Wave the green flag it’s time to Clash in Los Angeles

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Pull the seat belts tight and start your engines because the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is upon us, and for the third consecutive year the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will play host to the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum (Sunday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), but this time the annual special event will be joined by the NASCAR Mexico Series, which will also start their 2024 season this weekend with the King Taco La Batalla en El Coliseo (Sunday, Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1, FOX Deportes and MRN) – the first-ever NASCAR Mexico Series race in the state of California.

“This is a tremendous win for our fans and our sport,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President, Racing Development and Strategy. “Not only will the fans see the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series in action, but they will also bear witness to the talent and skill that is found within the NASCAR Mexico Series. I can’t think of a better way to begin our 2024 season.”

How to view all the action this weekend at Los Angeles

This year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be the 46th running of the annual non-points exhibition race that has been hosted by the NASCAR Cup Series since 1979. The weekend’s schedule is packed with on-track activity. Below is where to tune-in for this weekend’s racing action:

  • Busch Light Clash Practice on FS1 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)
  • Busch Light Clash Qualifying Heat Races on FS1 from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
  • King Taco La Batalla en El Coliseo on FS1, FOX Deportes from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET (Sunday)
  • Busch Light Clash Last Chance Qualifiers Race on FOX from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ET (Sunday)
  • Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Race on FOX from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET (Sunday)

In addition, the NASCAR Mexico Series race will be on Fox Sports 3 in Mexico, and available pan regionally on Claro Sports and the D Motors channel on DirecTV.

MGK named race break entertainer for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

GRAMMY-nominated and multi-platinum recording artist Machine Gun Kelly, also known as MGK, has been named this weekend’s entertainer and will give a show-stopping race break performance during the 2024 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 4 (on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“Machine Gun Kelly is the true embodiment of what it means to be a modern-day rock star,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “We’re thrilled to have as captivating of an artist as MGK bring in the 2024 season during the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.”

The Cleveland, Ohio, native has been on a tear since releasing his first Rock/Pop Punk album Tickets to My Downfall in 2020. It became his first No. 1 effort with songs like “bloody valentine” and “my ex’s best friend” going platinum.

In 2022, MGK continued to top the charts with Mainstream Sellout, his second album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album was nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY Award for “Best Rock Album” and was supported with a sold-out tour. The US leg ended back in Cleveland to a crowd of 50,000 fans, making him the first and only Ohio native to sell out FirstEnergy Stadium.

In addition to putting on a spectacular race-break performance, MGK will show off both his signature nail polish line UN/DN LAQR and his Cleveland-based 27 Club Coffee lounge with pop ups at the NASCAR Fan Fest. 

Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Format for 2024

The NASCAR Cup Series is back in L.A. and with a new season, comes a new format to keep everyone on their toes.

In 2024, the field is open to 40 entrants to participate in this weekend’s events and earn a spot in the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum; currently 36 drivers are entered (click this link to view Preliminary Entry List).

 Format Rundown: How to make the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum:

  • Heat Race Starting Lineup – The field will be spilt into (3) practice groups, with each group receiving (3) sessions. Each competitor’s fastest lap time from their final practice session will determine the starting lineup for the heat races.
  • Heat Races – Four heat races of 25 laps each with only green flag laps counted – no overtime in play. The top five from each heat race advance through to The Clash.
  • Last Chance Qualifier – Cars that do not transfer to The Clash will compete in the Last Chance Qualifier Race with their starting position determined by where they finished in their respective heat races. The Last Chance Qualifier Race is 75 laps with only green flag laps counted – no overtime in play. The top two finishers in the Last Chance Qualifier Race will transfer to The Clash. 
  • Starting Lineup – The first 22 starting spots for The Clash are set through finishing positions in the Heat Races and the Last Chance Qualifying Race. The 23rd and final starting spot is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2023 season driver points standings who did not already transfer into The Clash.
  • Main Feature – The main event, The Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum, will feature 23 drivers competing for 150 laps with only green lag laps counted – the race must end under green. A timed break will be observed at the halfway point of the race (Lap 75).

NASCAR brings the excitement back to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has been a familiar name in sports for nearly 100 years, having been home to two Olympic Games, two NFL Super Bowls, the 1959 World Series and several collegiate and professional teams such as the USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, the Los Angeles Rams, the Raiders and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Its size and location, combined with its history, has made it iconic, even earning a State and Federal Historic Landmark title in 1984. 

In 2022, NASCAR added its name to the prestigious list of sports entities that have competed at the historic hallowed grounds in L.A. and this season, looks to return to turn up the excitement even more. Just like the last two years, the Coliseum has been transformed to a quarter-mile short track where drivers will battle it out in a unique exhibition-style event to open up the 2024 season. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (2022-2024) is the third different venue to hold the Busch Light Clash, joining Daytona International Speedway, where it was hosted from 1979 to 2020 and the DAYTONA Road Course which hosted the event in 2021.

