manufacturer break down, a complete list of eligible Clash drivers and odds courtesy of Intertops.
Odds for winning the Auto Zone Clash at Daytona
Brad Keselowski, Ford
Joey Logano, Ford
Kevin Harvick, Ford
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
Chase Elliott, Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, Ford
Aric Almirola, Ford
Kyle Busch, Toyota
Ryan Blaney, Ford
Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr, Toyota
Daniel Suarez, Ford
Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
Erik Jones, Toyota
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Ford
Paul Menard, Ford
Will Ford face the Chevrolet Question?
Last year Ford drivers won 19 points series races with Toyota following with 13 wins. Chevrolet trailed with only 4 wins during the season. Many pointed to the fact that Chevy teams made the switch from the discontinued Chevrolet SS to the Camaro LZ1 for the lack of wins. Apparently, the learning curve for Chevrolet teams and designers from one style to another took longer than anticipated.
Things seemed to pick up for Chevrolet as Chase Elliott won three times towards the end of the season with the fourth win coming this time last year when Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500.
Now, Ford has moved on from the Ford Fusion, which is sold as a family car in dealerships, to the legendary Mustang. The move was prompted by two factors. First, the Mustang is an obvious choice for a race-car and was already racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Secondly, like Chevrolet, Ford was discontinuing the Fusion. Only time will tell if Ford Racing and Blue Oval teams learned anything after watching Chevrolet struggles last season.
Why only Twenty Clash Drivers?
Think of the Clash as being like a Pre-Season All-Star Race. But, instead of the Dual qualifying races run every year prior to the NASCAR All-Star race, the drivers for the Clash are deemed eligible by certain factors. First, the driver had to have run a full season last year. Then it breaks down like this; being a 2018 Pole winner, a former Daytona 500 winner, a former Daytona 500 Pole winner and any 2018 Playoff drivers that did not fall into the other categories. Here’s how the 2019 Clash drivers made the field.
• 2018 Pole Winners: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez, and Martin Truex Jr. • Former Daytona 500 Champions: Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman • Former Daytona 500 Pole Winners: Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson • 2018 Playoff Drivers: Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski
Loaded with Past Cup Series Champions
The top-three favored drivers, as noted above, are all Cup Series Champions with Logano currently defending the crown. But if you plan on choosing a favorite based on who’s won the Cup then you’ve got several drivers to choose from starting with “seven-time” who is the driver of the No. 48 car.
Jimmie Johnson has won seven Cup Series Championships, with Logano, Keselowski, Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch all having one Championship each.
Wait, there’s a bunch of Xfinity Series Champions entered as well – some of which are Cup Series Champs. Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Truex, Keselowski, and Harvick all have won the Xfinity Title. Not to be left out, Erik Jones won the Truck Series Championship in 2015. Dillon did as well in 2011.
Daytona Clash Weekend On-Track Viewing Guide:
The NASCAR Cup Series and ARCA Racing Series, which is now part of the NASCAR family, run this weekend. The Gander Outdoors Truck Series and Xfinity Series are not on-track until after this weekend.
Saturday, February 9
• 10:30 AM, MENCS Clash practice, FS1/FOX Sports GO • 1:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice, FS1/FOX Sports GO • 3:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 final practice, FS1/FOX Sports GO • 4:45 p.m., ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire, FS1/FOX Sports Go
Sunday, February 10
• 2:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay Prerace, FS1/FOX Sports Go • 3:00 PM, MENCS Clash at Daytona, FS1/FOX Sports Go
Radio / Internet
• Live timing, scoring of ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire on Saturday via www.ARCAracing.com. • NASCAR coverage – MRN Radio / SiriusXM & local affiliates.