The Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was a tale of two halves: the first half was fairly clean, while the second looked more like the Busch Light Crash. Sixteen cautions were flown with all but three coming in the race’s second half, many of which were as drivers increased their aggressiveness despite the quarter-mile’s tight confines.
Martin Truex Jr., who last won a NASCAR Cup Series race in September 2021, took advantage of Ryan Preece‘s fuel pump failure to assume the lead on lap 126. He staved off advances from Bubba Wallace and the Richard Childress Racing duo of Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick to snap his dry spell, even if in an exhibition.
“Austin and Kyle raced clean, and for the most part I’ve never had really any big issues with those guys,” said Truex. “You come to a track like this, it’s pretty easy to just blow the corner and knock the guy out of the way in front of you. It’s just easy to do.
“Thankfully, they didn’t do that. They gave me a lap to get going, and obviously we were fast enough to drive away from them.”
Wallace probably disagreed with Truex’s sentiments. Despite leading fifty-nine laps including at the halfway break, he was spun by Dillon with seven laps remaining which relegated him to twenty-second; Wallace indirectly called out Dillon on Twitter by writing, “W3ll that was fun, till it wasn’t.” Dillon and Busch, his new team-mate after previously working alongside Truex at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished second and third to join Truex on a special podium created specifically for the Clash.
“Bubba knocked me through the corner,” Dillon explained. “I was going to hit him back, didn’t mean to turn him like that, but when it gets down to the end, I think everybody knows what’s going on, and that’s what you see at places like this and Bowman Gray Stadium.”
Preece and Wallace were not the only lap leaders to experience misfortune. Aric Almirola started on the pole after winning Heat #1, but faded after accidentally selecting the disadvantageous outside lane on the choose cone and never recovered. Denny Hamlin salvaged a ninth-place finish after a tumultuous day in which he was knocked out of the lead by his 23XI Racing employee Wallace, spun by 2022 rival Ross Chastain on lap 74, and was turned again by William Byron—who tangled with Hamlin at Texas last year—during the cooldown lap.
|1||2||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|2||10||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|3||6||8||Kyle Busch||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|4||5||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|5||14||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|6||11||45||Tyler Reddick||23XI Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|7||16||41||Ryan Preece||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|8||12||1||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|9||3||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|10||4||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|11||9||31||Justin Haley||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|12||18||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|13||23||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|14||13||42||Noah Gragson||Legacy Motor Club||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|15||7||14||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|16||17||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||150||Running|
|17||15||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||150||Running|
|18||1||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|19||19||99||Daniel Suarez||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|20||26||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|21||22||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|22||8||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|23||25||38||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||140||Fuel|
|24||21||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||137||Fuel|
|25||27||2||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford||106||Engine|
|26||24||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||81||Suspension|
|27||20||43||Erik Jones||Legacy Motor Club||Chevrolet||16||Suspension|