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These are All The Drivers Who Missed The L.A. Clash

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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13 Drivers Failed to Qualify for the annual Clash

What’s Happening?

With qualifying for the 2024 Busch Light Clash in the books, some drivers are left on the outside looking in. Surprising names missed the main event, some of them coming off a very successful 2023 season. Here are the 13 drivers who missed the 2024 L.A. Clash:

  • For this list, we will be highlighting the 13 drivers who missed the show due to slower time trials.
  • Some of these drivers had good or even great 2023 seasons but missed the mark in the L.A. bullring for whatever reason. Others are continuing on a downward trajectory. For those drivers, this is certainly a bad way to kick off their 2024 season.
  • There are also some fan favorites on this list.

Harrison Burton

When Harrison Burton first took over for Matt DeBenedetto in the famed Wood Brothers No. 21, there were a lot of eyes on him with expectations for him to perform. He ran fairly well driving the No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series and many hoped that that success would carry over into the NASCAR Cup Series.

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Unfortunately, Burton has been rather lukewarm in the entry with many NASCAR fans and commentators alike saying that he may be in the hot seat in 2024 if he doesn’t step up his performance. With how fast the Penske Fords were at the end of 2023 and even in Clash qualifying, this is certainly a disappointing way to start the new season.

Kaz Grala

Kaz Grala seems to be a fairly hot prospect in 2024. He’s currently scheduled to drive in 25 points-paying Cup Series races in 2024 with the revamped No. 15 team for Rick Ware Racing and he’s even slated to attempt to make the Daytona 500 in the No. 36 for Front Row Motorsports.

Much of Grala’s abilities, or lack thereof, are largely unknown. He came into the Clash with a question mark above him. Many fans were curious to see how he and RWR would perform this year and there seemed to be a cautiously optimistic approach around his efforts. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out as he failed to qualify for the 2024 L.A. Clash.

Christopher Bell

The downfall of Christopher Bell really does need to be studied. The JGR driver had something of a breakout year in 2022 and even made it to the Championship 4 of that year. He followed it up with another Championship Round appearance in 2023 but crashed out early at Phoenix, effectively ending his championship hopes.

The struggle continued during Saturday’s time trials to determine the starting grid for the Clash. Christopher Bell turned his qualifying laps in the fourth and final group to take the track. Group 4 was noticeably slower than the 3 previous groups so maybe there was an issue with the track conditions?

Either way, this certainly isn’t how JGR and the No. 20 team wanted to kick off their 2024 season after that heartbreakingly painful crash that ended their 2023 season early.

Daniel Hemric

2024 marks the return of Daniel Hemric to the NASCAR Cup Series! Too bad it didn’t start off with a bang. Hemric comes into 2024 taking over for Justin Haley in the No. 31 Kaulig Racing machine. The decision to put in the car was met with some raised eyebrows from fans as, even though he is a NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, he’s generally viewed as an unproven driver.

His efforts in time trials for the Clash will likely do little to win over the fans heading into the 2024 season.

Chris Buescher

This one is surprising! In 2024, Chris Buescher seemed to have a break-out year with 3 wins and a pretty deep playoff run, considering the team’s former standards. Even though he did not make it to the final 4, he was still running strong in the season finale and likely hoped to carry that momentum into 2024. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Chris Buescher missed the L.A. Clash for the third year in a row. Big bummer. But, he’s still one to watch some this season as RFK continues to get better and better.

Austin Dillon

Austin Dillon has been on a downward spiral for the last several years. While his career seemed to look promising early on, his performance as of late has many fans wondering if his talents would be better suited for the front office of RCR than behind the wheel of the famous black No. 3. His struggles continue in 2024 as he missed the L.A. Clash. Hopefully, he can turn it around come Daytona.

Daniel Suarez

Daniel Suarez, the supposed franchise driver for Trackhouse Racing, continues his struggles into the new season. In 2023, Suarez was considerably off the pace when compared to his Trackhouse teammate, Ross Chastain, and unfortunately, that has carried into 2024.

The No. 99 will not race in the L.A. Clash.

Josh Berry

When it was announced that he would be taking over for Kevin Harvick in the SHR No. 4, fans of JRM were interested and ready to buy all the merch. Heading into the Clash, these fans were hoping Berry would bring with him his short track mastery and shut up the doubters once and for all.

Unfortunately, just as Berry’s car was starting to come to him and he was beginning to crawl up the scoring pylon, time ran out. As Kevin Harvick took to the FOX booth, his former ride failed to qualify for the 2024 L. A. Clash.

Carson Hocevar

For a lot of fans, Carson Hocevar was unworthy of the Cup ride in 2024, considering that most of the debacle that was the 2023 Craftsman Truck Series race was his doing. He undeniably has talent and that’s what led to him getting the No. 77 ride to begin with. Unfortunately, he will not participate in the 2024 Clash.

Erik Jones

With all the changes in the offseason (and even before) with Legacy Motor Club, there are a lot of eyes on that team heading into 2024. Fans and even people within the industry are curious as to how team co-owner Jimmie Johnson will fare in his 9 starts. And many expect Erik Jones to continue to improve and maybe even contend for some race wins this year, considering that he’s largely seen as their franchise player.

The No. 43 LMC Toyota had some speed. It just wasn’t enough. While the No. 43 of Erik Jones missed the 2024 Clash, his new teammate J. H. Nemechek made the show, so it’s not a complete downer.

Austin Cindric

The disappointments continue to roll in for the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, Austin Cindric. The 2022 Daytona 500 Champion suffered a terrible sophomore slump in 2023 that seems to have carried into the new season. I’m sure the team is looking to turn things around once the regular season officially begins. All eyes will be on the No. 2 Ford this year. He may be running out of chances.

Zane Smith

Another surprise signing for 2024 is Zane Smith, driving the No. 71 Chevy for Spire. The former Truck Champ was looking to turn heads coming into this season and, admittedly, he was fast during time trials. It just wasn’t enough to advance to the big show. Still, a lot of fans will be watching him to see what he and Spire can do in 2024.

Josh Williams

This one is another heartbreaker. Josh Williams had some serious speed, impressing both the FOX News commentators and the fans at large. Unfortunately, he just barely missed the cutline when time trials were all said and done. Josh will be running full-time in the Xfinity Series this year while also making starts in select Cup Series races, both under the Kaulig banner.


What do you all make of these drivers, Daily Downforce readers? What name on this list surprises you the most? Let us know! And be sure to keep it right here at for all the latest news and updates this race weekend and for the season to come!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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