NASCAR expands field for Clash; announces format and eligibility

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, and Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

NASCAR has released the official entry blank for the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum which will happen on Feb. 5, 2023.

The entry blank includes the eligibility and format for the season-opening non-points event.

The main event of the exhibition race held inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum expands for the Feb. 5 race as the field will increase to 27 cars, bumped up from 23 in last year’s inaugural running.

Eligibility for the one-of-a-kind stadium race includes all 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Charter team owners and associated Cup drivers. 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Open team owners and associated Cup drivers are eligible to enter and compete for the four additional starting positions in this year’s field.

The format of this year’s Clash at the Coliseum is largely unchanged. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the field will be split into three groups for practice, with each group receiving three sessions to dial in their cars.

Following practice, single-round and single-car qualifying will begin to set the starting lineups of Sunday’s heat races — four 25-lap contests in which only green-flag laps will count. In qualifying, each driver gets three laps — one warm-up lap and two timed circuits. Teams will go out for qualifying based on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series owner points standings from lowest to highest. If there are more than 40 entries to this event, the fastest four open teams will transfer into the heat races.

Saturday’s fastest qualifier will earn the pole position in Heat 1, with the second-fastest qualifier earning pole for Heat 2; third-fastest on pole for Heat 3; and fourth-fastest on pole for Heat 4, etc.

The heat races will determine both the field for the main event, alongside the starting lineup. The top five finishers in each heat race will automatically advance to the main event, setting the top 20 starting positions (specifics in the chart below).

Drivers who finish their heat races outside the top five will fight to advance into the main event through the Last Chance Qualifiers, two 50-lap dashes to officially set the Clash field. The first LCQ will feature those who finished sixth-10th in Heats 1 and 3; the second LCQ hosts those who finished sixth-10th in Heats 2 and 4. The top three drivers in each LCQ will advance and compete in the Clash.

The 27th and final spot in the field is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2022 season points standings and who did not already earn a starting position in the Clash. That means Joey Logano, last year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum winner and the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is locked into the field.

Below is a breakdown of how the grid will be set for the 150-lap feature:

Position Criteria
1 Heat 1 winner
2 Heat 2 winner
3 Heat 3 winner
4 Heat 4 winner
5 Heat 1 second place
6 Heat 2 second place
7 Heat 3 second place
8 Heat 4 second place
9 Heat 1 third place
10 Heat 2 third place
11 Heat 3 third place
12 Heat 4 third place
13 Heat 1 fourth place
14 Heat 2 fourth place
15 Heat 3 fourth place
16 Heat 4 fourth place
17 Heat 1 fifth place
18 Heat 2 fifth place
19 Heat 3 fifth place
20 Heat 4 fifth place
21 LCQ 1 winner
22 LCQ 2 winner
23 LCQ 1 second place
24 LCQ 2 second place
25 LCQ 1 third place
26 LCQ 2 third place
27 2022 points provisional