Martin Truex Jr. Wins The 2023 Busch Clash at the Coliseum

Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA — February 5, 2023

The Busch Clash at the Coliseum II runs tonight in Los Angeles, and after drivers tip-toed their way through the first edition last year, expect a much different race this time around. In 2022 there were double unknowns. A new car and a new race track.

The Next-Gen car was so new there were limited replacement parts available. The sport’s premier drivers seemed reluctant to put themselves in a difficult position for the fear of doing major damage to a car that would be needed to run again early in the season. Combine that with the uncertainty of what kind of racing the temporary track would produce, and the event was relatively mild.

Throw those factors out this year and expect the racing to be intense from the start. To qualify for the main event, drivers must finish in the top five of their heat to avoid having to rely on the Last Chance Qualifiers to make the field. Dented bumpers are sure to be a part of the on-track activities.

Heat One

Defending Clash Champion Joey Logano(22) starts fifth in the first qualifying heat. That is the final automatic transfer position into the feature. The action started early when Noah Gragson(42) put the bumper to Harrison Burton(21), spinning the Woods Brothers Ford Mustang out on lap three. Justin Haley(31), the fastest qualifier for the weekend, battled Aric Almirola(10) for the lead as the pair pulled away from the rest of the field.

As the laps wound down, Alex Bowman(48) joined the top two for a final push to the front. Every position gained means you advance four positions at the start of the main event. Almirola got a bumper under Haley and moved to the lead. Bowman followed through past Haley as well, dropping the pole sitter to third.

Gragson in fourth and Logano in fifth

1 – #10 – Aric Almirola QUALIFIED
2 – #48 – Alex Bowman QUALIFIED
3 – #31 – Justin Haley QUALIFIED
4 – #42 – Noah Gragson (R) QUALIFIED
5 – #22 – Joey Logano QUALIFIED
6 – #34 – Michael McDowell LCQ
7 – #21 – Harrison Burton LCQ
8 – #77 – Ty Dillon LCQ
9 – #17 – Chris Buescher LCQ

Heat Two

Kyle Busch(8) starts on the pole for Heat Two beside teammate Austin Dillon(3). At the drop of the green flag, they bumped going into turn one, and Busch drove away with the lead. Kyle Larson(5) slid by also, as Dillon dropped to fifth on cold tires.

Martin Truex Jr.(19) moved to third, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(47) in the fourth spot. Kevin Harvick(4), Chase Elliott(9), and 2022 Daytona 500 champion Austin Cindric(2) were all on the outside looking in when Cindric spun with five laps to go.

Up front, Truex took the lead from his former teammate Kyle Busch. Dillon moved ahead of Stenhouse, and the sprint to the end was staged and ready to fight it out. When the race resumed, all the action focused on the final transfer spot.

Elliott put the bump-and-run move on Stenhouse and drove to the fifth position. On the final lap, Stenhouse tried to return the favor. Both he and Elliott got loose, and Harvick drove under them for the final transfer spot.

1 – #19 – Martin Truex Jr. QUALIFIED
2 – #8 – Kyle Busch QUALIFIED
3 – #3 – Austin Dillon QUALIFIED
4 – #5 – Kyle Larson QUALIFIED
5 – #4 – Kevin Harvick QUALIFIED
6 – #9 – Chase Elliott LCQ
7 – #47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. LCQ
8 – #2 – Austin Cindric LCQ
9 – #78 – B.J. McLeod LCQ

Heat Three

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell(20) and Denny Hamlin(11) started on the front row. Bell led early, but Hamlin eventually made the pass for the top spot, with Bell dropping all the way back to fifth. Tyler Reddick(45) moved to second, Chase Briscoe(14) ran third, and Ryan Blaney(12), who started last, held the final transfer position in fifth.

Fighting for positions back in the pack, Daniel Suarez(99) and Brad Keselowski(6) got together, with Keselowski spinning out with six laps to go to the checkered flag.

Bunched up for the restart, Hamlin held onto the lead while Bell and Blaney fought it out for fifth. Todd Gilliland got between the two, and Blaney punted both of them, causing Bell to spin out with three laps to go.

With Bell and Gilliland trying to capture fifth, Suarez drove to the inside and passed them both to take the last qualifying spot.

