NASCAR Cup Series

Martin Truex Jr. claims caution-filled Clash at the Coliseum

2 Mins read
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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.

Race results

1219Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota150Running
2103Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet150Running
368Kyle BuschRichard Childress RacingChevrolet150Running
4548Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
5145Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
61145Tyler Reddick23XI RacingToyota150Running
71641Ryan PreeceStewart-Haas RacingFord150Running
8121Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet150Running
9311Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota150Running
10424William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
11931Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet150Running
12184Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord150Running
132320Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota150Running
141342Noah GragsonLegacy Motor ClubChevrolet150Running
15714Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord150Running
161722Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord150Running
171512Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord150Running
18110Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord150Running
191999Daniel SuarezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet150Running
202616A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet150Running
21229Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
22823Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota150Running
232538Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord140Fuel
242134Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord137Fuel
25272Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord106Engine
262454Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota81Suspension
272043Erik JonesLegacy Motor ClubChevrolet16Suspension
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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