Feb
17

Hoping the Clash's old name brings back old success

Racing

A tradition that began way back in 1979, known then as the Busch Clash, has been renewed this year, returning to the ‘Clash’ name for the first time since 1997. There’s no doubt a lot has changed since the first Clash almost forty years ago, but it’s amazing how much has changed since Jimmie Johnson’s lone win in the event in 2005, then known as the Budweiser Shootout.

Here’s the finishing results from that night – take a look and see how many drivers you can count who are still with the same team or sponsor:

Finish

Driver

#

Sponsor

Team

Manufacturer

1

Jimmie Johnson

#48

Lowe’s

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

2

Ryan Newman

#12

Alltel

Penske Racing South

Dodge

3

Jeff Gordon

#24

DuPont

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

4

Tony Stewart

#20

The Home Depot

Joe Gibbs Racing

Chevrolet

5

Greg Biffle

#16

National Guard

Roush Racing

Ford

6

Kurt Busch

#97

Crown Royal

Roush Racing

Ford

7

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

#8

Budweiser

Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Chevrolet

8

Mark Martin

#6

Kraft

Roush Racing

Ford

9

Kasey Kahne

#9

Dodge Dealers/ UAW

Evernham Motorsports

Dodge

10

Bobby Labonte

#18

Interstate Batteries

Joe Gibbs Racing

Chevrolet

11

Joe Nemechek

#01

U.S. Army

MB2 Motorsports

Chevrolet

12

Ricky Rudd

#21

Motorcraft

Wood Brothers Racing

Ford

13

Casey Mears

#41

Target

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dodge

14

Rusty Wallace

#2

Miller Lite

Penske Racing South

Dodge

15

Dale Jarrett

#88

UPS

Robert Yates Racing

Ford

16

Ken Schrader

#49

Schwan’s Home Service

BAM Racing

Dodge

17

Bill Elliott

#39

Coors

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dodge

18

Jeremy Mayfield

#19

Dodge Dealers/UAW

Evernham Motorsports

Dodge

19

Brian Vickers

#25

GMAC

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

20

Geoff Bodine

#93

Global Industrial Cont.

Mixon Motorsports

Chevrolet

If you counted more than one, you are incorrect. There is but one driver, still driving the same car, for the same team and with the same sponsor – and that’s Jimmie Johnson. But that is about the only thing that has remained unchanged.

Of the 20 drivers above, only five will be driving a Cup car in 2017. Notable drivers who have since officially retired include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, and Bill Elliott.

His victory in the 2005 Bud Shootout was Johnson’s first ever restrictor plate win of any kind – he has since won two Daytona 500’s, one July race at Daytona, two Daytona Duel’s, and two Talladega races.

Going into the 2005 season, he had 14 victories and no championships to his credit…now he has 80 wins and 7 championships.

In the offseason before 2004 and 2005, George Bush was sworn into his second term in office, and Jimmie married his wife Chandra. The Shootout was the Johnson’s first trip to victory lane with rings on their fingers.

Here are the exciting closing laps and victory lane interview from the ’05 Shootout, where Jimmie said, “If they went down through the grass, I was gonna go there, because I wasn’t looking out of the windshield, it was all in the mirror,” when talking about how hard he had to block his charging rivals.


Johnson has gone on to unrivalled success since then. So much so that he is the only driver who is eligible for this year’s Clash via all the possible roads in: 2016 Pole Winner (Loudon), former Daytona 500 Pole Sitter (2002 & 2008), former Clash winner (2005), and 2016 Chase competitor.

Unfortunately, he has not found the same success in the non-points event the week before the Daytona 500. The first three years after his '05 win yielded three top five’s, followed by eight tumultuous years that included six crashes – including the last five straight.

It’s been so long since Jimmie won the Clash, that the last time he did, Dale Jr. was driving the No. 8 for Dale Earnhardt Inc., which was the powerhouse team at plate races. Can JJ break the curse of crashes and grab his long-overdue second win in the Clash at Daytona? Tune in Saturday at 8 PM ET on FS1 to cheer him on!