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What All Happened At The 2024 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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The 2024 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum is in the books! Who walked away with the win and the big check? Who all struggled? Who ran surprisingly well? This is what all happened at the 2024 L. A. Clash!

The Winner

After a lot of drama in the last 10 laps of the race, Denny Hamlin was able to hold off Kyle Busch, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney with an ill-handling car to win the 2024 Busch Light Clash! Yes, that’s right! Yet again, Denny Hamlin “beat your favorite driver”!

Who was fast?

It would appear that Joe Gibbs Racing was the class of the field tonight. Denny Hamlin sat on the pole and led a lot in the early stages of the race before his teammate, Ty Gibbs, took it away from him. Once the No. 54 got to the point, he scooted off, only being rivaled during restart attempts. Martin Truex Jr. also ran pretty well, a promising start to what might be his final season. Truex would bring home his No. 19 Camry in the 9th position.

With a late-race spin, the dominant No. 54 of Ty Gibbs would ultimately cross the finish line in 18th.

After a disappointing 2023, Joey Logano, predictably in this even year, was fast as well. He led a lot of laps, leading at the halfway mark, and was well into the top-5 for the whole race. His teammate, Ryan Blaney, was able to bounce back from a slow qualifying effort. He also ran in the top five in the closing laps of the race. Logano and Blaney would finish 3rd and 4th respectively.

Despite his teammate, Autin Dillon, failing to make the big show, Kyle Busch, in spite of RCR’s struggles with the short track package, was also very fast and in contention for much of the race, despite never quite being able to get to the lead. On the final lap, during a GWC attempt, Kyle Busch couldn’t quite get to the back bumper of the eventual winner, Denny Hamlin. He finished as runner-up.

BIG shoutout to Bubba Wallace! The No. 23 team tends to struggle at short tracks and road courses but, tonight, he proved that he can mix it up with the best of them! Bubba ran solidly in the top 10 for a lion’s share of the race and even worked his way back up after spinning and being forced to restart from the back. Though he ultimately finished in 12th, that does not reflect how bad fast BOTH of the 23XI cars were tonight.

Who had issues?

Some of the surprising lows coming out of the Clash were with the ones who struggled in qualifying. Big names like Christopher Bell, Josh Berry, Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, and Austin Cindric all failed to qualify for the big main event. In addition to them, defending Champ Ryan Blaney had to fall back on a provisional to make the race.

After a record-breaking green flag run of about 70 laps, we got our first caution from Todd Gilliland in his Front Row Motorsports No. 38. Seemingly, his breaks went out and he spun heading into one of the tight corners. He would ultimately retire from the race, finishing in the 23rd position.

As fans of good old-fashioned short-track racing know, cautions tend to breed cautions. That was exactly what happened as the field took the green flag to kick off the second half. Chase Elliott had an issue with something breaking in the suspension of the No. 9 NAPA machine. As he slowed on the track, his HMS teammate, Alex Bowman got into Tyler Reddick which sent him into his 23XI teammate, Bubba Wallace.

Chase Elliott would pull his No. 9 behind the wall and retire from the race. He finished in the 22nd position.

In the back of the pack, we saw some tempers flare between 2023 Playoff contenders, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell.

What Happened With The Weather?

With weather being a threat for much of the weekend, NASCAR toyed with the idea of running the L. A. Clash with wet-weather tires (but not during actively pouring showers). They even mentioned the possibility of postponing the Clash until Money as they didn’t have to start tearing the track down until later in the week. In the end, though NASCAR made the great decision to scrub the heats and the last-chance qualifiers and instead have 4 qualifying rounds with the top 22 timing their way in on speed.

Weather was a huge factor in making this decision which was a fairly popular one with industry insiders and fans alike. Rain also threatened the Saturday main event just as they past half-way and heading into the halftime break. During the break, Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports posted in X this bleak look at the weather radar.

The threat of evening showers also forced NASCAR’s hand in canceling the halftime performance of Machine Gun Kelly.

In the end, they were able to run all 150 laps of the race before the showers moved in, giving us a complete race.

What Happened With Fan Access?

Because the initial plan for Saturday was to hold practice and the Heat races, admission was slated to be free! With the Clash being moved to Saturday night as opposed to Sunday, that meant that, for the first time ever in the modern era, a NASCAR Cup Series race was completely FREE for fans to enjoy.

Unfortunately, with the threat of weather, the halftime concert with Machine Gun Kelly was canceled, putting a damper on things for the fans looking forward to seeing his show. Still. at least they got a full race in without the interruption of the weather!

What Happened With the Mexico Series?

The NASCAR Mexico Series was slated to make its big American broadcast television debut on Sunday prior to the Clash Last Chance Qualifies. With the main event being moved to Saturday night due to weather, the Mexico Series was rescheduled to take place after the Busch Light Clash.

With the threat of weather, whether or not the race will still take place as scheduled remains to be seen.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on the 2024 L. A. Clash, Daily Downforce readers? Will it be back next year or do you think this was the last hurrah for the event in SoCal? It wasn’t a perfect event, plagued with unwanted threats of weather, that’s for sure. But I think it worked out, in the end. Be sure and let us know your thoughts in the comments on all of our social media platforms. We here at the Daily Downforce are thrilled to be back with you this year, covering the greatest sport in the world!

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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.
All Posts