Kyle Busch tops qualifying for the Clash at the L.A. Coliseum; Tyler Reddick second
Kyle Busch was the fastest qualifier in qualifying Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum, earning one of the pole positions for the four heat races that will determine the field Sunday for the main event in the Busch Light Clash.
Tyler Reddick (qualified second), Justin Haley (third) and Joey Logano (fourth) also will start first in the 25-lap heats. The top four drivers in each heat will transfer to the main event on the temporary 0.25-mile oval.
Daniel Suarez, Cole Custer, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson earned outside first-row starting spots in their heat races. The rest of the top 16 drivers who currently are starting in transfer spots: Ricky Stenhoues Jr., Harrison Burton, William Byron, Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell, and Landon Cassill.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here to see the speeds
Busch turned a 13.745-second lap (65.478 mph) in his No. 18 Toyota as only the top 12 of 36 qualifiers were able to able to break into the 13-second bracket.
“Whoever would have thunk it,” Busch told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little. “It’s pretty cool, just the difference of opportunity to come do something like this.
“NASCAR took a lot of flack on what this was going to look like and be, but we’re having a lot of fun, and it’s different. Looking forward to seeing what this place looks like tomorrow and having the opportunity to race this M&Ms Camry and keep it up front. That’s the thing now. We’re not in yet. We have to go through that heat race.”
Among those who will be facing a tall order to transfer into the main event are past Cup Series champions Brad Keselowski (30th), Kurt Busch (32nd) and Martin Truex Jr. (34th).
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Other notables who will be starting their heat races outside the transfer spots to the main event: Denny Hamlin (17th), Bubba Wallace (18th) and Kevin Harvick (23rd).
The qualifying session set the field for heat four 25-lap heat races beginning at 3 p.m. ET Sunday. The 150-lap main event will feature 23 cars — the top four finishers in the heats, plus the top three in two “last-chance” 50-lap qualifiers and a provisional.
Speeds were much faster during Saturday morning practice as 33 of 36 cars were in the 13-second bracket and averaging laps in the mid-60 mph range.
Elliott led the first NASCAR Cup Series session, turning a 13.455-second, 66.890-mph lap in the No. 9 Chevrolet. Kevin Harvick was second (13.457), followed by Chase Briscoe (13.470), Justin Haley and Kyle Busch.