NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Clash at the Coliseum

February 5, 2023

Track:  Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  
Race:   Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum
Date:   February 6, 2023

No. 2 Freightliner Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Heat 2 Start: 7th
Heat 2 Finish: 8th
Last Chance Qualifier Start: 5th
Last Chance Qualifier Finish: 5th (secured final spot in The Clash on 2022 Provisional Points)  
Main Event Start: 27th  
Main Event Finish: 25th
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 106/150
Points Position: N/A
Race Rundown: Austin Cindric was credited with a 25th-place finish when the checkered flag flew on Sunday evening's pre-season exhibition race at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Cindric started 27th after netting the provisional starting spot to advance to the Busch Light Clash. He slowly gained position ahead of the halfway break where the Freightliner Ford Mustang was scored in the 21st position. As the caution-filled race ensued, the No. 2 suffered nose damage that ultimately put a puncture in the radiator. Too severe to continue, the Team Penske entry was forced to retire early with just under 45 laps remaining. The defending DAYTONA 500 winner will officially get the season underway with the 65th running of the Great American Race on Sunday, February 19.
Cindric's Thoughts: "It was great to join the field and get our Freightliner Ford Mustang in front of the crowd at the LA Coliseum to start the year. We seemed to be making good progress, although we eventually got a bunch of nose damage trying to avoid a crash which put a puncture in our radiator. We'll move on to Daytona."

No. 12 Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Heat 3 Start: 9th
Heat 3 Finish: 4th
Main Event Start: 15th
Main Event Finish: 17th
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 150/150
Points Position: N/A
Race Rundown: After securing his spot in the Busch Light Clash following a fourth-place finish in the third heat race, Ryan Blaney wheeled the No. 12 Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford Mustang to a 17th-place finish in Sunday night's feature. Blaney made a charge towards the top 10 in the early going before contact in turn four on lap 24 sent him for a spin and placed him a lap down in 26th. Blaney got himself back on lead lap via the free pass shortly after the halfway break and broke into the top-10 on lap 112, but another on-track incident late in the race cut his run to the front short, resulting in a 17th-place finish.
Blaney's Thoughts: "I thought our Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford Mustang was pretty strong. We were able to move up through the field, even after getting shuffled to the back early. A couple times we were able to drive up into the top-10, but just got turned around. I'm excited for our team to get to Daytona in a couple weeks."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Heat 1 Start: 5th
Heat 1 Finish: 5th
Main Event Start: 17th
Main Event Finish: 16th
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 150/150
Points Position: N/A
Race Rundown: Reigning Busch Light Clash Champion Joey Logano started 17th in his return to Los Angeles and made the most of his opportunities to enter the top-10 by the feature's halfway break. He fought a loose handling condition for a majority of the second half of the race, still Logano wheeled the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang back into the top 10 by lap 81. Despite a flurry of late-race cautions scattering the field, Logano navigated his way in and out of trouble to salvage a 16th-place finish Sunday night. 
Logano's Thoughts: "It's clear the cars are closer now and that everyone's more comfortable behind the wheel. Everyone knew tonight if you couldn't get position on the restart - besides [Truex Jr.] and a couple others – it was tough to keep moving forward. Everyone from fifth to last was running the same speed. It just becomes a slug fest at that point. We're eyes forward on Daytona."