Joey Logano Wins the Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum.
LOS ANGELES, CA – RIS – The exhibition race known as the Bush Clash usually was an appetite inducer for the Daytona 500. Not this year. NASCAR spent seven figures (at least) of their money, moved the race to not only Los Angeles, but the iconic LA Coliseum and built a beautiful quarter mile track to stage it. It brought west coast fans back into the fold and the racing was good. Joey Logano held off Kyle Busch over the Busch Light Clash's final 20 laps to win on the quarter-mile purpose-built track at the LA Coliseum.
“Such a huge step in our industry to be able to do this, put on an amazing race for everybody”, Logano said. “I’m out of breath. I was so excited about this. This is a big win. My wife is having a baby tomorrow, our third one, so a pretty big weekend for us.”
Busch was disappointed.
“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do – keep the tires underneath me,” Busch said. “When I got close, I was like, okay I’ve got to try more and pounce at an opportunity and just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps and that was it. Disappointing, obviously, come out here and win the pole, and lead laps, run up front. The finish goes green and it’s not chaotic and we can’t win, so it sucks. Congratulations to my son (Brexton Busch) – he won yesterday. That’s cool. I was trying to match him. He’s winning more than me these days, so somebody better send him a contract.”
NASCAR had not had a race on a quarter mile track since 1971, and the action was good. The race was done short track style with traditional qualifications and heat races to strength starting spots with the fastest cars getting better starting positions in the heat races.
Busch won the pole in heat racing and started first with a never before raced car on a never before raced track. He was strong all day. It all came down to the final event. Tempers flared from time to time. The heat races were not anything to write home about to the final one. A carnage of twisted steel came out of it. Ty Dillon won the heat race but was disqualified when he jumped the final two restarts. That allowed the Wood Brother’s rookie driver, Harrison Burton to get the final spot in the race.
After Logano, Austin Dillon, Eric Jones, and Kyle Larson made up the top five. Positions 6-10 were William Byron, Cole Custer, Christopher Bel, A.J. Allmendinger, and Kevin Harvick.
Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe all had to quit the main event because their cars had mechanical failures. Those failures were to be expected. Since these cars hadn't been run outside of a test session, there were bound to be gremlins pop up during the race. More will inevitably appear over the first few weekends of the season.
All 36 charter teams from the Cup Series participated in the race weekend but just 23 of those teams raced in the main event on Sunday night. The field was whittled by 13 on Sunday afternoon through four heat races and two last-chance qualifiers.
Drivers that missed out on the main event included Brad Keselowski in his first race for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola. The top four drivers from each of the four heat races made the field while the top three drivers from the two last-chance qualifiers also qualified. Martin Truex Jr. took the provisional given to the highest driver in the points who hadn't qualified via a heat race after Larson secured his spot in the Clash.
It was a great day for Logano, and even greater when he announced he would be a new father no later than Monday. He was going to hurry home.
Logano had had a habit of winning specialty races. Last season, he won the Cup Series’ first race on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Rookie Austin Cindric fell short but was in good company: NASCAR champions Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch were among the drivers who didn't make it out of the heats.
"We're supposed to be in the A-Main, and we're not," Busch lamented after he was crashed out of his heat.
Racing resumes at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 on February 20th.
Race Results for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, February 6, 2022 - 0.25 - Mile Paved
Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, Status, Tms Led, Laps Led
1) 4, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 150, Running, 1, 35
2) 1, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, 150, Running, 2, 64
3) 10, Austin Dillon, No. 3 True Velocity Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
4) 16, Erik Jones, No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
5) 8, Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
6) 7, William Byron, No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
7) 14, Cole Custer, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 150, Running, ,
8) 11, Christopher Bell, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota, 150, Running, ,
9) 21, AJ Allmendinger(i), No. 16 chevyliners.com Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
10) 19, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Light Ford, 150, Running, ,
11) 15, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
12) 22, Harrison Burton #, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 150, Running, ,
13) 9, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Food 4 Less Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
14) 5, Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet, 150, Running, ,
15) 23, Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 149, Running, ,
16) 12, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 149, Running, ,
17) 13, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford, 147, Running, ,
18) 20, Bubba Wallace, No. 23 DoorDash Toyota, 146, Running, ,
19) 3, Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, 116, Accident, ,
20) 18, Ryan Preece, No. 15 Jacob Companies Ford, 75, Oil Pressure, ,
21) 2, Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet, 53, Drivetrain, 2, 51
22) 6, Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 53, Drivetrain, ,
23) 17, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, 52, Power , ,
(#) Rookie, (i) ineligible for points in this series
Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 57 Mins, 39 Secs.
Race Length: 150 Laps, 37.5 Miles
Average Speed: 39.029 MPH
Margin of Victory: .877 Seconds
Comments: .Joey Logano has won the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Colisem at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, his second career victory in the annual non-points exhibition NASCAR Cup Series race.
Failed to Qualify: (13) 51 Cody Ware, 17 Chris Buescher, 1 Ross Chastain, 7 Corey LaJoie, 38 Todd Gilliland #, 10 Aric Almirola, 78 BJ McLeod, 6 Brad Keselowski, 2 Austin Cindric #, 77 Landon Cassill(i), 42 Ty Dillon, 45 Kurt Busch, 48 Alex Bowman.
Cautions: 5 for 0 laps; Laps: 53-53 (No. 47, 21 Incident Turn 4 ); 65-65 (No. 9 Spin Turn 2 ); 75-75 (Stage Conclusion ); 115-115 (No. 12 Slow On Track ); 116-116 (No. 5, 31 Incident Frontstretch ).
Lead Changes: 5 among 3 drivers; T. Reddick 1; K. Busch 2-3; T. Reddick 4-53; K. Busch 54-115; J. Logano 116-150.
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.