Kyle Busch’s 13.745-second/65.478 mph lap on the temporary quarter-mile track at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was fastest in a qualifying session Saturday for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash exhibition event. As a result, Busch will start on the pole for the first of four 25-lap “heat” races Sunday. Those heat races will determine the starting grid for the 150-lap Clash, Sunday’s main event.
“I never would have thunk it,” Busch said. “I don’t know, you know, it’s pretty cool. It’s just different with the opportunity to do something like this. 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 #18 Toyota and keep it up front. We’re not in [the Clash] yet; we still have to go through that heat race.”
The fastest four drivers in Saturday’s qualifying session each will start on the pole for one of the preliminary heat races. Tyler Reddick was second to Busch on Saturday’s qualifying speed chart, so he’ll start first in the second heat. Justin Haley, who was third in qualifying, will start on the pole for the third heat race, and Joey Logano will be on the pole for the fourth heat.
Just as the top-four in qualifying on Saturday set the poles for the heat races, the fifth through eighth-place qualifiers will occupy the second starting positions in the heats. Daniel Suarez will start alongside Busch on the front row for the first heat race.
“Well, that was a good time now that I got,” Suarez said. “Listen, I can really tell how the old car was going to drive here. I honestly don’t think we all care because we are in the next chapter and that is the past. Now, we have to think about the new car. I think the new car is performing amazing. Very, very happy with it and everything we have done so far. Everyone at Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet, everyone has done a great job. We have a good piece and now we have to go out there and have fun and make the most out of it.”
Cole Custer will start second in the second heat race, Chase Elliott in the third heat and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson in the fourth.
Early in the 36-car qualifying session Saturday, the provisional pole changed hands several times until Haley went out 12th in the qualifying order. He, then, held the provisional top spot for awhile until Reddick went out 24th and bettered him. Busch made his qualifying attempt late in the session as the 28th driver to make a qualifying lap.
QUALIFYING RESULTS AND HEAT RACE LINEUPS