Nascar

Advance Auto Parts steps up to sponsor Clash exhibition at Daytona

Feb 13, 2016; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie Mcmurray (1) and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (42) lead a pack of cars during The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 13, 2016; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie Mcmurray (1) and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (42) lead a pack of cars during The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Advance Auto Parts will serve as the title sponsor for NASCAR's opening exhibition race of the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series season at Daytona International Speedway, the track announced Wednesday.

The Advance Auto Parts Clash will open the 2017 NASCAR season under the lights on the evening of Feb. 18, featuring an elite field of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in a 75-lap sprint that will be televised live on FS1.

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The annual all-star event was first held in 1979 and originally was known as the Busch Clash. A number of name changes ensued over the years, with the most recent being the Sprint Unlimited. But with Sprint leaving NASCAR as its title sponsor at the end of last season, Daytona had long been in search of a new sponsor to partner with even as it made it clear it also wanted to make a return to calling it the "Clash" once again.

Advance Auto Parts finally stepped up and agreed to what Sports Business Daily reported was a multi-year deal.

"The Clash was a classic race name, one that truly resonated with our fans," said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. "It evokes the rich history of both NASCAR and our facility. We are honored to have Advance Auto Parts -- a company that resonates with our current fans -- join us as we bring the name back to our Speedweeks schedule. We're coming full-circle for this event, honoring our past while also looking to the future."

In addition to the race entitlement, the track said in a statement that Advance Auto Parts will also serve as the Official Auto Parts Store of DIS.

"Advance Auto Parts is proud partner with Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2017 NASCAR season," said Advance Auto Parts Marketing and Sponsorships Manager Matt Davis. "Daytona is the birthplace of NASCAR and we couldn't be more excited to be the official auto parts of Daytona International Speedway and entitlement sponsor of the Advance Auto Parts Clash."

The 75-lap/187.5-mile race will be split into two segments, separated by a mandatory caution period at Lap 25. The race will be televised live on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET.

Recently crowned seven-time NASCAR Premier Series champion Jimmie Johnson will be part of the field that meets exclusive criteria: 2016 pole winners, former Clash champions, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and Chase playoff participants from 2016 are eligible.

The first official points race of the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season will follow Feb. 26 when the green flag flies for the Daytona 500, which will be televised live on FOX.