Kyle Busch claims top spot for NASCAR’s Clash at the Coliseum heat races

Kyle Busch could make history, albeit dubious, Sunday.

Busch set the fastest lap in single car qualifying runs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday night, claiming the top spot for Sunday’s opening heat race.

By setting the best lap at a time of 13.745 seconds, the No. 18 Toyota claimed the top spot in Heat 1 of 4 on Sunday for the race debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car.

Tyler Reddick earned the top spot for Heat 2 with a time of 13.761, which was second fastest in Saturday’s qualifying. Justin Haley will lead Heat 3 after posting a 13.891 Saturday and Joey Logano, fourth fastest Saturday with a best lap of 13.949 seconds, starts on the pole position for Heat 4.

Qualifying times set the lineup for each heat session — drivers 1, 5, 9, etc. are competing in Heat 1, drivers 2, 6, 10, etc. are competing in Heat 2 and so on.

Sunday’s heat races will feature four 25-lap races, followed by two last-chance qualifiers (LCQ’s) to set the field for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum main event at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.

Despite starting from the pole for the heat races, each driver will still have to race their way into the final race.

Reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson posted the eighth-fastest lap with a time of 13.957 seconds. Larson is currently the only driver with a guaranteed spot in the main event, because the final spot is reserved for the highest 2021 points finisher who has not already qualified.

The top four finishers in each heat race will automatically advance to the main event, totaling 16 drivers with a ticket to Sunday night’s feature. Drivers who do not advance from their qualifying race will be placed into one of two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) races. The top three from each LCQ advance to the Sunday feature.

The final spot in the 23-driver main event is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer on finishing position in the heat races or LCQ.

At the end of the day, if Kyle Busch doesn’t finish in the top 4 in his heat or in the LCQ, he could be a pole winner that doesn’t even start the race, unlikely, but still possible.

Qualifying Results and Heat Race Lineups


Greg Engle