By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Sunday’s Busch Light Clash from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum seemed like Kyle Busch’s to lose.
After earning overall pole, winning Heat Race No. 1 and leading more laps than any other driver (64 of 150 laps), Busch was in prime contention to score his third victory in the exhibition race at a third different track.
The only man in his way, however, was Joey Logano.
After grabbing the race lead from Busch on a lap-115 restart, a quick caution flag gave Logano the inside lane for what ended up being the race’s final restart with 34 laps to go.
With no lapped traffic to aid Busch, lifeless tires under the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota couldn’t get him to the bumper of Logano’s Team Penske Ford in time. The result was a second-place finish for Busch.
“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do – keep the tires underneath me,” Busch said. “When I got close [to Logano], I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to try more and pounce at an opportunity.’ I just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps and that was it.
Racing for the first time in front of the Los Angeles crowd, Busch was hopeful to kick off the 2022 season with a second straight Clash victory. Despite the weekend pace, the trophy went elsewhere.
“Disappointing, obviously,” he said. “[We came] out here and won the pole, led laps, ran up front. The finish goes green and it’s not chaotic and we can’t win, so it sucks.
“Congratulations to my son [Brexton] – he won yesterday. That’s cool. I was trying to match him. He’s winning more than me these days, so somebody better send him a contract.”