The last time Joey Logano won the Busch Light Clash, a forgettable season ensued. There shouldn’t be an issue this time; the 15th-year NASCAR Cup Series driver is on his way to one of the most memorable weeks of his life.
Logano led the final 35 laps of the day to win his second Clash in six years, then dropped some big personal news on the crowd at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Joey Logano won NASCAR’s splashy Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
It was only an exhibition race that has no bearing on the Cup Series playoffs, but the Busch Light Clash delivered a quality show despite speeds that would have relegated the competitive debut of the Next Gen cars to the right lane of most highways.
Joey Logano took the lead on Lap 116 and fended off Kyle Busch the rest of the way, denying the driver of the No. 18 Toyota the distinction of back-to-back Clash victories. It capped a memorable day in which NASCAR broke format by following Saturday qualifying with Sunday heats and last-chance qualifiers to pare the field to a more manageable 23 cars on the quarter-mile track.
Though the average speed in the main was just 63.28 mph and there were only four lead changes over 150 laps, the preceding heats and LCQs generated the drama and desperation NASCAR sought to whet appetites for the start of the real season in two weeks at the Daytona 500.
Completing the day were sets by rappers Pitbull, co-owner of the Trackhouse Racing team, and Ice Cube.
Joey Logano’s very personal news trumped his victory
Joey Logano has won 27 NASCAR Cup Series races, a season championship, and 30 Xfinity races, but his second Busch Light Clash victory is likely to stand out. That’s because Monday won’t be spent reliving the race. Instead, Logano will be focused on an addition to the family.
Moments after the celebratory burnout, he announced to the Los Angeles Coliseum crowd that wife Brittany is giving birth on Monday. The couple has two boys and revealed over the summer that Brittany was pregnant with a girl.
“I told her, if you’re having a baby, I’m just running right off the track from here. I don’t think it’s happening right now.”Joey Logano
No, Logano instead fulfilled the usual media obligations, telling reporters what it feels like to be a two-time Clash champion under unique circumstances.
“This is is special to get the first Next Gen win, the first win out here in the Coliseum,” Logano said on the Fox Sports broadcast. “It’s a special one, so we’re going to have some fun and celebrate it. “
The champion’s last Busch Light Clash preceded a disappointing season
Joey Logano’s other Busch Light Clash victory came in 2017 at Daytona, where he once again held off Kyle Busch. Logano was coming off a second-place showing in the NASCAR Cup Series the previous year, and winning at Daytona Speedweeks was seen as a sign that another strong season was in store.
Unfortunately, the season didn’t play out remotely close to how he had hoped. After seven top-10 finishes in the first eight points races, Logano won at Richmond to mark his sixth straight season with a victory.
From there, though, Logano’s days at Talladega and Kansas ended with crashes. Then, he placed outside the top 20 in his next three races. The rest of the season proved a struggle, and Logano was the odd man out in the playoff race by virtue of finishing last in points among the 17 regular-season race winners. His 17th-place finish in the final standings was his worst showing since 2012.
Logano turned the tables on the Cup Series field the following season by winning the Championship 4 race and series title at Homestead.
All stats courtesy of Racing Reference.