Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
There is one driver who is already locked into the Busch Light Clash preseason NASCAR Cup Series exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is unofficially scheduled to get underway this Sunday, February 5 with the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
This marks the second consecutive year in which the flat, purpose-built, quarter-mile ova inside the home of the USC Trojans will play host to the Busch Light Clash.
It had been held exclusively at Daytona International Speedway for 43 consecutive years, including 42 straight years on the oval, since it began back in 1979.
The format for this year’s race is like the format for last year’s race. A single-car qualifying session is set to determine the starting lineups for the four 25-lap heat races, with the fastest qualifier on pole for the first heat race, the second fastest qualifier on pole for the second, the third fastest qualifier on pole for the third, and the fourth fastest qualifier on pole for the fourth.
The top five finishers in each of the four heat races lock into the 150-lap main event, while everybody else competes in one of the two 50-lap last chance qualifier races. The top three finishers in those two races also transfer to the main event.
But 27 NASCAR Cup Series drivers, not 26, are set to compete in the main event.
This is because the 27th spot is reserved for the driver who finished highest in the 2022 point standings, among those not already locked into the field.
This means that, no matter what happens in the single-car qualifying session, the heat races, and the last chance qualifiers, 2022 champion Joey Logano is already locked into this year’s Busch Light Clash.
Even if the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, who won the Busch Light Clash last year, finds himself not among the 26 drivers to qualify for the race via the heat races or the last chance qualifiers, he would be in because nobody finished higher than he did in last year’s standings.
Second place in last year’s standings was Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain, while third was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell and fourth was Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott.
There are 36 cars on the entry list for the Busch Light Clash. All 36 cars are chartered cars; there are no non-chartered cars set to compete in the race. Fox is set to broadcast the event live from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 5, so start a free trial of FuboTV today!