Joey Logano held off Kyle Busch to claim the win in the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum and the debut race of the Next Gen race car.
Logano led the final 35 laps. He and Busch were battling for the race lead when the final caution flew on lap 116, with Logano deemed the leader. Once the race restarted, Logano ran smoothly to the end while Busch used up his tires trying to mount a challenge.
Logano and Busch had driven away from third place Austin Dillon over the final laps to decide the race win between them. Logano led 35 laps en route to his second Clash win.
“I can’t believe it; we’re here,” Logano said. “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.”
Busch started from the pole and led a race-high 64 laps.
“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do — keep the tires underneath me,” Busch said. “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, (to) come out here and win the pole, and lead laps, run upfront.
“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.”
Dillon finished third ahead of Erik Jones in fourth, and Kyle Larson completed the top five. William Byron finished sixth, Cole Custer was seventh, and Christopher Bell finished eighth. A.J. Allmendinger finished ninth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
The 150-lap event went green to the checkered flag and was a relatively clean race. While there were five caution flags, two were for accidents from contact, and a third was for a single-car spin.
Tyler Reddick was quick from the drop of the green flag. Reddick started second and led 51 laps, but his race ended because of a mechanical failure. Under the first caution on lap 53, Reddick stopped on the frontstretch and needed to be pushed into the infield.
Three drivers, including Reddick, were knocked out of the race at the first caution. Denny Hamlin was the first to pull off the track because of a broken power steering belt. Chase Briscoe then came to a stop and needed to be pushed into the infield before Reddick also retired.
Elliott spun on lap 66. Over his team radio, the former series champion said that he was locking the front tire up and then got high and free into Turn 4 and spun.
Busch led the way over Logano, Justin Haley, and William Byron at the halftime caution.
Ryan Blaney slowed on lap 116 to bring out a caution. Unhappy with contact from Erik Jones that damaged the rear suspension and sent him behind the wall, Blaney threw his HANS device at Jones as he drove by under caution.
“He wants to destroy me for seventh — don’t really make no sense,” said Blaney, who did return to the race. “I don’t know. Just kind of riding around and just ran into the back of me and killed our car. Yeah, I was mad. But you’ll have that.”
The final caution was the result of Justin Haley and Kyle Larson colliding. Haley was to the inside of Larson and was shoved into the inside wall, which destroyed the left front of his race car.
Logano chose the inside lane for the final restart with Larson outside. Busch restarted third.
There were five cautions in the Busch Light Clash, but caution laps did not count. There were five lead changes among three drivers.
(4) Joey Logano, Ford, 150. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 150. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 150. (16) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 150. (8) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 150. (7) William Byron, Chevrolet, 150. (14) Cole Custer, Ford, 150. (11) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150. (21) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 150. (19) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 150. (15) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 150. (22) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 150. (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 150. (5) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 150. (23) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 149. (12) Michael McDowell, Ford, 149. (13) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 147. (20) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 146. (3) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, Accident, 116. (18) Ryan Preece, Ford, Oil Pressure, 75. (2) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Drivetrain, 53. (6) Chase Briscoe, Ford, Drivetrain, 53. (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Power Steering, 52.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 39.029 mph.
Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 57 Mins, 39 Secs. Margin of Victory: .877 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 0 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 3 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 2 times for 64 laps; Tyler Reddick 2 times for 51 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 35 laps.