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Race report
NASCAR Cup Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum

Truex wins chaotic Clash at the L.A. Coliseum

Martin Truex Jr. held off a late charge from Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch to win Sunday night’s preseason Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

With a nudge, Truex got around then-leader Ryan Preece with 24 of the 150 laps remaining and managed to stay out front despite two late-race cautions and restarts.

This season’s Clash race was held on a ¼-mile made-from-scratch asphalt oval built inside the iconic coliseum for the second consecutive year.

Joey Logano won the inaugural event last year and ended up winning the series championship. Truex at one point was considering retirement last year but signed another one-year with JGR to remain in the No. 19 Toyota this season.

“Just a really good race car. The guys did a really good job,” Truex said. “Last year was a pretty rough season for us with no wins.

“To come here and kick it off this way, I’m just really proud of these guys. Tonight we just about persevere and not give up and just battle through. We found ourselves in the right spot in the end.

“Sometimes they work out your way and sometimes they don’t. Tonight, it went our way.”

Surviving the chaos

Truex ended up clearing Dillon by 0.786 seconds for the victory. The race featured 16 cautions and caution laps did not count in the event.

Busch, Truex’s former teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third, Alex Bowman was fourth and Kyle Larson ended up fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin and William Byron.

Stage 2

Following the halftime break, the cars restarted in the position in which the first segment ended with Wallace out front, followed by Truex, Austin Dillon, Byron and Reddick.

Ty Gibbs went around in Turn 2 on Lap 77 to bring out a caution. When the race resumed on Lap 77, Bubba Wallace remained in the lead followed by Truex and Austin Dillon.

Both Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney spun in Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 79 to bring out the seventh caution of the race. The race resumed on Lap 79 with Wallace still in command.

Several cars, including Michael McDowell, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney piled up on the backstretch on Lap 82 to bring out another caution. There was a brief red flag to clean up fluid from the track.

The race returned to green on Lap 82 with Wallace still in command.

Todd Gilliland spun in Turn 2 and stopped on the track before a green flag lap was completed. The race resumed on Lap 82 with Wallace still out front.

Preece powered around the outside of Wallace entering Turn 3 and grabbed the lead for the first time in the race.

Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell and A.J. Allmendinger got into each other in Turn 2 on Lap 86 to bring out the 10th caution of the race.

Logano got into Busch on Lap 87, which sent Busch around in the opposite direction on the track and forced NASCAR to display a caution. The race resumed on Lap 87 with Preece still in command.

With 50 laps remaining, Preece maintained a small but steady lead over Bowman as Truex ran third and Wallace fourth.

On Lap 107, Justin Haley got turned around in Turn 2 while running eighth following contact from Reddick. The race returned to green on Lap 107 with Preece still leading the way.

Chase Briscoe got sent around in Turn 4 on Lap 110 while running 10th after contact from Noah Gragson. Preece remained out front on the restart on Lap 110.

Blaney got knocked into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 114 to bring out the 14th caution of the race.

With a nudge, Truex got around Preece in Turn 4 on Lap 126 to grab the lead in the race for the first time.

With 20 laps remaining, Truex led the way followed by Preece and Austin Dillon,

On Lap 141, NASCAR was forced to throw a caution when Michael McDowell – who had fallen off the pace – came to a stop on the track in Turn 2 after missing the turn-in to the infield.

On the restart, Truex remained out front followed by Austin Dillon and Wallace.

Dillon knocked Wallace out of the wall and into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 144 and Wallace hit Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet in retaliation under caution. The race resumed on Lap 144 with Truex out front.

Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing on the podium

Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing on the podium

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

 

Stage 1

Aric Almirola, who started on the pole by virtue of his win the first heat race on Sunday, quickly moved into the lead on the opening lap.

On Lap 8, Denny Hamlin nudged his teammate Truex out of the groove to take over the second position.

Erik Jones got turned around off Turn 1 on Lap 17 to bring out the first caution. Jones eventually retired from the race. The race returned to green on Lap 17 with Almirola out front followed by Hamlin.

Hamlin nudged ahead of Almirola to take the lead on the restart.

On Lap 24, Blaney, Chase Elliott and Gibbs got into each other in a chain reaction accident in Turns 3 and 4 to bring out the caution. Daniel Suarez also caught a piece of the wreck.

The race returned to green on Lap 24 with Hamlin out front followed by Truex and Busch.

Allmendinger spun around in Turn 2 on Lap 43 to bring out the third caution of the race. The race returned to green on Lap 43 with Hamlin still in command.

Wallace, with a shove from Truex, got past Hamlin in Turn 4 and moved into the lead on the start of Lap 44.

With five laps to go in the first half, Wallace maintained his lead over Truex, followed by Austin Dillon, Byron and Reddick.

Hamlin spun off Turn 2 after contact with Chastain on Lap 74 to bring out a caution. In a two-lap shootout to the end of the first half, Wallace held off Truex with Austin Dillon in third.

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