Preview of the Busch Lght Clash at the Coliseum
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has played host to numerous college football showdowns, the World Series, the very first Super Bowl and the Olympic Games. It might seem an unlikely venue for auto racing, but then again, maybe not.
BetOnline customers who are also NASCAR fans will get a special treat on Sunday as NASCAR kicks off its season with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, which will take place at 8 PM ET on FOX. But that is just the end result of the competition. First there are qualifying races to see who can actually get into the field.
This is a short track, to say the least - it's only a quarter mile. So it doesn't take a whole lot for it to get crowded.
Winning the Clash was a good omen for Joey Logano last year at the Coliseum, as he was able to go on to win the Cup series title. He is listed at +1200 to win this event.
There has already been a round of qualifying on Saturday. Then those competitors will be flitered through heat races and "last chance races" until it is whittled down to a 27-car field, which represents an increase of four cars from last year.
While this race does indeed kick off the season, with the Daytona 500 to follow two weeks from now, there will be no Cup Series points awarded. There is, of course, prize money, but officially it is an exhibition.
Don't yourself though; no one's is going to be moving at half speed.
This is not a new race; it was instituted back in 1979 as a way to promote the Busch beer brand. But it has been known by a number of different names through the years, which is not unusual for NASCAR. So you may have seen it as the Busch Clash, Bud Shootout, Budweiser Shootout, Sprint Unlimited or Advance Auto Parts Clash.
It had always been held at Daytona International Speedway as part of Speedweeks. As we mentioned, this is a quarter-mile track, so the total distance of the main event race, with 150 laps, is just 37.5 miles. To give you some perspective, the oval at Dayton is 2.5 miles.
And yes, there has been a Busch presence in the winner's circle; Kyle has won it twice, while his brother Kurt has one victory.
Kyle checks on as the second favorite at BetOnline as we list all the drivers who are priced at +8000 (80-1) or lower:
Odds to Win Nascar Busch Light Clash
Christopher Bell +750
Kyle Busch +800
Chase Elliott +1000
Kyle Larson +1000
Denny Hamlin +1100
William Byron +1100
Joey Logano +1200
Justin Haley +1200
Ross Chastain +1400
Ryan Blaney +1400
Tyler Reddick +1400
Martin Truex Jr +1600
Chase Briscoe +1800
Kevin Harvick +2200
Aric Almirola +2800
Bubba Wallace Jr +2800
Daniel Suarez +2800
Alex Bowman +3300
Ryan Preece +3300
Austin Dillon +4000
Erik Jones +4000
AJ Allmendinger +6600
Austin Cindric +6600
Chris Buescher +6600
Ty Gibbs +6600
Brad Keselowski +8000
One of the more intriguing would-be entrants in this year's race is Ty Gibbs, whose grandfather, Joe Gibbs, is the Hall of Fame football coach and long-time owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. At age 20, Ty is a coming star, having won the Xfinity Series last year, and he made 15 starts in the Cup Series, scoring a top ten finish in Michigan. He suffered a mishap in Saturday practice, catching fire in the car in which he is replacing Kyle Busch, who moved on to Richard Childress Racing. So he was not permitted to qualify. But he'll be in a heat race.
Christopher Bell, Ty's teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing, is the favorite at +750. The former Camping World Truck Series champion finished third in the Cup Series standings last season and has been in the top ten in 42 of his 94 career Cup starts. He was also third fastest in Saturday qualifying, which means that he'll be on the pole in the third heat race.
The fastest driver overall on Saturday was Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (+1200), and by virtue of that he's got the pole in the first heat race. Haley got off to a quick start in the Cup Series, winning the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 in just his third career appearance, but he hasn't won since.
Maybe it's his time again.
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