Jeremy Clements wins Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway

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It was the race that took hours to start, and then it didn’t want to end.

A series of multi-car crashes in the closing laps stretched Friday’s 250-mile Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway into Saturday before Jeremy Clements emerged victorious in the third overtime.

The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday but was delayed by more than three hours by rain and lightning. The calendar flipped to Saturday before the race ended near 1:30 a.m.

As the field struggled to reach the finish, a comedy of errors caused wreck after wreck, eliminating some leaders and damaging the cars of others.

Clements, winning for only the second time for his Spartanburg, S.C.-based family team, held first place on the last lap of the third overtime and was in front when the final caution flew. He had had a 164-race winless streak.

MORE: Daytona Xfinity results, driver points

MORE: Unforgettable night for Jeremy Clements stretches into morning

The victory pushed Clements into the Xfinity Series playoffs, making him the eighth driver to qualify.

With two laps to go, the fight for the lead produced a 10-car wreck as Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson hit while racing in the top five. Numerous other drivers were involved in the aftermath, spreading cars across the frontstretch apron and pit road and sending the race into overtime.

On the first lap of overtime, contact in the front three between Gragson and AJ Allmendinger caused another multi-car crash, bringing out the caution again. Gragson’s car moved up the track into the path of Landon Cassill, The impact caused Gragson’s car to lift off the track.

Austin Hill seemed poise to win before his Chevrolet apparently developed electrical problems, forcing him to drop out of first place as the field took the green flag for the final overtime.

Allmendinger was running second approaching the start of the overtime when his car ran low on fuel, forcing him to the pits.

That gave Clements, whose lower-budget team typically can’t compete with the major teams in the series, the opening he needed. He was in the lead when the 11th caution flew for Riley Herbst‘s spin, freezing the field and giving Clements the win.

“I’m speechless, man,” Clements said. “I don’t even know what to say. We survived that big wreck back there (in the first overtime). It was like a ‘Days of Thunder’ wreck. Then I was like, ‘If we can just keep up with these guys, it’ll be a good day—top five and bring this car home in one piece.’ “

Following Clements at the finish were Timmy Hill, Allmendinger, Brandon Brown and IndyCar driver Sage Karam.

Scheduled for 100 laps, the race stretched to 118 because of the crashes, cautions and overtimes.

The lead pack was jumbled with nine laps remaining when Allmendinger lost control of his second-place car, sparking a huge accident in the trioval. Among other drivers involved were Josh Berry, Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier.

A multi-car crash 16 laps from the finish eliminated several cars. The incident began in the middle of the pack with contact between the cars of Brandon Brown and John Hunter Nemechek. Creed’s car turned into heavy traffic and was slammed by the Ford of Joe Graf Jr.

Herbst, running fourth, caused a caution period when his left rear tire blew, sending him on a wild ride across the grassy area adjacent to the backstretch.

The race’s first caution flag flew on lap 16 when Sammy Smith lost control of his car in Turn 4, sailed across the apron and slammed into the inside wall. Smith was not hurt, but his car was parked.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Noah Gragson

Who had a good race: Jeremy Clements weaved his way through the debris of a series of multi-car accidents and scored a major upset for his relatively small team. … Sage Karam came home fifth in the confusion, a fine run for a driver jumping from one form of racing to another. … Timmy Hill finished second, his best career run.

Who had a bad race: Almost everybody. Wrecks were plentiful, and they were big. Drivers with strong cars who didn’t finish well because of crashes included Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Anthony Alfredo, Sam Mayer, John Hunter Nemechek and Sheldon Creed.

Next: The Xfinity Series rolls on to Darlington Raceway for a Sept. 3 race (USA Network).

Chase Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger in first on-track conflict of the season.

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LOS ANGELES — The first on-track conflict of the 2023 NASCAR Cup season?

Did you have Chase Briscoe and AJ Allmendinger?

They made contact during Saturday night’s practice session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash.

Busch Clash practice results

Briscoe explained what happened from his point of view.

“(Allmendinger) was slowing down so much on the straightaway to get a gap (away from other cars),” Briscoe told Motor Racing Network. “I felt like I was beside him pretty far down the straightaway. I got in there a little hot for sure, but, honestly, I thought he was going to give it to me since we were in practice. Went into (Turn) 3 and he just drove me straight into the fence. Definitely frustrating. … Just unfortunate. We don’t have a single back-up car out there between the four of us at SHR. 

“Definitely will set us behind quite a bit. Just chalk it up in the memory blank.”

Asked what happened with Briscoe, Allmendinger told MRN: “He ran inside of me, so I made sure I paid him back and sent him into the fence.

“It’s practice. I get it, I’m struggling and in the way, but come barreling in there. I just showed my displeasure for it. That’s not the issue. We’re just not very good right now.”

Earlier in practice, Ty Gibbs had to climb out of his car after it caught on fire. Gibbs exiting the car safely. The Joe Gibbs Racing team worked on making repairs to his No. 54 car. NASCAR stated that the car would not be allowed to qualify because of unapproved adjustments, modifications not directly related to the damage.

