The 2023 NASCAR season is here! Well, sort of. The first points-paying race is still a couple of weeks away but the series’ revamped Busch Light Clash returns this weekend to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Last year’s Clash was the first at the Coliseum. Kyle Busch took pole and led the most laps before 2022 champion Joey Logano took the lead and the win. Now that the drivers have some experience in the quarter-mile temporary track, they’re back for another round.
A couple of familiar faces lead the way as the betting favorites for the exhibition win.
Date & Time:
Location: LA Memorial Coliseum
Streaming: Live Stream Sports
Who’s Favored to Win the Clash at The Coliseum?
Logano and 2022 regular season champion Chase Elliott lead the NASCAR odds at +750 for the win. Given the form from each of them last year, it’s reasonable to expect they’ll be near the top once again.
Logano’s shown he can grab a late lead for a win. He took the lead on Lap 116 to snatch victory from Busch last year. With a race that will likely see lots of caution flags, he’s demonstrated he knows how to be in the right place at the right time.
Elliott did well in the first practice session in 2022 but fell behind later in qualifying heats, starting 15th and finishing 11th.
Close behind that duo is 2021 champion Kyle Larson at +800. Similar to Elliott, Larson wasn’t near the top of the timesheets in qualifying or the qualifying heats. But he was in the mix for the win late and grabbed second place for a while before Busch overtook him with 20 laps left.
He lost another two positions in the closing laps. A bit more luck (and less contact) and Larson could race his way to the front again.
Christopher Bell’s tied with Larson and struggled for pace in 2022 at the Coliseum. He started 11th and finished 8th in a relatively uneventful race.
Who Else Has Good Odds to Win?
Busch sits next at +900. After how strong he looked in qualifying and most of the 2022 race, he’ll have a chance at redemption to open the 2023 NASCAR season.
Tied at +1000 behind Busch are Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin. Neither driver qualified well last season; Blaney finished fourth in his qualifying heat and started 13th. A rough race saw him end up 17th and three laps down from the leaders.
Hamlin won the first last-chance qualifying run to make it into the exhibition race, starting near the back in 17th. He’d last just 52 laps and finish 23rd out of 23 runners. He’d need a big turnaround from last year’s form to make it near the top.
Value picks to Consider at The Clash
Tyler Reddick (+1400) showed great pace in 2022. He started second and led laps early on. If it weren’t for a broken prop shaft that stopped his race at 53 laps, he likely would’ve been up with Logano, Larson, and Busch and looking for a win.
Austin Dillon (+6000) overcame qualifying struggles to place well in his heat and was in the mix for a win in 2022. He passed Larson for third near the end of the race and if he starts higher than 10th this time, he could be in a much better position to make a charge.
Justin Haley (+8000), like Reddick, showed great speed around the Coliseum in 2022. He started third after a great showing in qualifying but retired after 116 laps after contact with Larson knocked him into the barrier on the front stretch.
This is the first chance for NASCAR drivers to set the tone for the 2023 season. Though it won’t impact the NASCAR standings in any way, the Clash at the Coliseum will be a great way to see how things could shape up for 2023.Follow us on Twitter