What to Watch: 2023 Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum


Cars prepare to race at the 2022 Busch Light Clash.
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Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum
(⏰ 8 p.m. ET | 📺 FOX, FOX Sports App | 📻 MRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the first exhibition race of the 2023 season.

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | Busch Light Clash 101

Location: Los Angeles, California
Race purse: $2,085,000
Grand marshal: Rob Lowe, actor, filmmaker and podcast host
Honorary starter: Caleb Williams, Heisman trophy winner
Race distance: 150 laps | 37.5 miles
Stages: Break at Lap 75
Entry list: See who’s at the Clash
Qualifying order/Starting lineup: More info on Heat races, qualifying


Key things to watch 🔑

Top story line

The offseason is finally over, and drivers and teams are eager to shake off the rust; so what better opening statement can you make than winning the first race of the season? Although it is an exhibition race, Joey Logano’s march to victory at the Coliseum in 2022 en route to his second Cup Series title showed that there might be some correlation between starting on the right foot and ending on the right one. As Logano looks to defend his Clash trophy, others will seek to bookend their season in a similar way that the Team Penske veteran accomplished last season. After an offseason that featured a flurry of driver and team personnel movement, the first winner of the 2023 season will almost certainly set the tone.

RELATED: Drivers who could make an early statement

History tells us…

There will be a new winner at the Busch Light Clash. In the last eight Clash races spanning back to Daytona International Speedway, Logano’s 2022 win made him the only repeat winner in that time span – an anomaly. As the field expands to 27 drivers this season, the largest since the 28-car field in 2009, the odds become even slimmer for the reigning Cup Series champion to conquer the Coliseum a second time.

Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch are the betting co-favorites to win, but watch out for…

AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger strapped into his Kaulig Racing entry in 2022 and put on a show for fans. After a poor effort in qualifying started him 21st for the main event, Allmendinger flashed his talent by finishing the race ninth overall. Sure, ninth may not look that impressive initially, but ‘Dinger tied Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones for the hypothetical ‘hard charger’ award by making up 12 positions on the track. But after a successful stint in the Xfinity Series, Allmendinger returns to the premier level ready to make a statement. His first race as a full-timer in the Next Gen era could be a storybook return on one of the sport’s biggest stages. | Analysis: Passing at the Coliseum

Familiar favorites ⭐️

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

– Paint Scheme Preview: Colors and schemes for the Clash | Pick a favorite
Power Rankings: Top 10 drivers with playoff spoiler potential | Read the full list
– Betting odds: Favorites, long shots to win at the Coliseum | BetMGM odds
– Season previews: Can Kyle Busch take RCR back to the glory days? | Team-by-team previews
Championship cards: Betting favorites to win the Cup Series championship | See the favorite

Hot off the press 📰

Key stories and breaking news from the week leading up to the race.

– New year, new rules: NASCAR announced rules modifications | Learn more
– Safety:
Safety enhancements made to Next Gen and data collection mandated | Read more
– Here we go:
NASCAR gears up for landmark 75th anniversary season | Read more
– Garage 56:
Testing in Daytona ramps up ahead of Le Mans | Read more | Jimmie among driver lineup
– Eyes on the prize:
Key milestones for drivers to watch ahead of 2023 | Read more
– ‘Stacking Pennies:’
Ryan Preece joins the podcast to talk promotion | Listen here
– Chicago Street Race:
General admission tickets are now on sale | Learn more
– Team news:
Joe Gibbs Racing expands partnership with Interstate Batteries | Read more
– For the fans:
NASCAR Fan Rewards launches as part of 75th season | Learn more
– Rolex 24:
Meyer Shank Racing wins 24-hour race at Daytona | Race recap

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy and Fan Rewards.

– Fan Rewards: New in 2023, get rewarded for your participation! | Learn more
– Betting insight: Expert oddsmakers looking for answers on who to pick Sunday | Read full analysis
– Fantasy Live: A new season of NASCAR Fantasy Live will begin with the Daytona 500 | Tips for 2023
– NASCAR BetCenter: Don’t miss your chance to make picks each week | Visit the BetCenter
– Going all the way:
2023 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Touching down in LA

Returning to the famed Coliseum for a second consecutive year, relive some key moments and highlights from the inaugural race.

SPECIAL FEATURE: What to do in LA when visiting for the Clash

– Building it back: Coliseum construction complete and ready for racing | Photos from construction
– Winner, winner: All-time winners of the Busch Light Clash | From Daytona to LA
– Memory lane: Joey Logano holds off Kyle Busch to win inaugural race | Full 2022 race recap
Race Rewind: Top five moments from Logano’s historic win | Watch them here
See for yourself: Photos from the 2022 Clash at The Coliseum | Scroll through them

Take some notes 📝

Five hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

The 2023 Clash is the 45th running of the event and just the second year held outside of Daytona since its inception in 1979.
Twenty-seven cars in the 2023 Clash will be the second largest field behind 28 in 2009.
Ford won three of the last six Clashes after Logano in 2022 — its only wins in the last 18 years.
The first 52 laps of the 2022 race went green; the longest green-flag stretch of the race.
Only twice has a team swept the top-two finishing positions in the Clash: Hendrick Motorsports in 1990 and Team Penske in 2018.

Quote of the week 🎙

A notable quote from one star of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

– “I’m looking forward to going back. NASCAR has done a great job putting this event together, and I know there has been a lot of effort put in when you look at the celebrities coming out and the musical acts. It’s a fun atmosphere and an exciting way to start the season. From a racing perspective, we definitely want to have a better showing than we did last year, and I think we will. We improved so much from the start of the season to the end, and everyone has worked really hard this offseason, so it’s always fun to see where we stack up.” — Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and co-owner of 23XI Racing

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