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Haley, Ky. Busch, Bell and Byron to lead Clash heats; Heat lineups + format

Photo by Erick Messer/TRE

Justin Haley topped Busch Light Clash qualifying with a lap over a tenth of a second faster than anyone else Saturday night.

Haley’s lap, 13.413 seconds, netted him the pole for the first Clash heat. Last year, he won the third heat and started third in the main event. He ran in and around the top 5 until a Lap 116 wreck with Kyle Larson knocked him out.

Photo by Marcus Leno/The Racing Experts

Kyle Busch posted a lap time of 13.553 seconds to begin his tenure with Richard Childress Racing. He’ll start in pole position for the second heat.

Last year, with Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch won the second heat. After starting 2nd in the main event, Kyle Busch led 64 of 150 laps (race-high) but finished 2nd.

Christopher Bell qualified third (13.569 secs) and is the polesitter for the third heat. Bell also finished third in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series points standings and eighth in last year’s Clash main event.

William Byron qualified fourth (13.596 secs) and earned the pole for the fourth heat. Byron finished sixth in both Cup points and in the Clash last year.

2022 champion Joey Logano will start fifth in the first heat.

AJ Allmendinger and Chase Briscoe each posted a qualifying lap after making contact in practice.

Allmendinger qualified 8th and will start second in the fourth heat.

Briscoe, who incurred front-end damage from contact with Allmendinger, qualified 15th and will start fourth in the third heat.


Ryan Blaney and Ty Gibbs, who posted the fifth and sixth-fastest times in practice, didn’t get to post a qualifying time.

Photo by Dominic Aragon/TRE

Blaney was about to start his laps but lost grip exiting turn four, prompting him to turn around and try redoing his lead-up to the run.

While that was allowed in instances such as Bristol in 2013 when Kyle Busch did it, the rule has changed and Blaney’s lap was disallowed.

ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN – JULY 02: Ty Gibbs, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, participates in pre-race activities prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180 at Road America on July 02, 2022 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Gibbs showed speed in practice until smoke arose from the right side of his car and flames eventually erupted.

The fire was a point of concern as, in 2022, Ford teams mostly experienced similar fires from built-up rubber, which prompted NASCAR to find a fix.

Gibbs was okay but the car wasn’t. The team repaired melted pieces of firewall, to an extensive point where NASCAR didn’t allow Gibbs to make a qualifying lap.

Blaney will start last in the third heat while Gibbs will start last in the fourth heat.


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 06: Justin Haley, driver of the #31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and William Byron, driver of the #24 Valvoline Chevrolet, race in the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash qualifying heat at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The 27-car field for the 150-lap main event is comprised of:

  • The top-5 finishers from each of the four, 25-lap heats
  • The top-3 finishers in each of the two, 50-lap last-chance qualifiers
  • The driver highest in 2022 points who didn’t advance through the heat or the LCQ

A driver can skip the last-chance qualifier if they know they will get into the main event based on the third criterion.

In the 2022 Clash, Martin Truex Jr. didn’t advance through the heats but he skipped the last-chance qualifier. Truex, who finished 2nd in 2021 points, was already locked in because 2021 champion Kyle Larson had already advanced to the main event.


Heat 1Heat 2Heat 3Heat 4
Justin HaleyKyle BuschChristopher BellWilliam Byron
Aric AlmirolaAustin DillonDenny HamlinAJ Allmendinger
Alex BowmanKyle LarsonDaniel SuarezRoss Chastain
Harrison BurtonKevin HarvickChase BriscoeBubba Wallace
Joey LoganoRicky Stenhouse Jr.Tyler ReddickErik Jones
Noah GragsonMartin Truex Jr.Brad KeselowskiRyan Preece
Michael McDowellAustin CindricTodd GillilandCorey LaJoie
Chris BuescherChase ElliottJJ YeleyCody Ware
Ty DillonBJ McLeodRyan BlaneyTy Gibbs
Busch Light Clash Heat Lineups


Coverage of the first heat begins at 5 p.m. ET (TV: FOX; Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Main event coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET (TV: FOX; Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Photo by Kyle Stephens/TRE

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