Joey Logano Holds off Kyle Busch to Win Memorable Busch Light Clash in Los Angeles

Joey Logano wins a memorable Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum in the NASCAR Cup Series first race of the 2022 season on Sunday evening.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Champion trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Joey Logano wins a memorable Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum in the NASCAR Cup Series exhibition event on Sunday evening.

LOS ANGELES — At the end of a transformative NASCAR experience that took the City of Angels by storm, Joey Logano held off hard-charging pole winner Kyle Busch to triumph in Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

Joey Logano Wins a Memorable Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum

Logano got the lead on lap 116, moments before Kyle Larson retaliated against Justin Haley for earlier contact that was not of Haley’s doing. Larson steered toward the bottom of the track, knocking Haley’s Chevrolet into the concrete Jersey barrier on the frontstretch.

In the competitive debut of the Next Gen race car, Logano had control of the race for the restart on lap 117 and held the top spot to the finish, with Busch frustrated in pursuit on the quarter-mile track built for the NASCAR Cup Series event in iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as part of NASCAR’s daring foray into downtown L.A.

“I can’t believe it,” Logano exulted after the race. “We’re here. The L.A. Coliseum. We got the victory with the old Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. This is an amazing event. Congratulations, NASCAR. Such a huge step in our industry to be able to do this, put on an amazing race for everybody.  

“I’m out of breath. I was so excited about this. This is a big win. My wife is having a baby tomorrow, our third one, so a pretty big weekend for us.”

Pitbull and Ice Cube Entertain the 50K+ Crowd, LA Sports Stars Give the Command

It was an exhibition race—but what an exhibition. Rapper Pitbull, who co-owns Trackhouse Racing with Justin Marks, warmed up the crowd with a 45-minute set before the green flag. At the halfway break in the 150-lap event, crews changed tires and made adjustments to the Next Gen cars as rapper Ice Cube filled the Coliseum with loud, rhythmic music.

A pantheon of California sports stars—among them former Southern Cal tailback Reggie Bush and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts—joined NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in a corps of grand marshals and shouted the command to start engines.

The Clashes at the LA Coliseum

The race itself crystallized into a battle between Logano, Busch, Larson and Austin Dillon. After the final restart, Larson briefly took second from Busch, who regained the spot with more than 20 laps left and charged after Logano. 

“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do—keep the tires underneath me,” said Busch, who led a race-high. “When I got close, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to try more and pounce at an opportunity,’ and just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps and that was it. Disappointing, obviously. 

“Come out here and win the pole, and lead laps, run up front. The finish goes green and it’s not chaotic and we can’t win, so it sucks. Congratulations to my son (Brexton Busch) – he won yesterday. That’s cool. I was trying to match him. He’s winning more than me these days, so somebody better send him a contract.”

The Top-Ten Finishers

Dillon passed Larson to finish third, and Erik Jones ran fourth after overtaking the reigning Cup Series champion in the closing laps. Larson held fifth, as William Byron, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick completed the top-ten

Qualifying and Heat Races

Busch earned the pole position for the main event with a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday’s first heat race, with Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney joining him in the Clash as the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers.

Blaney used his bumper to shove past Denny Hamlin to claim the final transfer spot from the opening heat.

In fact, drivers who started first won all four heat races, with no one else leading a lap. Tyler Reddick dominated Heat 2—winning by a full straightaway—as Chase Briscoe, Dillon and Custer qualified behind him.

Driving for Kaulig Racing’s newly minted NASCAR Cup Series team, Haley took the third heat, with Byron, Bell and Chase Elliott joining him in the main event. In Heat 4, Logano and Larson ran one-two, with defending Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell and Jones taking the final two transfer positions. 

Last Chance Qualifyers

Hamlin made the Clash by winning the first of two Last Chance Qualifiers, with Harvick and Allmendinger finishing second and third to advance. 

If the first LCQ was relatively tame by short-track standards, the second was utter chaos. After hitting everything but the lottery, as FOX broadcaster Mike Joy put it, Ty Dillon took the checkered flag but was demoted to the rear for jumping the final restart with three of the 50 laps left.

That gave Ryan Preece the race win and the final two transfer spots to Bubba Wallace and Harrison Burton, who was spun while leading on lap 47.

The second LCQ featured seven cautions and saw strong contenders Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman eliminated when their cars sustained irreparable damage.

Up Next for the NASCAR Cup Series

The NASCAR Cup Series will return to action February 15-20 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Cup Series Race – Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles, California

Sunday, February 6, 2022

               1. (4)  Joey Logano, Ford, 150.

               2. (1)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 150.

               3. (10)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 150.

               4. (16)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 150.

               5. (8)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 150.

               6. (7)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 150.

               7. (14)  Cole Custer, Ford, 150.

               8. (11)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150.

               9. (21)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 150.

               10. (19)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 150.

               11. (15)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 150.

               12. (22)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 150.

               13. (9)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 150.

               14. (5)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 150.

               15. (23)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 149.

               16. (12)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 149.

               17. (13)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 147.

               18. (20)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 146.

               19. (3)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, Accident, 116.

               20. (18)  Ryan Preece, Ford, Oil Pressure, 75.

               21. (2)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Drivetrain, 53.

              22. (6)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, Drivetrain, 53.

               23. (17)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Power Steering, 52.

The Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum Stats

Average Speed of Race Winner:  39.029 mph.

Time of Race:  0 Hrs, 57 Mins, 39 Secs. The Margin of Victory:  0.877 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  Five for zero laps.

Lead Changes:  Five among three drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Reddick 1;K. Busch 2-3;T. Reddick 4-53;K. Busch 54-115;J. Logano 116-150.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch two times for 64 laps; Tyler Reddick two times for 51 laps; Joey Logano one time for 35 laps.