Joey Logano delivers in inaugural Clash at the Coliseum race, outdueling Kyle Busch

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Joey Logano outdueled Kyle Busch to become the winner of the NASCAR Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in NASCAR’s debut Sunday on the 0.25-mile oval in Los Angeles.

Logano took the lead of the 150-lap race after a halfway break and won by 0.877 seconds in his No. 22 Ford over the No. 18 Toyota of Busch on the temporary short track that was constructed over the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Austin Dillon finished third, followed by Erik Jones and Kyle Larson. William Byron, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.

RESULTS: Full stats package from the Clash at the Coliseum

“I can’t believe that we’re here,” Logano told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little. “This is an amazing event. Congratulations, NASCAR. It’s such a huge step in our industry to be able to do this and put on an amazing race for everybody.

“This is big. My wife’s having a baby tomorrow, our third one, so pretty big weekend for us. … I told her if you’re having the baby, I’m just running right off the track from here.”

After starting from the pole position and leading 64 of 150 laps,  Busch was unable to challenge Logano in the closing laps, which were surprisingly tame after a restart with just more than 30 laps remaining.

“I was being perfect, doing everything I thought I needed to do to keep the tires underneath me,” Busch told Fox Sports. “When I got close, I was like OK now I’ve got to try more and pounce at the opportunity and just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps, so that was it.

“Disappointing to win the pole, lead laps, run up front, the finish goes green and it’s not chaotic. We can’t win. That sucks. But congrats to my son. He won yesterday. I was trying to match him. He’s winning more than me these days, so someone ought to send him a contract.”

Logano led the final 35 laps for his second victory in the season-opening exhibition race (and first since 2017). It was his first Cup win in nearly a year (since the Bristol dirt race in March 2021).

“This is special to get the first Next Gen win,” Logano said. “The first win at the Coliseum. It’s a special one. We’re going to have some fun and celebrate it.”

NASCAR Clash Coliseum winner
Kyle Busch leads the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum field to the green at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images),

The race marked the debut of the Next Gen car, and the first caution seemed indicative of some bugs with the new car, which has been overhauled completely in favor of a standardized chassis and parts that are built and supplied by vendors instsead of teams.

The yellow flew when Denny Hamlin‘s No. 11 Toyota slowed on track for a mechanical problem.

“Looks like the power steering belt evidently came off and took the hose with it, so we didn’t have steering abilities,” Hamlin told Fox Sports. “This is something you’ll probably see a lot of this year, fixing all the bugs that are going to happen.”

Before the restart, Chase Briscoe pulled his No. 14 Ford off and radioed about a problem with the drivetrain. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver already had suffered mechanical woes in practice Saturday.

While coming to the green, Tyler Reddick pulled out of the lead with a broken transaxle. The Richard Childress Racing driver had led the first 60-plus laps after taking the lead from pole-sitter Kyle Busch.

“I was trying to get some heat in the tires, and I think I must have broke the transaxle,” Reddick told Fox Sports before taking a midrace opportunity to hang with fans. “That’s a little scary thinking of all the pit stops we’ll have to do and dropping the clutch like that. So unfortunate but I’d rather break it here than a points-paying race or the Daytona 500.

“Just an incredible job by the guys, we really did a lot of things right in this race. It’s a bummer but not too heartbreaking at the same time. We’ll learn from it and hope to never let it happen again.”

As expected in holding the preseason Cup Series exhibition on a short track for the first time in its 43-year history, the Clash produced incessant contact between cars racing on the shortest track in more than 50 years in NASCAR’s premier series.

In one of the day’s most memorable incidents, Ryan Blaney threw his HANS device at Erik Jones after his No. 12 Ford fell out of the main event because of contact with the No. 43 Chevy.

“He just destroyed me for seventh; don’t really make no sense,” Blaney told LIttle. “Just kind of riding around and run in the back of you and killed our car. Yeah, I was mad. But you’ll have that.”

“He brake-checked me off (Turn) 4 for no real reason,” Jones told Little about his contact with Blaney. “I didn’t really appreciate that and showed it on the track. We have a conversation. It’s an exhibition race and we’re doing what we can. I was frustrated with the move he made.

“But overall thought the Chevy was really good. Just a good weekend, come home fourth for us. We were just talking, it doesn’t mean a lot for the setups for the rest of the season, but nobody came out here not trying. It feels good to run good. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum to Daytona.”

Kaulig Racing rookie Justin Haley also was displeased with Kyle Larson after being shoved into the inside wall by the series champion, heavily damaging the left front of Haley’s No. 31 Chevrolet.

“I’m not impressed with that move,” Haley told Fox Sports. “It’s hard to be a rookie and gain respect. I don’t know. It’s kind of BS but glad we had a fast car. Not everyone knows who we are yet.”

The racing was even wilder earlier in the heats and qualifying races that resulted in the elimination of Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman among some big names who failed to advance to the main event.

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.

 

Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?

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Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.