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Clash at the Coliseum: The Season’s Opener Race Is Here

Written by: Reid Spencer
Updated February 2, 2024
8 min read
  • Ryan Preece came close last year. Can he finish the job in this season’s opener?  

  • Joey Logano looks to score a second victory in the Clash at the Coliseum.

  • Denny Hamlin hopes to finish what he started in last season’s clash in L.A.

Clash at the Coliseum Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. Place your bets at DraftKings and get $200 in Bonus Bets!

Kyle Larson+900
Kyle Busch+900
William Byron+1000
Martin Truex Jr.+1000
Joey Logano+1200
Denny Hamlin+1200
Christopher Bell+1200
Brad Keselowski+1200
Ryan Blaney+1400
Chase Elliott+1400
Ryan Preece+1800

Our Picks for the Clash at the Coliseum

Clash at the Coliseum Predictions

Clash at the Coliseum Predictions

Ryan Preece Had Excellent Speed Last Year But Didn’t Close the Deal

Last season was Ryan Preece’s first with Stewart-Haas Racing, and the driver of the No. 41 Ford got off to a promising start. In the season-opening Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, an exhibition race on a temporary quarter-mile track. Preece led a race-high 43 laps before giving up the top spot to eventual winner Martin Truex Jr. with 25 laps to go.

A modified champion from Berlin, Connecticut, Preece faded to seventh in the closing laps, but his ability to find a rhythm on the short asphalt track was impressive.

Though Preece isn’t our top pick for Sunday’s season-opening exhibition race, we think he’s a solid bet for those looking for longer odds. Preece is offered at +1800 through DraftKings Sportsbook.

You Can’t Discount Inaugural Clash at the Coliseum Winner Joey Logano

The 2022 Clash at the Coliseum was the first iteration of the season-opening exhibition race not contested at Daytona International Speedway, which had been the home for the Clash from 1979 through 2021.

Joey Logano, who has a penchant for winning inaugural events on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit, muscled his way past Kyle Busch with 35 laps left in the novel stadium race and took the checkered flag .877 seconds ahead of Busch.

Logano bookended the season with a victory at Phoenix Raceway to claim his second series championship.

After a lackluster 16th-place run in last year’s Clash, we expect Logano (+1200 via DraftKings Sportsbook) to return to form in 2024. He’s a good choice, but he’s not our first choice.

Denny Hamlin Has an Excellent Shot at Victory if He Can Avoid Trouble

Last year, Denny Hamlin was quick to develop a feel for the quarter-mile track in the Los Angeles Coliseum. He won the third of four heat races, earning the third starting spot in the main event.

By Lap 17, Hamlin had the lead, and he stayed out front for 26 circuits, before three subsequent incidents dropped Hamlin to ninth at the finish. This Sunday, Hamlin expects to have a car capable of winning, and he’s a master at saving his equipment for the end of the race.

“It’s a unique atmosphere and a fun race to kick the season off,” Hamlin said. “It doesn’t really translate to anything else we do because the track is so small, but it’ll be fun to knock some of the rust off from not being in the car since November.

“I’m looking forward to it. Our team is looking forward to it. So, we’ll just see what we unload with on Saturday and hopefully get ourselves locked into the main event with a good starting spot. From there, you have to stay up front and stay out of trouble to have a shot at the end.”

We couldn’t have said it better. Hamlin (+1200 via DraftKings) is our choice to win the third Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

How to Watch the Clash at the Coliseum

  • Race: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

  • Location: Los Angeles Coliseum

  • Time: Sunday, February 4, 8 p.m. ET

  • How to Watch: FOX

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Reid Spencer

222 Articles

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]

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