It’s not often you see a NASCAR Cup Series event as crazy as that one. With that being said, you also don’t see drivers at NASCAR’s top-level competing elbow-to-elbow on a quarter-mile track, so maybe it comes with the territory.
For Martin Truex Jr., a victory in the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum helps the Mayetta, New Jersey-native tend to the wounds of a rough 2022 season, where he went winless for the first time since 2014.
Driving the No. 19 for Joe Gibbs Racing, Truex was able to take the lead from Ryan Preece with 25 to go, when the Stewart-Haas Racing driver suffered from electrical issues after leading a race-high 43 laps.
With that being said, a total of laps led doesn’t necessarily tell the tale of Sunday’s exhibition event, as an incredible 16 cautions plagued the pre-season showdown. With caution laps not counting, Truex’s 25 laps led, also included two stoppages.
However, during the race’s final couple of stints, the Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD was clearly the fastest car on track, pulling a gap on Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch to win by 0.786 seconds.
Dillon, who showed top-five speed throughout the entire 150-lap main event, finished in the runner-up spot, ahead of new teammate Kyle Busch, who came home third in his first outing for Richard Childress Racing.
Rounding out the top-five were Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson, both of whom kept a relatively low profile throughout the night, as two of the five drivers to not be involved in incidents.
Via TobyChristie.com’s Incident Counter, Larson, and Bowman, along with Aric Almirola, race-winner Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Preece all kept their entries relatively clean on Sunday night.
Tyler Reddick rebounded from a couple of incidents to record a sixth-place finish in his first outing for 23XI Racing, while Ryan Preece, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, and William Byron completed the top-10.
Kicking off his farewell tour, Kevin Harvick had a difficult light in Los Angeles, being involved in five different incidents throughout the event, including one after the checkered flag, where he pushed William Byron into Denny Hamlin.
Aric Almirola, who started on the pole for the main event, led the first 16 laps of the main event, before getting moved out of the way early. After being removed from the lead, Almirola struggled, ultimately coming home in 16th.
Chase Elliott, who surprisingly had to qualify for the main event through a Last Chance Qualifier, was another headliner who struggled throughout the event, after being involved in an early accident that severely damaged the front end of his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro.
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, and their sponsors will have two weeks to celebrate his first victory in the Busch Light Clash, before heading to the Daytona International Speedway for the start of the points-paying NASCAR Cup Series season.
2023 Busch Light Clash Results: