Story By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – LOS ANGELES, CA – Kyle Busch turned a lap in 13.745 seconds (65.489 mph) Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to pace single-car qualifying for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.
That means Busch will start from the pole in the first of four 25-lap heat races on Sunday, each featuring nine cars on the quarter-mile pavement track built specifically for the event, which features the competitive debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup Series car.
Tyler Reddick (13.761 seconds at 65.402 mph) qualified second to earn the pole for Sunday’s second heat race, followed by Justin Haley (64.790 mph) and Joey Logano (64.521 mph), who will start first in Heats 3 and 4, respectively.
The top four finishers in each heat will advance to the 150-lap Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum (6 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“I never would have thunk it,” said Busch, the only Toyota driver in the top 14 in time trials. “I don’t know, you know, it’s pretty cool. It’s just different with the opportunity to do something like this. NASCAR took a lot of flak on what this was going to look like and what it was going to be. But we’re having a great time. We had a bunch of fans come out just to witness the qualifying.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what this place will look like (Sunday) and have the opportunity to race this No. 18 Toyota and keep it up front. We’re not in (the main event) yet—we still have to go through that heat race.”
In fact, the only driver who is guaranteed a starting spot in the Busch Light Clash is Kyle Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion. There’s one provisional starting spot available to the top driver in points from 2021 who fails to make the show through the heats or two subsequent 50-lap last-chance qualifiers.
Three drivers will advance from each of the LCQs, with the provisional completing the 23-car Clash field.
Larson qualified eighth and will start on the outside of the front row in Heat 4. The other front-row starting spots in the heats go to Daniel Suarez (fifth), Cole Custer (sixth) and Chase Elliott (seventh).
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Harrison Burton, William Byron and defending Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell qualified ninth through 12th, respectively.