Racing for medals in NASCAR only happens at the Clash

NASCAR announced last year that the top-three finishers in the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals – the only event in the sport where medals are awarded. This year, once again the competitors will have a chance to earn the medals in the non-points exhibition event.

The medal ceremony will take place on a podium in Victory Lane, which is located beneath the Olympic cauldron at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Jostens will once again produce these exquisite medals, along with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Trophy that’s presented to the winner of the season-opening exhibition.

Last season, Martin Truex Jr. took home the gold, Austin Dillon grabbed the silver and Kyle Busch pocketed the bronze.

Martin Truex Jr. looks to become fifth back-to-back Clash winner

Currently, 36 different drivers are entered to compete for the win this weekend, including last season’s victor Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 19 team. This season, Truex will look to defend his win and become just the fifth driver all-time, and the first since 2010, to win consecutive Clash races; joining Kevin Harvick (2009-10), Tony Stewart (2000-01), Ken Schrader (1990-91) and Neil Bonnett (1983-84).

Truex has participated in both Clash events at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, finishing 15th in 2022 and first last season. This weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Joe Gibbs Racing looks to extend Busch Light Clash wins record to a dozen

No organization has more wins in the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum than Joe Gibbs Racing, and this weekend they look to extend their wins in the non-points exhibition event to 12.

Last season, JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. added his name to the Clash wins list earning the organization its 11th Clash victory – three more than the next organization on the wins list (Richard Childress Racing with eight). 

Top Five Organizations in Wins in the Busch Light Clash (All-Time)

RankOrganizationBusch Light Clash WinsSeasons
1Joe Gibbs Racing112023, ’21, ’20, ’16, ’14, ’15, ’12, ’07, ’06, ’02, ’01
2Richard Childress Racing82013, ’10, ’09, 1995, ’93. ’91, ’88, ’86
3Hendrick Motorsports72019, ’08, ’05, ‘1997, ’94, ’90, ’89
4Team Penske52022, ’18, ’17, 11, ’98
5Yates Racing32004, ’00, 1996

Former Clash winners to watch in L.A.

Just six active drivers this weekend have earned a ticket to Victory Lane for the Busch Light Clash in their careers, and they might just be who you will want to keep an eye on this Sunday. 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (2006, 2014, 2016) leads all active drives in Clash wins with three. Kyle Busch (2012, 2021) and Joey Logano (2017, 2022) are the only other two active drivers with multiple Clash wins entered this weekend. 

Active NASCAR Cup Series Drivers with Busch Light Clash Wins

No. of WinsActive WinnersSeasons
3Denny Hamlin2006, 2014, 2016
2Kyle Busch2012, 2021
2Joey Logano2017, 2022
1Brad Keselowski2018
1Erik Jones2020
1Martin Truex Jr.2023

Statistical leaders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Looking back at the stats from two Busch Light Clash events at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and several drivers have performed at a high level on California’s 0.25-mile short track. Below is a look at all the stat leaders at the Los Angeles Coliseum heading into this weekend.

  • Wins – 1 – Joey Logano (2022) and Martin Truex Jr. (2023)
  • Runner-Up Finishes – 1 – Kyle Busch (2022) and Austin Dillon (2023)
  • Top Fives – 2 – Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson
  • Laps Led – 64 laps (21.3% of laps completed) – Kyle Busch
  • Driver Rating – 122.6 – Kyle Busch (only driver with a +100 rating)
  • Average Running Position – 5.057 – Kyle Busch
  • Fastest Laps Run – 30 laps – Kyle Busch
  • Green Flag Passes – 56 – Christopher Bell
  • Laps In The Top 15 – 300 (100%) – Austin Dillon, William Byron, Kyle Larson

NASCAR Next Gen is ready for 2024

After a record-blistering first two seasons, the Next Gen car returns for another statistic filled 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, and it all gets started this weekend in Los Angeles.

Collaborating with drivers and teams over the offseason, NASCAR has announced the following changes to the Next Gen car short track and road course package – starting in 2024 the NASCAR Cup Series cars will run a simplified diffuser at a majority of tracks measuring one-mile or shorter, as well as all road courses. (Note: Bristol and Dover excluded.) The simplified diffuser will not be used at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The details of the components updated:

  • 2023 short track/road course splitter stuffers
  • No engine panel strakes
  • 3-inch spoiler
  • Simplified Diffuser
  • Simplified Diffuser Strakes

Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR Vice President, Vehicle Performance: “At the test, we noticed an improvement in traffic. The car did not lose rear downforce when it yawed, which is an issue we fight with the current car. The drivers would be able to slide around more on the short tracks and really have to be less careful about putting power down. We felt that would be a benefit, and that was the big takeaway from the driver feedback. At the test, they felt they could really tell that it was more forgiving. They felt they could slide the car.”

