Menard To Start On Pole For Clash At Daytona

Paul Menard will start from the pole in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Int'l Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Paul Menard will roll off from the pole for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona Int’l Speedway, as he looks to deliver Wood Brothers Racing its first win as a team in the annual non-points exhibition event.

Menard’s crew chief, Greg Erwin, drew the No. 1 pill during a blind draw for starting position held on Saturday evening at the World Center of Racing.

The 38-year-old Eau Claire, Wis., native has participated in four prior Clash events, with a best finish of third in his most recent start in 2016. That year, Menard drove the No. 27 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, and this time he’ll pilot the iconic No. 21 Ford Mustang.

Former Clash winner Kyle Busch will line up alongside Menard on the front row for Sunday afternoon’s 75-lap event. Busch previously won the event in 2012, with a last-lap pass of Tony Stewart.

Defending event winner Brad Keselowski starts third, followed by Ryan Newman and Alex Bowman.

Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin – who are each three-time Clash winners – ended up sixth and 17th, respectively, after the qualifying draw.

However, both Hamlin and Chase Elliott (16th) will have to drop to the rear of the field before the start on Sunday after a practice crash relegated both of them to backup cars.

This year’s Clash field is comprised of Busch Pole Award winners from the previous season, as well as former Clash winners, Daytona 500 winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2018 and any 2018 playoff drivers who didn’t qualify for the race by one of the other criteria.

All 20 eligible starters secured rides and will race in the Clash on Sunday, live at 3 p.m. on FS1.

The late Dale Earnhardt is the all-time Clash wins leader, with six victories (1980, ’86, ’88, ’91, ’93, ’95).