Brad Keselowski won Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway with a dominating last-to-first run over the course of the 75-lap event.
The Advance Auto Parts Clash (run in segments of 25 and 50 laps), a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series non-points, invitation-only battle, is always a highlight of Speedweeks. The 17-driver field featured 2017 pole winners, former Clash champions, former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2017 and drivers who qualified for the 2017 Monster Energy Series playoffs.
Keselowski, in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, was followed by his Team Penske teammate and 2015 Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford), with last year’s Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford) finishing third. The top three escaped from a last-lap, Turn 3 incident that involved several cars.
Keselowski – a former Monster Energy Series champion – led 41 laps in securing only his second victory at Daytona International Speedway and his first during a Speedweeks. His only previous DIS victory came in the 2016 Coca-Cola 400.
Last year, Keselowski started first in the Clash via the annual blind draw format, but finished sixth. “This year we got last [in the draw]so we said this will be the year we win it and sure enough, here we are,” he said. “It’s a great way to start the season. I hope I can repeat this in seven days in the Daytona 500.”
Sunday marked the return of an old-school Speedweeks scheduling tradition, as Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger and the Advance Auto Parts Clash combined for an afternoon doubleheader. Prior to the Clash, Alex Bowman won the pole for the 60th annual 500 set for Sunday, Feb. 18, with a lap of 195.644 mph in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
Bowman is in his first fulltime year with Hendrick Motorsports in the car formerly driven by the newly retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. Previously, Bowman drove the No. 88 in 2016 as a substitute for Earnhardt, who was injured that season.
Bowman gave Hendrick Motorsports its 20th Daytona 500 pole – and its fourth consecutive. That allowed team owner Rick Hendrick to tie the record for most consecutive poles also held by Harry Rainer (1979-82, with drivers Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison and Benny Parsons).