During his weekly “Happy Hours” program Monday on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR Channel, the 2014 series champion laid out his vision how NASCAR could change the event.
“The Clash is one of those things that I think we could probably eliminate as we go forward and look at the new schedule,” the driver of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing said. “The reason I say that is you’re trying to bring a lot of guys into the race.
“Originally when The Clash was brought about, it was about the pole winners and past winners of that particular race. They had a lot of guys that weren’t pole winners. And you have guys in the playoffs that were in the race.”
The inaugural Clash in 1979 featured a nine-driver field. As eligibility was expanded beyond pole winners and previous winner of the event, the field grew. There were 20 cars in the 2019 Clash, which peaked at 28 entries for the 2009 race (which was based on manufacturers).
Harvick suggested taking the two drivers with the most poles and giving them spots in the All-Star Race.
“To me, it would be good to combine with the All-Star Race,” he said. “Maybe you take two positions in the All-Star Race because you’re always on the edge of, ‘Is that enough cars? Is that not enough cars?’ But take The Clash away. Make it a points race. Or make it one of the weekends we take off the schedule.”
NASCAR is in the midst of a reported overhaul of the 2020 schedule.
Harvick also cited another advantage for dumping the Clash, which resulted in nearly two dozen cars being wrecked over practice and the race the past two days.
#NASCAR … 4 cars involved in a crash in Cup practice Saturday
17 cars in a crash in Sunday's Clash
That's 21 cars involved in crashes in first two days of Speedweeks
— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) February 11, 2019
“As we talk about money and saving team owners money, Joe Gibbs wrecked five cars,” said Harvick, who crashed in practice and the race. “Three hundred thousand dollars a car adds up pretty quick.”
.@KevinHarvick looked back on the first weekend of action in Daytona and told @MattYocum on #HappyHours that he thinks we can eliminate #TheClash moving forward #NASCAR #DAYTONA500 @KHIManagement pic.twitter.com/fsgKTEimU0
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) February 11, 2019