1 – #11 – Denny Hamlin QUALIFIED
2 – #14 – Chase Briscoe QUALIFIED
3 – #45 – Tyler Reddick QUALIFIED
4 – #12 – Ryan Blaney QUALIFIED
5 – #99 – Daniel Suarez QUALIFIED
6 – #20 – Christopher Bell LCQ
7 – #38 – Todd Gilliland LCQ
8 – #6 – Brad Keselowski LCQ
9 – #15 – J.J. Yeley LCQ

Denny Hamlin(11) and Chase Briscoe(14) lead their Heat in the Clash at the Coliseum / NASCAR Photo

Heat Four

The final qualifying head featured William Byron(24) on the pole with AJ Allmendinger(16) beside him. Ross Chastain(1) starts third, and everyone knows he will do anything to make sure his car advances to the feature.

William Byron takes the green flag in Heat Four / NASCAR Photo

Byron takes the lead when the green drops and Chastain gets a bumper under Allmendinger to move into second. Bubba Wallace(23), from third, passed Allmendinger, who also got passed by Ryan Preece.

Byron led wire to wire. Wallace took the second spot away from Chastain, and Preece moved into fourth, leaving Allmendinger to fight it out with Erik Jones(43) and Ty Gibbs(54) for the fifth spot. Jones knocked Allmendinger out of the final transfer spot, and Gibbs could not get close enough to put a bumper to the 43 car.

Twenty cars qualified for the feature, with six more to be added, three each out of the two last-chance qualifying (LCQ) races. Running 50 laps in the LCQ gives the faster cars an opportunity to move forward without the rush of the shorter sprints.

1 – #24 – William Byron QUALIFIED
2 – #23 – Bubba Wallace QUALIFIED
3 – #1 – Ross Chastain QUALIFIED
4 – #41 – Ryan Preece QUALIFIED
5 – #43 – Erik Jones QUALIFIED
6 – #54 – Ty Gibbs (R) LCQ
7 – #16 – A.J. Allmendinger LCQ
8 – #7 – Corey LaJoie LCQ
9 – #51 – Cody Ware LCQ

Last Chance Qualifier Race One

Michael McDowell(34) pulled out and took the early lead, one he would never relinquish. Burton and Bell held the next two spots for most of the race. As the laps wound down, Burton got loose and slid up the track. Allowing Bell and Gilliland to pass, dropping Burton from the feature.

1 – #34 – Michael McDowell QUALIFIED
2 – #20 – Christopher Bell QUALIFIED
3 – #38 – Todd Gilliland QUALIFIED
4 – #21 – Harrison Burton ELIMINATED
5 – #6 – Brad Keselowski ELIMINATED
6 – #77 – Ty Dillon ELIMINATED
7 – #17 – Chris Buescher ELIMINATED
8 – #15 – J.J. Yeley ELIMINATED

Last Chance Qualifier Race Two

Elliott, Gibbs, and Allmendinger quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack in LCQ Two. Stenhouse sat safely in fourth but could not close the gap on the leaders. The top three held true, seemingly content to qualify safely. With one lap to go, Gibbs moved to the inside of Elliott. The two raced cleanly, and Elliott held on for the LCQ win.

1 – #9 – Chase Elliott QUALIFIED
2 – #54 – Ty Gibbs QUALIFIED
3 – #16 – AJ Allmendinger QUALIFIED
4 – #47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ELIMINATED
5 – #2 – Austin Cindric PROVISIONAL
6 – #7 – Corey LaJoie ELIMINATED
7 – #51 – Cody Ware ELIMINATED
8 – #78 – BJ McLeod ELIMINATED

Austin Cindric was awarded the 27th and final starting position at the rear of the field. He earned the single provisional spot by being the highest-ranked driver from last year’s point standings who did not qualify via an LCQ.

