The last time NASCAR tried something different they covered Bristol Motor Speedway with dirt. Joey Logano promptly went out and won the first Cup race on dirt since 1971, much to the surprise of many.
Sunday, he surprised once again.
Logano took the lead from pole sitter Kyle Busch late in the going to win NASCAR’s Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The 150 lap non-points exhibition race was held for the first time in history somewhere other than Daytona International Speedway in the most unlikely of places, in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles in a stadium best known for football games. L.A. Memorial Coliseum, home to the USC Trojans, was transformed from grass to a 0.25-mile asphalt track.
“This is an amazing event,” Logano said. “Congratulations, NASCAR. Such a huge step in our industry to be able to do this, put on an amazing race for everybody. I’m out of breath. I was so excited about this. This is a big win.”
The racing started earlier in the day with 4 heat races with the top 4 finishers advancing to the Clash. The 23-car field was finally set by two last chance qualifiers.
After a prerace concert from Grammy award winner (and NASCAR team owner) Pitbull, Kyle Busch, who had scored the pole overall on Saturday and won his heat race, led the field for only a few laps before Tyler Reddick took control and led until lap 53 when he was sidelined by mechanical issues.
Busch led a race-high 64 laps and was leading as the field neared lap 75 when the field would be halted for a six-minute break at the halfway point.
Logano started fourth after winning his heat race and was stalking Busch, finally catching him and executing a bump and run to take the lead at the break. Logano and Busch dueled after the break, but Logano was able to hold off Busch lead a total of 35 laps and stretch out his lead in the closing laps to secure the win.
“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.”
Behind Busch, Austin Dillon was third, Erik Jones fourth and Kyle Larson fifth.
Sunday’s race also marked the competitive debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car. And while Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Denny Hamlin saw their days end with mechanical issues, overall, the race, and the new car were successful.
NASCAR will move to Daytona for the traditional start to the season, the Daytona 500 in two weeks.
NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, California
Sunday, February 6, 2022
- (4) Joey Logano, Ford, 150.
- (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 150.
- (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 150.
- (16) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 150.
- (8) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 150.
- (7) William Byron, Chevrolet, 150.
- (14) Cole Custer, Ford, 150.
- (11) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150.
- (21) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 150.
- (19) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 150.
- (15) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 150.
- (22) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 150.
- (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 150.
- (5) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 150.
- (23) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 149.
- (12) Michael McDowell, Ford, 149.
- (13) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 147.
- (20) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 146.
- (3) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, Accident, 116.
- (18) Ryan Preece, Ford, Oil Pressure, 75.
- (2) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Drivetrain, 53.
- (6) Chase Briscoe, Ford, Drivetrain, 53.
- (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Power Steering, 52.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 39.029 mph.
Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 57 Mins, 39 Secs. Margin of Victory: .877 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 0 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Reddick 1;K. Busch 2-3;T. Reddick 4-53;K. Busch 54-115;J. Logano 116-150.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch 2 times for 64 laps; Tyler Reddick 2 times for 51 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 35 laps.
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