One Busch brother will start from the pole in the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum while the other will watch from the sidelines.
The 23-driver field is set after two Last Chance Qualifier races. After Denny Hamlin won the first LCQ race, the second race was marred by cautions and torn-up cars. And it was the second LCQ race that eliminated big-name drivers like Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski from competing in the main event (6 p.m. ET).
The top three finishers from each Last Chance Qualifier race advanced into the Busch Light Clash. From the first LCQ race, it was Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and AJ Allmendinger. The second LCQ race saw Ryan Preece declared the winner as Ty Dillon was disqualified for jumping the final restart, with Bubba Wallace advancing from second and Harrison Burton from third.
How it happened:
LCQ race 1
Hamlin started from the pole and went unchallenged in the first LCQ race to win and advance. He did so over Harvick, who finished second, and Allmendinger, who finished third.
Allmendinger took the final transfer spot on lap 30, moving around Ross Chastain. Chastain faded the rest of the way as Cody Ware finished fourth and Chris Buescher finished fifth. Chastain wound up sixth.
There was one caution in the first LCQ race. On lap six, rookie Todd Gilliland got into the back of Aric Almirola going into Turn 3. The contact sent Almirola hard into the outside wall, which ended his race.
“It was a bigger hit than I expected with as slow as we were going here,” said Almirola. “The 38 (Gilliland) just destroyed us. We had a decent start, and we were moving forward, and the 38 just drove in there a mile and tore us up.”
LCQ race 2
The second LCQ race was a lot more frantic, keeping the transfer positions up for grabs. Wallace started from the pole and led Austin Cindric and Kurt Busch when the first caution flew on lap 25. At the time, the top three had separated themselves from the field.
Alex Bowman took the lead from Wallace on lap 27 before Wallace pulled the crossover move. Bowman then got shoved backward as Busch went to second, and Harrison Burton battled for third with Dillon.
Busch took the lead with 20 laps to go before the second caution flew with 19 laps remaining because of a Ryan Preece spin.
On the ensuing restart in which Busch chose the inside and Dillon the outside lane, Dillon was penalized for jumping early. Dillon was sent to the rear of the field, and Burton moved into the transfer spot behind Busch and Wallace.
The third caution flew with nine laps to go as Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill tangled in Turn. Busch would clear the field on the restart, but the caution came out with eight laps to go when Cindric was spun by Dillon.
It got wild from there.
On the restart, Burton shoved Wallace into Turn 1, which resulted in Wallace getting into the back of his teammate and pushing Busch wide. Wallace took the lead over Burton, with Busch battling Dillon for third.
Burton then shoved Wallace out of the way for the lead with six laps to go. A lap later, Busch’s day was done when he was pushed into the outside wall in a chain reaction when Dillon got into the rear of Cindric, who door-slammed Wallace, who door-slammed Busch.
On the restart, Wallace spun Cindric in Turn 4 while Bowman hit the outside wall. The contact ended Bowman’s day.
Burton cleared the field on the restart with five laps to go before being spun by Dillon, who was shoved into the corner by Preece. On the final restart, Dillon cleared Preece and Wallace to cross the finish line first ahead of Preece and Wallace before being disqualified. AS a result, Burton was moved into the final transfer spot.
“Just got put on a bad spot on one of the restarts,” said Kurt Busch. “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 to not be in the A-main. We’re racing in the Coliseum. This is what it is all about. NASCAR did a great job putting this all together. Thanks to Monster Energy, Toyota, Jumpman, everybody with this team. We’re supposed to be in the A-Main, and we’re not.”
Failing to earn a spot in the Busch Light Clash: Cody Ware, Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain, Corey LaJoie, Todd Gilliland, B.J. McLeod, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Austin Cindric, Landon Cassill, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Ty Dillon.
The starting line- Kurt BuschKurup for the Busch Light Clash:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Tyler Reddick
3. Justin Haley
4. Joey Logano
5. Daniel Suarez
6. Chase Briscoe
7. William Byron
8. Kyle Larson
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10. Austin Dillon
11. Christopher Bell
12. Michael McDowell
13. Ryan Blaney
14. Cole Custer
15. Chase Elliott
16. Erik Jones
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Ryan Preece
19. Kevin Harvick
20. Bubba Wallace
21. AJ Allmendinger
22. Harrison Burton
23. Martin Truex Jr.