The Lineup for the 2023 Busch Clash at the Coliseum

1 – #10 – Aric Almirola
2 – #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
3 – #11 – Denny Hamlin
4 – #24 – William Byron
5 – #48 – Alex Bowman
6 – #8 – Kyle Busch
7 – #14 – Chase Briscoe
8 – #23 – Bubba Wallace
9 – #31 – Justin Haley
10 – #3 – Austin Dillon
11 – #45 – Tyler Reddick
12 – #1 – Ross Chastain
13 – #42 – Noah Gragson (R)
14 – #5 – Kyle Larson
15 – #12 – Ryan Blaney
16 – #41 – Ryan Preece
17 – #22 – Joey Logano
18 – #4 – Kevin Harvick
19 – #99 – Daniel Suarez
20 – #43 – Erik Jones
21 – #34 – Michael McDowell
22 – #9 – Chase Elliott
23 – #20 – Christopher Bell
24 – #54 – Ty Gibbs (R)
25 – #38 – Todd Gilliland
26 – #16 – A.J. Allmendinger
27 – #2 – Austin Cindric

The Start

Almirola and Truex on the front row lead the field into the 150-lap feature. Almirola held the top spot as Truex dropped in behind the leader. Denny Hamlin was the first driver to make a big move as he got underneath Truex to take over second.

Almirola caught the tail end of the field after just 14 laps of green flag racing. Michigan’s Erik Jones brought out the first caution of the evening after 16 laps, spinning off the bumper of Michael McDowell. Contact with the Jones car by McDowell and Harvick resulted in a broken toe link in the rear of the #43 car, making him the first driver out of the race.

Ryan Blaney, running in the 11th position, spun and brought out the yellow for the second time. Just after Hamlin took the top spot as Almirola dropped back into the pack.

On the second restart, Hamlin and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. Hamlin moved away, and before Busch could get in line, Truex, Wallace, and Austin Dillon filled the positions.

Lapping Traffic

Hamlin caught Chase Elliott at the rear of the field and put him a lap down just as AJ Allmendinger spun to bring out the third caution after 42 laps. The yellow flag allowed Elliott to return to the lead lap as the lucky dog (the first driver a lap down when the caution waves gets a free pass back to the lead lap and is referred to as the “lucky dog”).

Bubba Wallace restarted outside his car owner Dennie Hamlin. He quickly fell in behind the leader. However, Wallace got jabbed in the rear bumper by Truex. It forced him into Hamlin, and the contact sent the #11 car up the track. Wallace took the lead, and Hamlin dropped to the 12th spot before he could get back to the inside preferred line.

Elliott, battling an ill-handling race car, quickly went back a lap down. The pole-sitter, Almirola, was the next driver to lose a lap to the leader. In a reprise of last year’s most frequently contested rivalry, Ross Chastain dove inside of Hamlin, made contact, and spun his nemesis out on lap 74.

With the halfway break coming at lap 75, it was Wallace first to the line, followed by Truex, Austin Dillon, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top 10.

After the Break

Teams were allowed to make changes and adjustments to their cars during the break to prepare for the final 75-lap segment of the race. Back on the track, Wallace lined up to the inside of Austin Dillon. Truex and Reddick made up row two.

Hamlin spun Ty Gibbs on the first lap back to green, and they will line up and do it again. This time with Wallace and Truex in row one, followed by Dillon and William Byron. Ryan Preece made a strong run up the outside to move past Byron into fourth. But, Kevin Harvick spun, and the caution waved again.

On the third try to get back to green flag racing, a pileup back in the pack halted laps again. Ryan Preece moved into the second spot with aggressive driving to pass Truex for the runner-up position.

Cautions Breed Cautions

This time Todd Gilliland went around off the bumper of Kevin Harvick, and only six laps are in the books for the second half of the race.

Preece, using the outside lane, drove around Wallace on the restart, Alex Bowman moved to second, and the 10th caution of the race halted the action again with 65 laps to go. Lurking back in seventh, last year’s winner Joey Logano had moved up behind Kyle Busch. The two drivers got together half a lap after the restart, with Busch getting the worst of the deal. Logano dropped to 14th and Busch to 25th. Caution number 11 slowed the pace again. Fortunately, only green flag laps count against the total to be run in the event.

With the restart, green flag racing finally got some laps to count. Preece, Bowman, Truex, Wallace, and Ty Dillon made up the top five. The field shuffled out into single file, and laps began to wind down.

