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.

Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch among big names out of Clash at Coliseum

Clash Coliseum heat qualifier
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman failed to advance to the main event in the Clash at the Coliseum as chaos erupted in the heat and qualifier races Sunday, producing some surprising results.

The final 50-lap qualifier on the temporary 0.25-mile oval took more than 30 minutes to complete and was interrupted by seven caution periods and a red flag.

Ty Dillon took the checkered flag but was later penalized by NASCAR for jumping the final restart (after already serving a black flag penalty during the race for jumping another restart).

That awarded the last three transfer spots to Ryan Preece, Bubba Wallace and rookie Harrison Burton despite the fact that each were involved in yellow flags during the final race to set the 23-car main event of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. The short track lived up to its billing for action in marking the first time the preseason NASCAR Cup Series exhibition was held outside the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona International Speedway in its 43-year history.

Busch and Bowman both were eliminated in earlier wrecks, and Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford ran outside the top three throughout after starting ninth and finishing fifth. Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric also was knocked out of the main event with a fifth.

Busch, who was making his debut in the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing, was eliminated while leading on a Lap 47 restart. After taking the green, he was hit by his teammate Wallace, who had been hit in the rear by Burton. While trying to climb back up to third, Busch was squeezed into the outside wall by Wallace, who was battling for a spot with Preece.

“I just got put in a bad spot on one of the restarts,” Busch told Fox Sports. “When you are not managing the race and holding the white line, it puts you in a vulnerable spot. We needed to transfer. We needed to start off the year strong, and we did not. I’m just disappointed we’re not in the A main. We’re racing hard in the Coliseum. This is what it is all about. NASCAR did a great job putting this all together.”

It also was a disappointing debut with a new team for Keselowski, whose new RFK Racing teammate, Chris Buescher, also failed to make the main event.

“We learned a ton today and feel like we’ll apply that and come back stronger,” Keselowski said. “I was really proud of Chris and how smooth of a race he ran.  Our race was not super clean, but we made the most out of what we brought today.  We didn’t bring enough, so we’ll work on that and be better.”

Said Buescher: “The team worked hard. We wanted to be in this thing. We wanted to have a shot at it. It’s going to be really exciting and just hate it. We’re going to work really hard on this. We’re going to study it. We’re going to be better when we come back short track racing. We’re going to be better for Daytona because of it. We’re going to get everything we can out of this to make sure we keep on improving.”

Advancing to the main event was no sure thing for some other big names, too. Denny Hamlin locked in by winning the first Last Chance Qualifier, advancing along with Kevin Harvick and AJ Allmendinger.

“There’s going to be a lot of laps and a lot of attrition, so we’ll see what happens” in the main event, Hamlin told Fox Sports.

It was smooth sailing at the front of the 25-lap preliminary races as pole-sitters Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley and Joey Logano won their respective heats.

Others who advanced to the main event with top-four finishes in the heats — Heat 1: Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; Ryan Blaney. Heat 2: Chase Briscoe, Austin Dillon, Cole Custer. Heat 3: William Byron, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott. Heat 4: Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Erik Jones.

While he didn’t finish well enough to advance in his heat, Martin Truex Jr. made the main event via a provisional. The 2017 Cup Series champion elected to skip the Last Chance Qualifier rather than try to improve his last-place starting spot.

“The crew chief voted for saving the car and starting 23rd (because) we’d start fifth in the LCQ and don’t know we’re good enough to drive up to the top two,” Truex told Fox Sports. “As we go, the desperation gets higher, and guys will do what they have to do. Been a rough day and a half so far. We’re not where we need to be. We’ll keep working on it.”

After starting fifth in Heat 1, Hamlin was in a transfer spot for much of the first heat before getting moved by Stenhouse for third and then Blaney for fourth. That moved Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota into the 25-lap last chance qualifier.

“You kind of got to put the bumper to him,” Blaney told Fox Sports. “Me and Ricky and Denny had a great race going. Luckily we’re locked in and hopefully, the fans enjoyed it, and that’s just a little preview of what’s to come as we see more and more racing today.”

For the first time since cars hit the track Saturday, the caution flag flew twice during the fourth heat and again during the first Last Chance Qualifier as Aric Almirola was eliminated in a crash after getting bumped in the right rear by Front Row Motorsports rookie Todd Gilliland.

“That was a bigger hit than I expected as slow as we’re going here,” Almirola told Fox Sports. “We had a decent start and we were moving forward, and (Gilliland) just destroyed us. (He) just drove in there a mile and tore us up.”

Gilliland took the blame later.

“I definitely made a mistake,” he said. “It’s a super bottom dominant short track, and he had gotten really good momentum off of (Turn 2), and I thought he was going to be clear of me. I was trying to pinch him a little bit and just as I was looking down left I barely turned left, and it barely got him. It didn’t take much. I definitely apologize to those guys. I know that no one really has much equipment to put together, let alone tear up before the season, so I definitely feel really bad about that. I didn’t mean to do it and hopefully I can prove it to him throughout the year.

“As a rookie, coming out of here I really just wanted to gain respect, and I obviously did the opposite of that. It’s hard to gain respect on a quarter-mile. It’s super easy to lose it, so I didn’t achieve that goal.”

Among others who failed to advance: Ross Chastain, Cody Ware, Todd Gilliland, Chris Buescher, Corey LaJoie, Landon Cassill and B.J. McLeod.

HEAT 1: Click here for results

HEAT 2: Click here for results

HEAT 3: Click here for results

HEAT 4: Click here for results

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER 1: Click here for results

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER 2: Click here for results

Chase Elliott fastest in Clash at the Coliseum opening practice; Kevin Harvick second

Clash Coliseum practice
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Chase Elliott led the first NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday for the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum, turning a 13.455-second, 66.890-mph lap in the No. 9 Chevrolet.

