|Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray last February at Daytona.|
Let's call it the Bud Shootout Unlimited Clash.
“The Clash is a nice way to kick off the season,” said 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. “It’s mostly just a fun race to knock the rust off and learn a little bit about the competition and who will be strong. We’ll be racing against all the fast guys in the Clash and that’s a good measuring stick for Speedweeks. Both the Clash and pole qualifying will give us a feel for our race package and to see where we stand against the competition.”
Truex is the new face of NASCAR. Sure, he's a bit vanilla, but he's the champ, the best. Kyle Busch can still pay the villain and stir the pot. Kyle Larson is going to be a champion someday. Denny Hamlin hopes to grab his first title soon while still having a sweet Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson, and his 83 career Cup wins, keeps calling himself grandpa among his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates who have zero wins in their career. Chase Elliott, one of those winless drivers, will be driving the No. 9 from now on, the same number his father drove to a Clash victory in 1987.
So while Cup stalwarts like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are no longer in the series, I think the sport is in good shape moving forward. Attendance shouldn't be the only measuring tool.
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