NASCAR: Why Ty Dillon, Not Bubba Wallace, is Driving For Michael Jordan’s 23Xi in Preseason Clash

by Emily Morgan

Get pumped NASCAR fans, we’ve got more details about who will be driving in the upcoming Clash race set to air on Tuesday.

Although many fans think that the Daytona 500 opens the NASCAR Cup Series season on Feb. 14, it’s actually the Clash.

On Wednesday, team officials for 23XI Racing confirmed that part-time NASCAR driver Ty Dillon would drive the team’s No. 23 Toyota during next week’s preliminary event at Daytona International Speedway’s road course.

The event will mark the debut of Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s new team, 23XI Racing. On Wednesday, the team announced that they would have a driver in the preseason race on Daytona’s iconic road course.

However, fans were thrown for a loop when they announced that instead of Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon would be behind the wheel.

In October of 2020, Dillon won one race stage during the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. With the addition of the updated qualifying criteria, Dillon was given the option to compete.

Bubba Wallace was not among the 24 eligible drivers to compete in Tuesday’s race.

Ty Dillon To Replace Bubba Wallace In NASCAR Opener

Dillon left his former team, Germain Racing, after the 2020 season. This year, he hopes to qualify for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 with a new crew, Gaunt Brothers Racing.

Dillon will also compete in a handful of races in the second-tier Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

23XI Racing is in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, which gives us a clue as to how Dillon got behind the wheel.

The alliance could also help 23XI Racing prepare for the second in-season race, which also goes down on Daytona’s course.

Officially dubbed the “Busch Clash At Daytona,” the Clash acts as a preseason-opening event to kick off the Daytona 500.

In recent years, NASCAR scheduled the Clash on the weekend before the big event. This year, it’s slated for Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Instead of being held on the 2.5-mile oval, the 35-lap race will take place on Daytona’s 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course.

The road course made its debut in August after NASCAR made scheduling changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.