This past Wednesday, Daytona International Speedway and Anheuser-Busch announced that Busch Beer is slated to return as the title sponsor for the Clash at Daytona the week before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway beginning with the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
The 75-lap Busch Clash is scheduled to take get underway at 3:00 p.m. ET and is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Here is what Daytona International Speedway track president Chip Wile had to say about this new agreement, according to NASCAR.
âBusch Beer will forever be linked to the history of The Clash and we are thrilled to welcome them back as we collectively drive excitement for the start of the 2020 season. Our brand-loyal fans have been awaiting Buschâs return to The Clash for years and we expect this will rekindle memories and help set the stage for the next generation of NASCAR fans.â
At the end of the day, a title sponsorship contract is a title sponsorship contract. Depending on the event or series, some title sponsorship contracts naturally mean more than others, but they all serve the exact same purpose.
But this deal is more than that; this is a momentous occasion for Busch and a deep tie to NASCARâs past, and it doesnât take much to see why this is a big deal on many levels.
The brewing company has been involved in NASCAR for more than four decades, starting in 1978 when the Busch Pole Award was introduced.
The following year marked the first year of the Busch Clash, which has become a fan-favorite event over its four-plus decades leading up to the Daytona 500.
The Busch Clash continued through 1997 before the title sponsor of the event became Busch brand Budweiser through 2012. But since then, it has been sponsored by two other companies, former series title sponsor Sprint and Advance Auto Parts, more recently the latter from 2017 to 2019.
Now itâs back, and it is just one of a number of recent efforts of NASCAR to tie back to its roots.
For a sport that still thrives primarily on a fanbase deeply rooted in the past, the Busch Clash is just another reason to be optimistic for a brighter future.
While it is important to understand that we are not capable of turning back the clock, that nobody in NASCAR is either and that many of NASCARâs new changes (playoffs, stage racing, etc.) are here to stay, NASCAR has gone to extra outside-the-box lengths to keep the fans happy as it pertains to its deep roots.
One example is throwback race weekend, which has been held at Darlington Raceway over the last couple of years. This has been one of the most popular weekends in NASCAR, even amid the sportâs recent decline. The throwback schemes that make up much of the field tie the sportâs modern-day cars, sponsors and drivers to the sportâs deep past.
Of course, there is still the desire to truly bring back the exact look of those old cars, but unfortunately due to sponsorship deals, that simply isnât possible.
But that whole idea only further illustrates that NASCAR is headed in the right direction with their new Cup Series sponsorship model.
The Busch Clash also happens to be directly tied to that, and that is no coincidence.
Monster Energy, which served as the seriesâ title sponsor from 2017 to 2019, offered NASCAR a deal in early 2019 to maintain its role as title sponsor. NASCAR rejected that offer and went full steam ahead on their new sponsorship model.
That new sponsorship model was introduced in early December.
Instead of a title sponsor, NASCAR introduced four Premier Partners, four companies that have had a long-standing relationship with the sport and/or already have lengthy deals in place to continue their association. Busch was confirmed one of these four Premier Partners, along with Coca-Cola, GEICO and Xfinity.
So while the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will continue to be called the same, the Cup Series is now simply known as the NASCAR Cup Series following a 49-year span of leasing its naming rights to one company.
It was known as the Winston Cup Series from 1971 to 2003, the Nextel Cup Series from 2004 to 2007 and the Sprint Cup Series from 2008 to 2016 prior to Monster Energyâs arrival in 2017.
Here is what Anheuser-Busch vice president of partnerships, beer category and community Nick Kelly had to add about not only his companyâs title sponsorship of the Busch Clash but about his company being named one of the four NASCAR Cup Series Premier Partners less than two weeks prior.
âBecoming a NASCAR Cup Series Premier Partner afforded us the opportunity to evolve our presence in the sport, and authentically connect our deep-rooted history in NASCAR to its future. Weâre looking forward to enjoying the Busch Clash with all the fans whoâve waited, and asked, for the return of the original race name.â
Having worked with Busch to share quite a few of their promotions and competitions tied to their primary sponsorship of Kevin Harvickâs #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and having interviewed Harvick himself to discuss his long-time relationship with Busch, there is no doubt that there is no company more dedicated to NASCAR. At Busch, NASCAR is second to none, except maybe beer.
Itâs no secret that many old school fans still long for the return to the Winston Cup days. But as stated, thatâs simply not happening, and even the return of the âWinston Cup Seriesâ wouldnât change anything than the series name.
Yet by completely turning the page to move toward the future, NASCAR, again, still managed to take a page out of its deep past by naming Busch as a part of the new sponsorship model, and as indicated by the companyâs return as the title sponsor of the Clash, this future should be a bright one.
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The return of the Busch Clash is more than just a title sponsorship deal for the NASCAR Cup Series to be high on. It marks a deep tie to the sportâs past that also signifies a bright future as a new era begins in 2020.