NASCAR

Logano edges Kyle Busch to NASCAR Clash win at LA Coliseum

In the first competitive race for NASCAR’s Next Generation car in the Cup Series, the most revolutionary iteration of stock car in the sport’s history, Logano and Busch and battled up front virtually the entire 150-lap event.

Penske driver Logano finally grabbed the lead on lap 116 right before a caution was displayed for an accident involving reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson and Justin Haley.

Logano led the final 35 laps on his way to the non-points win, but with five tours remaining, Busch had closed to his rear bumper and the crowd on hand was sensing fireworks.

With one lap remaining, Busch got wide exiting Turn 2 and lost ground, allowing Logano to take the victory by 0.877 seconds.

“I can’t believe that we’re here at the LA Coliseum and we got the victory with the ol’ Shell Ford Mustang – just an amazing event,” Logano said.

“Congratulations NASCAR – it’s just a huge step in our industry to do this; put on an amazing race for everybody.

“I’m out of breath. I’m so excited about this, it’s a big win. My wife’s having a baby tomorrow – our third one – so it’s a pretty big weekend for us.”

Logano struggled in practice on Saturday but did manage to win one of the four heat races held on Sunday to set the field for the main event.

“The guys working on the car did an amazing job finding speed when we were slow,” he said.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil celebrates his race victory

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil celebrates his race victory

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“We were 28th or so on the board yesterday and made some good changes – worked with our team-mates – Ryan Blaney a lot. I owe a lot to him, too, to see some of the gains that they made and ultimately get the win.

“This is special to get the first Next Gen win, the first win out here in the Coliseum. It’s a special one, so we’re gonna have some fun and celebrate it.”

This season’s Clash race was held on a track other than Daytona for the first time since 1981 and on a quarter-mile made-from-scratch asphalt oval built inside the multi-purpose stadium.

Austin Dillon finished third, Erik Jones was fourth and Larson ended up fifth.

Busch, who started on pole by virtue of his win the first heat race on Sunday, was beaten at the line on lap one by Tyler Reddick, grabbed the lead back on lap two, only to see Reddick reclaim it on lap three.

With 25 laps remaining before the halftime break, Reddick maintained a steady lead over Busch.

On lap 64, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went around off Turn 4 with help from Harrison Burton to bring out a caution. Denny Hamlin appeared off the pace at the same time and immediately took his Toyota to the infield.

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing team reported a power steering problem, and he was unable to continue in the race. “Looks like the power steering belt came off and took the hose with it,” Hamlin said.

Just before the race returned to green, Chase Briscoe (Stewart-Haas Ford) was forced to pull off the track, as did Reddick, who was leading the race.

Tyler Reddick, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Guaranteed Rate

Tyler Reddick, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Guaranteed Rate

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

The race resumed on lap 64 with Busch the new leader, but two laps later 2020 Cup champion Chase Elliott spun in Turns 3 and 4 to bring out another caution. The race returned to green shortly thereafter, with Busch still leading over Logano.

Following the half-time break, the cars restarted in the position in which the first segment ended with Busch out front, followed by Logano, Haley and Byron.

On the restart, Larson used a three-wide move to take second as Logano dropped to third.

With 50 laps remaining, Busch had moved out to a little more than a second lead over Logano, with Larson in third.

On lap 115, NASCAR threw a caution as Blaney fell off the pace and needed to take his Penske Ford into the infield. Having been knocked out of the way by Jones, Blaney tossed his HANS device towards the Petty GMS driver.

Busch led Logano and Larson at the restart, but it proved short-lived – just as Logano passed Busch for the lead, contact between Larson and Haley sent the latter’s Kaulig Chevrolet into the wall.

Completing the top 10 were Byron, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, A.J. Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick.

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