NASCAR will not race at Auto Club Speedway in 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Auto Club Speedway will not host a NASCAR race next year because of plans to convert the 2-mile speedway into a short track.

It will mark only the second time the Cup Series has not raced at the Southern California track since first competing there in 1997. Cup did not race at the track in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway president, also said Saturday that “it’s possible” that the track might not host a NASCAR race in 2025 because of how long it could take to make the conversion. 

MORE: Details for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum 

NASCAR came to the Fontana, California, track during the sport’s expansion in the late 1990s that also saw Cup debut at Texas (1997), Las Vegas (1998) and Homestead (1999).

Auto Club Speedway begins the West Coast swing this season, hosting the Cup Series on Feb. 26, a week after the Daytona 500. The series then goes to Las Vegas and Phoenix the following two weeks.

Auto Club Speedway has been among a favorite of drivers because of its aging pavement that put more of the car’s control in the hands of competitors. 

Allen said that officials continue to work on the track’s design. It is expected to be a half-mile track. With NASCAR already having a half-mile high-banked track (Bristol) and half-mile low-banked track (Martinsville), Allen said that a goal is to make Auto Club Speedway stand out.

“It has to make a statement, and making sure that we have a racetrack that is unique to itself here and different than any of the tracks they go to is very important,” Allen said. “Having said that, it’s equally important … to make sure that the fan experience part is unique.”

Kyle Larson, who won last year’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, said that he talked to Allen on Saturday was told the track project likely will take about 18 months. 

“I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track, how big it’s going to be, the shape or banking and all that, and I love the 2-mile track, but I think the more short tracks we can have, the better off our sport is going to be,” Larson said.

With Auto Club Speedway off the schedule in 2024, it would mean the only time Cup raced in the Los Angeles area would be at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. NASCAR has a three-year contract with the Coliseum to race there and holds the option to return.

Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum marks the second year of that agreement. Last year’s inaugural event at the Coliseum drew about 50,000 fans. NASCAR has not publicly stated if it will return to the Coliseum next year.

Sunday Clash at the Coliseum: Start time, TV info, race format

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LOS ANGELES – NASCAR is back and back at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Nearly three months after Joey Logano won the Cup title at Phoenix, Cup drivers return to action this weekend to run the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race on Sunday night.

This marks the second consecutive year the series has raced inside the Coliseum, which has hosted the Super Bowl, World Series and Olympics.

Details for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum 

(All times Eastern)

HEAT RACES: There will be four 25-lap heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top five from each race advance to the Busch Light Clash. The first heat race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS: There will be two 50-lap qualifiers for drivers who did not advance to the Clash through their heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top three finishers in each of the qualifiers advance to the Clash. The 27-car Clash lineup will be finalized by adding one provisional spot for the driver highest in points last season not yet in the Clash field. The first of these two last chance qualifying races is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m.

CLASH STARTING LINEUP: To be set by heat races and the Last Chance Qualifiers. Winner of heat 1 will start on the pole for the Clash. Winner of heat 2 will start second. Winner of heat 3 will start third. Winner of heat 4 will start 4th. Runner-up in heat 1 will start fifth and so on.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Driver intros are at 7:50 p.m. … Invocation by Judah Smith, lead pastor of Churchome, at 8:07 p.m. … The USC Trojan Marching Band will perform the national anthem at 8:08 p.m. … Actor Rob Lowe will give the command to fire engines at 8:15 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to be waved by USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at 8:20 p.m.

DISTANCE: The Clash is 150 laps (37.5 miles) on the 1/4-mile short track.

STAGES: There will be a stage break at Lap 75 (halfway in the Clash). Wiz Khalifa will perform during the break.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the event, beginning at 4 p.m. . … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 63 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the start of the heat races. Partly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the Clash..

LAST TIME: Joey Logano held off Kyle Busch to win the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum. Austin Dillon placed third. .

Catch up on NBC Sports coverage

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Clash at the Coliseum provides a reset for RFK Racing 

Harrison Burton looks for progress in second year in Cup

Dr. Diandra: Muffling racecars won’t change fan experience

Drivers to watch at Clash in Coliseum

NASCAR announces rule changes for 2023

NASCAR outlaws Ross Chastain Martinsville move

NASCAR eliminates stage breaks for Cup road course events 

Looking back on 10 historic moments in the Clash

 

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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NASCAR drivers are scheduled to hit the track today in competitive mode for the first time in 2023.

Practice is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on the oval inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Single-car qualifying for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum is scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. (ET). The 36 drivers will be divided into three 12-driver groups for practice.

Cup practice groups

Cup qualfying order

Saturday’s qualifying will set the starting lineups for Sunday’s four 25-lap heat races. The top five finishers in each heat race will advance to the main event. Two 50-lap “last chance” races will follow, and the top three finishers in each of those events will join the feature field.

The 150-lap main event is scheduled at 8 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

For the second consecutive year, the Clash is being held on a purpose-built track inside the LA Coliseum, one of sport’s iconic venues. Joey Logano won last year’s race and last year’s series championship and will be among the favorites Sunday.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Weather

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sun. High 71.

Saturday, Feb. 4

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 2 – 11:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 8 p.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:35 – 9:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)