Rick Ware Racing: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

NKP #41: Ryan Preece, Stewart Haas Racing, United Rentals Ford Mustang and #51: Justin Haley, Rick Ware Racing, Walmart Health & Wellness Ford Mustang

Justin Haley, driver of the No. 51 Walmart Health & Wellness Ford Mustang

●  Qualified 10th for Feature in final practice.

●  Finished 21st in Feature, completing 135 of 151 laps (Engine).                      

“I’m really proud of the effort from everyone at Rick Ware Racing. We were having a good night. Early in the race, we were able to make some gains and, as it went on, you either get better or fall off, and once we lost some track position we definitely had some of that fall-off. I think we would’ve been alright at the end. I feel like we could’ve gained a few more positions before it blew up, but overall I’m just really proud of how we did tonight and I can’t wait to get some more time with the team and show everyone what we’ve been working on.”

Kaz Grala, driver of the No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang 

●  34th in final practice, did not advance to Feature.

“I like the track a lot. It’s definitely quirky. It’s different than anywhere I’ve ever been in anything, but I feel like we started out of the box a little bit far off there at the beginning and took a swing for that second practice that ended up actually being too much. Right in time for qualifying I felt like we got the balance better. We were finally in the mix and our lap times were close. We just missed it by a little over a 10th (of a second). So, I mean, the times were so tight that a little bit went a long way here. I feel proud of our effort, we beat a couple of cars that we probably shouldn’t have. It seemed like anybody that just missed it a little bit or hit it a little bit could have swung anywhere on that sheet there. We were just on the wrong end of it, unfortunately, but it was good working with everybody here for the first time. I think we got our communication down a little bit. I would’ve liked to be in the race tonight. I feel like, had we had one more practice, maybe we would’ve been better, but I think we can leave here with our heads up as far as who we were competitive with. I mean, this field this year is so tight. Not only the drivers being great, but there really aren’t any easy teams to beat out there anymore, either. Going into it, there were going to be huge names with huge organizations that we weren’t going to race tonight. We were hoping to be an upset and I’m glad the No. 51 got in there. That’s certainly an upset, so that’s cool for those guys. At least we’re in good company as far as who didn’t make the race, but I think if we were to do it over, I think we would’ve had a chance.”

Race Notes:

●  Denny Hamlin won the Busch Light Clash by .61 of a second over runner-up Kyle Busch. Ryan Blaney rounded out the podium.  

●  Eleven of the 23 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum kicked off its 101st anniversary with the Busch Light Clash.

Next Up:

The official start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season begins with Daytona Speedweek Feb. 14-18 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Daytona 500 qualifying takes place at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 14 with live coverage on FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Only the top-two positions will be locked into the 66th Daytona 500. The rest of the field will earn their respective starting positions in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel – twin 150-mile heat races that set the rest of the Daytona 500 field. The Duel gets underway at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 with live coverage on FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Daytona Speedweek then culminates with the Daytona 500 at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


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