BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 26:  Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Roush Performance Ford, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 26, 2016 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Greg Biffle joins NASCAR America as an analyst

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Greg Biffle announced Friday on Twitter that he’s decided “not to participate full time in NASCAR this season” but remained open to racing.

Biffle also tweeted that he will serve as a reoccurring guest analyst on NASCAR America on NBCSN. His first scheduled appearance on the NASCAR show will be March 1.

In a series of tweets, Biffle stated “if the right opportunity arises, I may return to the driver’s seat.”

Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing parted ways after last season, ending a union that saw the driver win titles in what is now the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series and score 19 Cup victories.

Biffle finished a career-high second in the points in 2005. He placed third in the points in 2008 and fifth in the points in 2012. His 19 career victories put him 41st on the all-time wins list, tied with Davey Allison, Buddy Baker and Fonty Flock.

Biffle joins an analyst crew for NASCAR America that includes Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte, Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman.

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Entry list and what you need to know about Saturday’s NASCAR Clash

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After a long winter and off-season, NASCAR racing gets heated up in Saturday’s 39th annual Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

The green flag for the 17 drivers entered in the non-points race will drop just after 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. The race will be broadcast on TV on Fox Sports 1 and on radio on both the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The defending winner of the Clash – as well as last year’s Daytona 500 – is Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry.

The race will cover 75 laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway for a total of 187.5 miles. There will be two segments: the first will be 25 laps, followed by a competition caution, and then will resume with a 50-lap final segment.

Drivers in the field qualified for the race via several ways: Pole-sitters from last year’s 36 Cup races, former Clash winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and all drivers who qualified for the 2016 playoffs.

Four drivers that were eligible for the Clash will not be in the field: Greg Biffle (does not have a ride for 2017), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (will be replaced by Alex Bowman), Carl Edwards (not racing in 2017, will be replaced by Daniel Suarez) and the retired Tony Stewart.

The starting grid will be determined by a draw, most likely by crew chiefs, as has been the case in recent years of the Clash.

Click here for the entry list of the 17 drivers in the Clash.

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Daniel Suarez eligible to compete in the Clash at Daytona

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 15:  Daniel Suarez, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, looks on prior to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 15, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

NASCAR has confirmed that Daniel Suarez is eligible to compete in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.

Suarez is the replacement for Carl Edwards in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19. He is eligible for the 75-lap exhibition race due to NASCAR citing the unique situation of JGR having prepared a car with sponsorship prior to Edwards’ surprise departure from the sport.

Edwards had qualified for the race through his career best six poles in 2016.

Clint Bowyer, who is replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14, is not eligible for the event due to Stewart-Haas Racing knowing about Stewart’s retirement ahead of time and not preparing a car.

In December, Hendrick Motorsports announced Alex Bowman would drive the No. 88 in the Clash after he won the pole for the fall race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Greg Biffle is eligible for the event, but does not have a ride announced for 2017.

Drivers can become eligible for the Clash in four ways:

Winning a pole the previous season, being a previous Clash winner, being a past Daytona 500 pole-winner and qualifying for the previous season’s Chase.

Here are the drivers eligible for this year’s Clash.

2016 Coors Light Pole Awards winners (14)
Greg Biffle, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards (Daniel Suarez), Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.

Former Clash Race Winners (2)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart (retired)

Former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners (1)
Danica Patrick

2016 Chase drivers (3)
Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray

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Ford executive encouraged by changes at Roush Fenway Racing

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 12: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Roush Performance Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

CONCORD, N.C. — The Global Director of Ford Performance says he’s optimistic Roush Fenway Racing will be more competitive this season because of leadership changes that “embrace becoming more of an engineering-led organization.’’

Roush Fenway Racing has been shut out of NASCAR’s playoffs each of the past two seasons and last won a race in 2014.

Ford’s Dave Pericak said Wednesday at the Ford Performance Technical Center that Roush Fenway Racing is in a better position to take advantage of Ford’s technical support after offseason changes.

“I think Roush has made all of the right, now, decisions and changes within their organization to truly embrace becoming more of an engineering-led organization and putting the technology into these cars as opposed to just bolting some stuff together and going out on the racetrack,’’ Pericak told NBC Sports.

“I think there has been a huge acknowledgement on their side that there has to be a shift within their own organization, a shift within their leadership. We’ve helped them on a technical side of things to get their equipment up to speed. I’m optimistic that this year you’re going to see all of that coming together and you should see better performance out of that Roush organization.’’

Roush Fenway Racing opens the season with new personnel in executive levels. The team announced in late November that Kevin Kidd, who had been the organization’s Cup team manager, would become the competition director, and Tommy Wheeler, who oversaw the production of the organization’s Cup and Xfinity cars, would be the team’s operations director. The team also announced that Robbie Reiser, who had been general manager, was being reassigned.

The organization also is smaller this season. Roush downsized to a two-car operation with the departure of Greg Biffle. The team will have Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne as drivers and loaned Chris Buescher to JTG Daugherty, a Chevrolet team, because there wasn’t a proper place to put him with a Ford team this year.

Stenhouse showed signs of progress early last season, climbing to 13th the points after the season’s fifth race before finishing the year 21st. Bayne placed 22nd and Biffle 23rd. The three drivers combined for zero wins, seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.

The top-five and top-10 results were an increase from the 2015 season. Roush’s drivers combined for four top fives and nine top 10s that season.

Roush is one of two Ford teams downsizing this year. Richard Petty Motorsports will field one entry this year instead of two. Pericak said such moves could help both teams.

“The downsizing that you’ve seen is a way for us to re-focus those teams and get back to the fundamentals and get them back on the right path,” Pericak said. “You don’t want to have so much going on that you can’t focus in areas that you need to focus and fix what you need.’’

Something else that could help Roush and RPM is the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to the Ford camp. The move gives Ford two top-tier teams in SHR and Team Penske. Some of the information gleaned by those teams can be shared.

“I think when you look at that, it’s a very positive thing to bring that level of competition to your group, everyone is going to benefit from that,’’ Pericak said. “And the other thing we’ve been working strongly on is that one Ford approach, sharing where sharing makes sense.’’

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Clash at Daytona has new name

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 SKF Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The season-opening exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway will be known as the Advance Auto Parts Clash with the auto parts company sponsoring the 75-lap event that begins the season.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is set for Feb. 18 on Fox Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The race will be divided into two segments with a competition caution at lap 25.

Only drivers who were 2016 pole winners, former event winners, former Daytona 500 winners who competed full-time in 2016 and drivers who qualified for the 2016 playoffs are eligible.

Drivers eligible for the event are:

Greg Biffle

Alex Bowman

Chris Buescher

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

Austin Dillon

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chase Elliott

Denny Hamlin

Kevin Harvick

Jimmie Johnson

Matt Kenseth

Brad Keselowski

Kyle Larson

Joey Logano

Jamie McMurray

Danica Patrick

Martin Truex Jr.

Carl Edwards

Tony Stewart

  • Edwards and Stewart will not compete in the event