Kevin Harvick was second (13.457), followed by Chase Briscoe (13.470), Justin Haley and Kyle Busch.

“First off just props to NASCAR and everybody involved, all the men and women that put a lot of the effort into making it happen,” Elliott told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little.

SPEED CHART: Click here for the lap times from practice

VIEWER’S GUIDE: What to watch in Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum

“Building a racetrack, paving it and all the logistics that have gone into this. Props to everyone for making it happen. They did a really good job with it. The workmanship and logistics of how this has worked has really impressed me. Happy to be here.

“It’s been a really busy winter and hasn’t felt like much offseason for any of us but super excited to be back. I feel we have a pretty good NAPA Chevy, and at this point, we’re just trying to make the right decisions and not let me mess it up too bad.”

NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash - Practice
Kyle Busch drives his No. 18 Toyota onto the track at the Los Angeles Coliseum (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

Tyler Reddick, Kyle Larson, Landon Cassill (who is making the first of at least a dozen starts in the No. 77 Chevy this season), Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10 in the lone session for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum, the first time in the 43-year history of NASCAR’s preseason exhibition that it’s being held outside the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona International Speedway.

The Coliseum short track will offer a vastly different experience.

All but three cars in Saturday’s practice were in the 13-second bracket, turning laps in the mid-60 mph range around the 0.25-mile temporary asphalt surface that was built on top of the famous field normally used for USC football games.

FRIDAY 5: Chance for conflict increases

There will be a qualifying session at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1) to set the field for heat four heat races beginning at 3 p.m. ET Sunday. The main event will feature 23 cars — the top four finishers in the heats, plus the top three in two last-chance qualifiers and a provisional.

NASCAR divided the 36 cars on the entry list into three groups of 12 during the two-hour practice Saturday with each group on track for three eight-minute sessions.

There were no major incidents, but several instances of contact on the tiny bullring that is a quarter-mile shorter than any other track on the Cup Series circuit.

Harvick and Corey LaJoie traded shots a few times during the first 30 minutes of the session. Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace and other drivers also ended the session with right-side scrapes after brushing the outside wall on the straightaways.

There was a yellow flag with just more than 30 minutes left in the Clash at the Coliseum practice when Briscoe stopped with a broken throttle cable in his No. 14 Ford. Briscoe said during the FS2 broadcast that it would be an easy repair.

Kyle Busch had the fastest 10-lap average (66.307 mph) in the session and told Little he was happy with his car and the track so far.

NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash - Practice
Chase Elliott takes a corner in his No. 9 Chevrolet during practice for the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

“Our preaseson testings weren’t quite as great as we wanted to be, but I felt we made a lot of changes to try to get a lot of learning done,” he said. “Overall, all good. Real happy with the M&Ms Camry. Hopefully, that’ll bode well for qualifying action later on and heat races and racing.

“(The track is) cool, it’s fun it’s new, it’s different. It opens up a lot of opportunities for us. We’ll see how it races. Being out there with only 12 (cars), not 24 of us, is quite a different feel.”

Wood Brothers Racing rookie Harrison Burton‘s No. 21 Ford was the first car to take the track as drivers made their way into the Coliseum through an entrance ramp by the USC football locker room. The garage area was located a short distance from the stadium, so drivers entered via surface streets through the surrounding neighborhood.

Click here for the lap times and speeds from the Clash at the Coliseum practice,

Drivers announced for Next Gen test at Charlotte Roval

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CONCORD, N.C. – Reigning champion Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson are among the drivers scheduled to take part in the Next Gen test Monday and Tuesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

This marks the most cars at a Next Gen test. The car will be used beginning next season and make its debut in the Feb. 6 NASCAR Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Those scheduled to compete in the Next Gen test at the Charlotte Roval:

Team Driver(s)
No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet Kaz Grala
No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Ford Kevin Harvick & Aric Almirola
No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Kyle Larson
No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Corey LaJoie
No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Tyler Reddick
No. 12 Team Penske Ford Ryan Blaney
No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Ford Chase Briscoe & Cole Custer
No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet AJ Allmendinger & Justin Haley
No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Chris Buescher
No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Martin Truex Jr.
No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Austin Cindric
No. 22 Team Penske Ford Joey Logano
No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota Bubba Wallace
No. 27 Hezeberg/Reaume Ford Loris Hezemans & Jacques Villenueve
No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Ross Chastain
No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet Erik Jones
No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Alex Bowman
No. 51 Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet Joey Hand & Cody Ware
No. 94 GMS Racing Chevrolet Ty Dillon
No. 99 TrackHouse Racing Chevrolet Daniel Suarez

The test is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET each day.

Plans are for teams to test the Next Gen car in November on the Charlotte oval, in December at Phoenix and in January at Daytona.

Talladega Cup race results, driver points

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Bubba Wallace won Monday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, earning his first career victory in the sport’s premier division.

RESULTS: Where everybody finished at Talladega

Wallace becomes the first Black driver to win a Cup race since Wendell Scott in December 1963. Additionally, he becomes the first Alabama native to win at Talladega since Davey Allison in May 1992.

With Wallace’s triumph, this marks the first time that all three NASCAR national series had first-time winners in a weekend at the same track.

On Saturday, Brandon Brown earned his first Xfinity Series win. Earlier that day, Tate Fogleman earned his first Camping World Truck Series win.

POINTS REPORT

Seven spots in the Cup playoff Round of 8 will be decided in next week’s elimination race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

DRIVER POINTS: Cup Series standings after Talladega

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings – Round of 12 (After Talladega)