With a few hundred fans in attendance, Kyle Busch turned a lap of 13.745s (65.478 mph) on the 1/4-mile Mickey Mouse LA Coliseum track to top qualifying for the Busch Light Clash in his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
The top-4 qualifiers will start on pole for their heat race, the 2nd four on the outside pole etc.
The other heat race pole sitters will be Tyler Reddick was 2nd fastest, Justin Haley 3rd quick and Joey Logano 4th quick.
“I never would have thunk it,” said Busch, the only Toyota driver in the top 14 in time trials. “I don’t know, you know, it’s pretty cool. It’s just different with the opportunity to do something like this. NASCAR took a lot of flak on what this was going to look like and what it was going to be. But we’re having a great time. We had a bunch of fans come out just to witness the qualifying.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what this place will look like (Sunday) and have the opportunity to race this No. 18 Toyota and keep it up front. We’re not in (the main event) yet—we still have to go through that heat race.”
In fact, the only driver who is guaranteed a starting spot in the Busch Light Clash is Kyle Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion. There’s one provisional starting spot available to the top driver in points from 2021 who fails to make the show through the heats or two subsequent 50-lap last-chance qualifiers.
Three drivers will advance from each of the LCQs, with the provisional completing the 23-car Clash field.
Larson qualified eighth and will start on the outside of the front row in Heat 4. The other front-row starting spots in the heats go to Daniel Suarez (fifth), Cole Custer (sixth) and Chase Elliott (seventh).
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Harrison Burton, William Byron and defending Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell qualified ninth through 12th, respectively.
The Busch Clash used to be a great race at Daytona Speedway at speeds approaching 200 mph. This year these 750hp Cup cars get to average a whopping 65 mph. Grandma drives faster than that on the Interstate.
Talk about ruining a good thing. Don’t be surprised if the pace car leads the most laps on Sunday.
Qualifying Results – To Set Heat Race Field
|9||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||0.217||13.962||64.461|
|10||21||Harrison Burton #||0.220||13.965||64.447|
|11||24||William Byron Jr.||0.228||13.973||64.410|
|20||2||Austin Cindric #||0.403||14.148||63.613|
|29||38||Todd Gilliland #||0.559||14.304||62.919|
|34||19||Martin Truex Jr.||0.721||14.466||62.215|
(i) NOT ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS
(*) REQUIRED TO QUALIFY ON TIME