Craig Murto

Craig Murto

The Super Bowl is over, and for race fans that means it’s time for NASCAR to return to the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway.

The Advance Auto Parts Clash will run on Sunday. The 75-lap race is for pole award winners in 2018, full-time racers who have won the Clash in the past or a Daytona pole, and drivers who made the 2018 playoffs. In all, 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers will compete in the Clash on Sunday following qualifying for the 61st Daytona 500.

Kurt Busch will drive the No. 1 in the Clash for Chip Ganassi Racing. Brad Keselowski drives the 2 for Team Penske. In the 3 is Austin Dillon for his grandfather’s team, Richard Childress Racing. Kevin Harvick steers the 4 out of the Stewart-Haas Racing stable, and Ryan Newman makes his first start in the 6 for Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, will be behind the wheel of the 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Aric Almirola hopes to start the season strong in the 10 for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Denny Hamlin’s 11 out of Joe Gibbs Racing’s shops will compete, as will Ryan Blaney, driving the 12 for Team Penske.

Clint Bowyer in the 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing is eligible for the Clash, as is Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18. Martin Truex Jr. also drives for Joe Gibbs in 2019, behind the wheel of the 19. Gibbs teammate Erik Jones will steer the 20.

Paul Menard returns behind the wheel of the 21 for legendary Virginia team Wood Bros. Racing, and defending Cup champion Joey Logano drives the 22 for Team Penske. Jamie McMurray will drive the 40 car for Chip Ganassi Racing. This may be his final Clash appearance, as he is expected to compete at Daytona and then take on a management role with the team.

Daniel Suarez makes his first appearance in the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing, and Kyle Larson pilots the 42 for Chip Ganassi. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson (48) and Alex Bowman (88) round out the 20 drivers who will compete in Sunday’s Clash.

It’s hard to pick a favorite at Daytona, but expect the racing to be as close as it was last year as the Daytona package really hasn’t changed. But watch for the Stewart-Haas cars to be strong, and for Suarez to come out of the gate with something to prove after being dismissed by Joe Gibbs Racing.

The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) starts its season at Daytona on Saturday. Check your TV listings and set your DVR, as the ARCA race is always one of the most exciting.

Exciting describes the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the 12-hour GT race held last weekend on Australia’s premier circuit on Mount Panorama. The final 20 minutes were absolutely incredible, aided by a late-race full-course caution that bunched up the cars on the lead lap.

Matt Campbell was behind the wheel of the winning Porsche and made an incredible pass for the lead with only minutes to go in the race. The 23-year-old is a rising star in Australia’s Supercar Series, and proved to be able to handle himself in a GT car. He shared driving duties with Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner.

The race streamed live on YouTube and was live on Facebook, posted by the Supercar page. A lot of motorsports can be found on the Internet. A good place to start to find live racing is the Fanschoice.tv web page, which shows everything from live Flat Track motorcycle racing to live local NASCAR racing.

The Monster Energy Supercross riders were in competition in San Diego last week and, as has happened once already this year, the skies opened up. Race conditions were horrible. The track was so muddy that TV commentators could barely walk out onto its surface to show viewers the conditions.

The racing was almost painful to watch because it was so slow and treacherous for the riders in the deep mud. But that is one of the unique aspects of the sport, taking the conditions for what they are.

The best in mud turned out to be Kawasaki riders Adam Cianciarulo in the 250 West class and Eli Tomac on his 450. Supercross heads to Minneapolis on Saturday night, and the races will be live on NBC Sports Network.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.