NASCAR is looking for these updates to improve the already impressive competition the Next Gen car produces. Last season, the Next Gen car continued to exceed expectations on the competition-side. 

  • The 2023 season produced 15 different Cup winners, which is tied with the 2005, 2012 and 2017 seasons for the fifth-most winners through a 36-race season in the Modern Era (1972-Present).
  • With a total of 15 different pole winners, the 2023 season is tied with the 1982, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2014 and 2019 seasons for the fourth-most pole winners through the 36 races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-Present). 
  • The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season’s 1.110-seconds average Margin of Victory is the third-closest through a 36-race season since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993 (31 seasons total). The 2014 season holds the series record for the closest average Margin of Victory through 36 races with a 0.909-second; followed by the 2022 season (1.011-secs.).
  • The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 1,808 Green Flag Passes for the Lead through the 36 points-paying races of the year – series-most since 2007 (last 17 seasons).
  • A total of 21 of 36 races during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season produced positive year-over-year percentage changes (58.3%). The five largest positive percentage changes were Martinsville-1 (+480%), Homestead-Miami (+300%), Richmond-1 (+288.9%), Bristol (+250%) and Martinsville-2 (+233.3%). 
  • The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season produced 153,672 Total Green Flag Passes in the 36 points-paying races of the year – the series-most since 2007 (last 17 seasons). This is the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has eclipsed 150k Total Green Flag Passes in a single season since the inception of the statistical category in 2005 (no matter the number of races). The series accomplished the feat in 34 races.
  • A total of 28 of the 36 NASCAR Cup Series races this season have produced a positive year-over-year percentage change in Total Green Flag Passes (77.8%).

Make sure to tune-in this Sunday for the start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

Busch Light Clash: By The Numbers

Below are key statistical numbers stemming from the Busch Light Clash events from 1979-2023:

.013  Closest Margin of Victory in seconds by Kyle Busch over Tony Stewart in 2012, the closest margin in the Clash at Daytona history

.058  Second closest Margin of Victory in seconds by Kurt Busch over Jamie McMurray in 2011, the second-closest margin in the Clash at Daytona history

.080  Third closest Margin of Victory in seconds by Dale Earnhardt over Sterling Marlin in 1995, the third-closest margin of victory in the Clash at Daytona history

.786  The 22nd closest Margin of Victory (in seconds) all-time for the Busch Light Clash exhibition race, and the closest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by Martin Truex Jr. over Austin Dillon in 2022.

– Fewest laps led by a winner, one and it has occurred nine times – Rusty Wallace (1998), Neil Bonnett (1983-84), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Dale Jarrett (2000 and 2004), Kevin Harvick (2009) and Erik Jones (2020) – all at Daytona International Speedway – Kyle Busch (2021) at Daytona International Speedway Road Course.

2.75 – Best average finish in The Clash – Dale Earnhardt holds the best average finish of any driver with multiple starts.

– Number of different venues the Busch Light Clash event has been held – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona International Speedway Road Course, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

 Number of drivers to win the Busch Light Clash from the pole or first starting position – Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987), Ken Schrader (1989) and Denny Hamlin (2014).

5 – Drivers who have won the event in their first appearance – Buddy Baker, 1979; Dale Earnhardt, 1980; Jeff Gordon, 1994; Dale Jarrett, 1996; Denny Hamlin, 2006. 

 Most Busch Light Clash wins all-time – Dale Earnhardt, the series leader (1980, ‘86, ‘88, ‘91, ‘93, ‘95).

 All-time fewest starters in the field for the Busch Light Clash (1981).

12  Most number of starts before winning the event – Martin Truex Jr (2023).

14  Highest number of different leaders in a Busch Light Clash event (2009, Daytona International Speedway).

22  Highest number of wins by a manufacturer in the Busch Light Clash – Chevrolet.

22  Most consecutive starts in the Busch Light Clash by a driver – Jeff Gordon (1994-2015).

27 – Kevin Harvick’s starting position in 2009, the lowest by a race winner in the event’s history.

28 – Number of lead changes in the 2011 event, highest number since race began in 1979.

47 – Most laps led by the winner of a Busch Light Clash event – Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008 at Daytona.

64 – Most laps led by a driver that did not win the Busch Light Clash event – Kyle Busch in 2022 at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

197.802 mph – The fastest average speed of the race for the Busch Light Clash – in 1987 at Daytona International Speedway and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.


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