Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Predictions, Odds Picks (Cup Series)

  • With a new race track and a new car, the Clash will be a study in unpredictability.
  • Kyle Busch seems to have a penchant for achieving “firsts” in NASCAR racing.
  • Will Kyle Larson’s versatility come into play in the season-opening exhibition?

Busch Light Clash Odds

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Winner Odds
Martin Truex Jr. +600
Denny Hamlin +600
Chase Elliott +650
Kyle Larson +750
Joey Logano +750
Kyle Busch +800
Ryan Blaney +1200
William Byron +1400
Brad Keselowski +1800
Kevin Harvick +1800
Alex Bowman +1800
Christopher Bell +2000
Kurt Busch +2500
Austin Cindric +4000
Tyler Reddick +4000
Aric Almirola +4500
Ross Chastain +7000

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Busch Light Clash 2022

As an exhibition race, the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum doesn’t count in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, but it’s nevertheless a milestone event for a variety of other reasons.

First and foremost, it marks the debut of NASCAR’s new Next Gen race car, a radical departure from the Gen 6 car that has served the Cup Series for the past nine seasons.

Second, it’s a short-track race on a quarter-mile bullring built specifically for this event in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. As such, the Clash is a beta test for possible future stadium racing at other venues.

Third, the race brings NASCAR to a new audience. The sanctioning body estimates that roughly 70 percent of the fans in the stands at the Coliseum will be watching a NASCAR race live for the first time.

The event itself will be contested over 150 laps (37.5 miles) with a break after Lap 75. Caution laps do not count in the total. The main event will be preceded by four 25-lap heat races and two last-chance qualifiers to compete the 23-driver field.

NASCAR Ventures into Unexplored Territory with This Year’s Clash

Here’s the disclaimer. With a brand new seventh-generation race car and a brand new race track, the unpredictability factor in the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum increases exponentially.

The quarter-mile paved track in the L.A. Coliseum was built specifically for this event and is the shortest and arguably the tightest layout NASCAR has raced in the modern era, dating to 1972.

That’s a far cry from the traditional venue for the Clash, which until this year has been raced at 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.

The short track in the Coliseum will be the first test for the Next Gen cars, which feature replaceable composite body panels as opposed to the fabricated sheet metal of the past.

That should make the cars easier to repair away from the shop—a good thing given that contact between vehicles on the Coliseum bullring is inevitable.

That’s another aspect, however, that makes picking the winner more difficult. It’s bound to be a war of attrition where no car is safe.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try.

Here’s Another Chance for Kyle Busch to Make History in NASCAR Racing

Kyle Busch has a penchant for accumulating “firsts” in NASCAR racing—over and above his frequent victories—and the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum gives the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota yet another opportunity.

It was Busch who won the debut race of what has then been labeled the Car of Tomorrow in 2007 at Bristol. In March of the following year, after moving from Hendrick Motorsports to JGR, Busch delivered Toyota’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

So don’t count the Candy Man out of the running in the Clash, even though two of his JGR teammates, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin, opened as co-favorites (+600) at Caesars Sportsbook.

Remember, however, that Busch (sixth choice at +800) has won just about every significant Super Late Model race contested at short tracks throughout the United States, and that experience should stand him in good stead on Sunday.

Hence, Busch is our choice to win the Clash and add another “first” to his resume.

Can Racing’s Most Versatile Driver—Kyle Larson—Prevail on a Bullring

Kyle Larson’s most notable accomplishment of 2021 was winning the NASCAR Cup Series title for the first time—not to mention the 10 victories that propelled him to the championship.

But success in NASCAR racing wasn’t the only milestone that came Larson’s way last year. He started the season with his second straight victory in the Chili Bowl Nationals, the Super Bowl of midget racing.

And while he was charging to the Cup Series crown, Larson also picked up victories in the two biggest sprint car races of the year—the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa and the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

Those two races and the Chili Bowl all took place on dirt tracks. Can Larson (+750 via Caesars Sportsbook) also bring his winning ways to a paved short track?

Honestly, we think his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott (+650) is a better bet. NASCAR’s most popular driver validated his short-track late model chops with a victory (over father Bill Elliott, no less) in the SRX season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds.

We think Elliott can handle the bullring in L.A., but he’s our second choice to Kyle Busch.

We also believe the best long shot on the board is Erik Jones (+10000 via Caesars), who launched his career by beating Busch in the Snowball Derby in 2012.

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How to Watch Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Information
Race Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum (NASCAR Cup Series)
Location Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Time Sunday, February 6, 6 p.m. ET
How to Watch FOX


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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]