Justin Haley, running in eighth, went around as cars jumbled up coming out of turn two. With 44 laps to go, it is getting down to crunch time, and the bumping is likely to get serious.

Chase Briscoe went around with help from Noah Gragson as cars stacked up again off turn two, and 41 laps remain. Since gaining the lead, Preece in the Stewart Haas #41 Ford Mustang has been able to hold the top spot as the restarts continue.

Back to caution with 37 laps to go as Ryan Blaney went into the wall with a push from Tyler Reddick, who got help from several drivers in line behind him.

The Finish

Again Preece drove off with the lead on the restart. Alex Bowman had been able to stick on Preece’s bumper for second place. However, this time Truex forced Bowman to remain in the outside lane. The failure to duck in line sent Bowman back to fifth place.

Truex got past Preece, and the former leader began to drop back. Dillon moved to second, Wallace ran third, Bowman fourth, and William Byron moved into the fifth spot.

Michael McDowell slowed on the track, and the caution displayed with ten laps to go setting up a wild dash to the checkered flag.

Truex and Wallace lined up on the front row. Truex pulled away while the battle for second got heated. Austin Dillon booted Wallace into the outside wall, and the race slowed again with seven laps to go.

On the restart, Kyle Busch lined up outside of his former teammate Truex having worked his way back from the rear of the field. Truex pulled away for the win, with Austin Dillon taking the second spot away from Busch.

Results of the Busch Clash at the Coliseum

1 19 Martin Truex Jr. 150
2 3 Austin Dillon 0.786 150
3 8 Kyle Busch 1.144 150
4 48 Alex Bowman 1.842 150
5 5 Kyle Larson 2.458 150
6 45 Tyler Reddick 2.961 150
7 41 Ryan Preece 3.531 150
8 1 Ross Chastain 5.021 150
9 11 Denny Hamlin 5.741 150
10 24 William Byron 6.205 150
11 31 Justin Haley 6.250 150
12 4 Kevin Harvick 6.402 150
13 20 Christopher Bell 6.624 150
14 42 Noah Gragson 6.894 150
15 14 Chase Briscoe 6.903 150
16 22 Joey Logano 6.939 150
17 12 Ryan Blaney 7.591 150
18 10 Aric Almirola 7.622 150
19 99 Daniel Suarez 7.971 150
20 16 AJ Allmendinger 8.177 150
21 9 Chase Elliott 8.442 150
22 23 Bubba Wallace 10.297 150
23 38 Todd Gilliland -10 140
24 34 Michael McDowell -13 137
25 2 Austin Cindric -44 106
26 54 Ty Gibbs -69 81
27 43 Erik Jones -134 16


Up Next

The Clash exhibition race gives way to the first event of the season. Speedweek at Daytona begins with a media event on Wednesday, February 15th. The Lasco Press will be live all week to bring you the sights and happenings of the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing. Here is the schedule to follow all the events on the Fox family of networks.

Daytona International Speedway / Lasco Press Photo

Wednesday, Feb. 15

  • NASCAR RACE HUB: DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY (5:00-8:00 PM ET) (FS1) (delayed)
  • NASCAR Cup Series Pole Qualifying (8:00-10:00 PM ET) (FS1)

Thursday, Feb. 16

  • NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice (5:00-6:00 PM ET) (FS1)
  • Duel at Daytona (7:00-10:00 PM ET) (FS1)

Friday, Feb. 17

  • NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying (3:00-4:30 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series practice (4:30-5:30 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR Cup Series practice (5:30-6:30 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR RACEDAY-NCTS (6:30-7:30 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (7:30-10:00 PM ET) (FS1)

Saturday, Feb. 18

  • NASCAR Cup Series final practice (10:30-11:30 AM ET) (FS2)
  • NASCAR Cup Series final practice (11:00-11:30 AM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying (11:30 AM-1:00 PM ET) (FS1)
  • ARCA Menards Series race (1:30-4:00 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series race (5:00-7:30 PM ET) (FS1)

Sunday, Feb. 19

  • NASCAR RACEDAY (11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET) (FS1)
  • NASCAR RACEDAY (1:00-2:30 PM ET) (FOX)
  • DAYTONA 500 (2:30-6:30 PM ET) (FOX & FOX Deportes)