Joey Logano made history on Sunday by winning the first ever Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.
After 150 laps around the new quarter-mile track, Logano found his way around Kyle Busch to earn his second career Clash win in 14 starts. The race was filled with beat-up bumpers, hot tempers, and a lot of laughs with Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer in the FOX television booth.
Busch had to settle for 2nd place, which pales in comparison to the $1.967 million purse that Logano took home. Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, and reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson rounded out the top five on Sunday.
“I can’t believe that we’re here,” Logano said after crossing the finish line. “This is an amazing event. Such a huge step in our industry to put on an amazing race for everybody. This is great. My wife’s having a baby tomorrow, our third one, pretty big weekend for us.”
The first 50 laps were nice and clean but then things changed. Tyler Reddick led 51 of the first 53 laps before a broken transaxle ended his run. “I was trying to get some heat in the tires, and I think I must have broke the transaxle,” Reddick said. “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.”
Denny Hamlin also saw his race come to an end when something broke on his Toyota. “Looks like the power steering belt evidently came off and took the hose with it, so we didn’t have steering abilities,” Hamlin said. “This is something you’ll probably see a lot of this year, fixing all the bugs that are going to happen.”
Ryan Blaney’s day was ended when he and Jones got together, and the Team Penske driver showed his frustration by throwing his HANS device at the driver of the No. 43 car. “He wants to destroy me for seventh,” Blaney said. “I don’t know…”
In the second half of the race, Larson took out Justin Haley when he thought the rookie was roughing him up. It was in fact Larson’s teammate William Byron that got into the back of Haley, which sent him into Larson. It was a hard hit for the Kaulig Racing driver. “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.”
Earlier in the day, all four heat races were won by the driver starting from pole position. The first three heats were largely uneventful but the final race was filled with caution flags and beat-up race cars. Six drivers (Hamlin, Preece, Harvick, Wallace, Allmendinger, and Burton advanced via the last chance qualifier races. Ty Dillon was penalized at the end of the second LCQ and was disqualified from the main event.
Some big names missed out on the main event on Sunday night, including two former series champions. Both Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch will have to wait until Daytona to make their first race of the season with their new teams. Others that did not make the 23-car field included Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher, and Ross Chastain.
With the Clash at the Coliseum in the rearview mirror, teams and drivers can now turn their full attention to Daytona. Practice for the Daytona 500 begins on Tuesday, February 15 and qualifying for the front row takes place on Wednesday. The two Duel races will run on Thursday, setting the stage for the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 20.