NASCAR Cup Series

2023 Busch Light Clash format revealed, expands from 23 to 27 cars

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Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The 2023 Busch Light Clash will be the second edition of the NASCAR Cup Series‘ preseason exhibition to take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. On Thursday, NASCAR announced the race format for the race on 5 February.

The system will mostly remain the same from the 2022 race. Every car will be allowed to take part without needing to qualify by winning a pole or making the playoffs like when the Clash was held at Daytona. Qualifying on Saturday, 4 February will set the starting order for the following day’s four 25-lap heat races, with the top four in qualifying being on the pole for each race. The five best finishers in each heat advances to the Clash, while everyone else has to battle it out in the two Last Chance Qualifiers of fifty laps apiece. LCQ racers can make the final by placing in podium range.

The Clash will once again consist of 150 laps. Twenty-seven cars will take part, unlike the twenty-three from last year; the four-car increase comes from allowing the fifth-place finisher in the heats to advance. The twenty-seventh and final slot on the grid will be awarded to the non-qualifier who finished the highest in the 2022 driver’s standings. This means defending winner and series champion Joey Logano is guaranteed a spot in the Clash even if he struggles in the heats and LCQ.

Credit: NASCAR

Groundbreaking on the track began on 15 December, less than a month after the stadium’s last home game of the 2022 college football season for the USC Trojans. Although the stadium layout raised eyebrows upon its conception, it proved to be a wildly popular event with 60,000 in attendance, many of whom were new to NASCAR, with the presence of many local celebrities.

2023 Clash starting order

1Heat #1 winner
2Heat #2 winner
3Heat #3 winner
4Heat #4 winner
5Heat #1 2nd place
6Heat #3 2nd place
7Heat #3 2nd place
8Heat #4 2nd place
9Heat #1 3rd place
10Heat #3 3rd place
11Heat #3 3rd place
12Heat #4 3rd place
13Heat #1 4th place
14Heat #3 4th place
15Heat #3 4th place
16Heat #4 4th place
17Heat #1 5th place
18Heat #3 5th place
19Heat #3 5th place
20Heat #4 2nd place
21LCQ #1 winner
22LCQ #2 winner
23LCQ #1 2nd place
24LCQ #2 2nd place
25LCQ #1 3rd place
26LCQ #2 3rd place
27Best driver in 2022 points not locked in
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