NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Busch leads Busch Light Clash qualifying

3 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is officially a NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Saturday saw thirty-six drivers take to the temporary quarter-mile short track for practice and qualifying ahead of the Busch Light Clash on Sunday.

Living up to the race sponsor, Kyle Busch was the quickest in qualifying, though it does not guarantee he will start on the pole for the Clash as the starting grid is set by four heat races. Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley, and Joey Logano followed and will have the poles for their respective heats.

Qualifying order was set based on an inverse of the 2021 owner points, with the field being split into two groups of eighteen each; a similar format was used for practice earlier in the day, albeit with three groups. Kurt Busch was the first driver to take a qualifying lap around the track, setting what would be the thirty-second fastest time. B.J. McLeod briefly stole the show when he had the fastest time as the seventh driver out, though he was quickly beaten by fellow initial user A.J. Allmendinger. Landon Cassill, Cole Custer, and Haley also enjoyed time as the top dogs. By the end, Haley topped the chart for Group 1.

Rookie Harrison Burton was the first of Group 2 to set a time. After Reddick set a blazing time that shot him to the provisional pole (over a tenth of a second faster than Haley), a caution briefly came out for debris in turn four. Busch surpassed Reddick by .024 to secure the top spot.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Busch. “It’s just different with the opportunity to do something like this. NASCAR took a lot of flak on what this was going to look like and what it was going to be. But we’re having a great time.”

As the top four in qualifying, Busch, Reddick, Haley, and Logano will each start on the pole in the four heat races. The top four in each advance to the final while the rest are relegated to a pair of Last Chance Qualifiers, with the top three in those moving on. The twenty-third and final spot is given to the driver highest in 2021 points but had not locked themselves into the feature. The provisional means defending champion Kyle Larson is guaranteed a spot in the Clash even if he fails to qualify via heat or LCQ performance. On the other hand, even being the fastest qualifier does not mean Busch is locked into the Clash.

“We’re not in yet, we still have to go through that heat race,” added Busch.

Chase Elliott, who was the fastest in practice, was seventh. Bubba Wallace brushed the wall and finished last during practice but rebounded to qualify seventeenth.

Qualifying results

PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)
118Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota13.74565.478
28Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet13.76165.402
331Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet13.89164.790
422Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord13.94964.521
599Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet13.95264.507
641Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord13.95364.502
79Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet13.95464.498
85Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet13.95764.484
947Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet13.96264.461
1021Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord13.96564.447
1124William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet13.97364.410
1234Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord13.97864.387
1312Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord14.00764.254
1448Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet14.01464.221
1520Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota14.02364.180
1677Landon Cassill*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet14.05064.057
1711Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota14.05364.043
1823Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota14.07663.939
1916A.J. Allmendinger*Kaulig RacingChevrolet14.12063.739
202Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord14.14863.613
2110Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord14.15163.600
223Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet14.15763.573
234Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord14.15863.568
2443Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet14.19463.407
2578B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord14.23563.224
2614Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord14.24763.171
2717Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord14.25163.153
2815Ryan PreeceRick Ware RacingFord14.27763.038
2938Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord14.30462.919
306Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord14.30562.915
317Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet14.32662.823
3245Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota14.43762.340
331Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet14.45162.279
3419Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota14.46662.215
3551Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord14.47162.193
3642Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet14.53261.932
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points

Heat race starting lineups

Heat #1

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
118Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
299Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet
347Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
412Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
511Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
610Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord
778B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord
838Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord
91Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet

Heat #2

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
18Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
241Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord
321Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord
448Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
523Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
63Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
714Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord
86Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord
919Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota

Heat #3

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
131Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
29Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
324William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
420Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
516A.J. Allmendinger*Kaulig RacingChevrolet
64Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord
717Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord
87Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
951Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord

Heat #4

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
122Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
25Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
334Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
477Landon Cassill*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet
52Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
643Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
715Ryan PreeceRick Ware RacingFord
845Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota
942Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
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About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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