The Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum is getting the 2024 NASCAR season off to a roaring start on Sunday in L.A. The quarter-mile track placed atop the football field we’re more accustomed to seeing USC and Caleb Williams playing on will be the site of exhibition race. The 2024 edition of the Clash will be similar to ones we’ve seen the last few years but what can we take from that to bet with? How is the starting lineup for the Clash set? Will the rain in the forecast for L.A. effect the racing on track? All of this plus winner predictions and prop bets for the Clash at The Coliseum below.
NASCAR Busch Light Clash Weather Forecast
The term atmospheric river is generally not great when it’s around a race. That’s what we have setting up in Los Angeles this weekend. Sunday is shaping up to be particularly wet with inches of rain being forecast. The Cup cars will have rain tires available to them, but, and this is crucial, won’t have wipers or rain guards or any of the other rain add-ons. That means that they will be able to race in damp/wet track conditions but not active rain. So we may see delays or a postponement (though unlikely) to avoid the bulk of the rain.
Busch Light Clash Betting Strategy
There is a strategy to this race that we don’t find at most others, outside of the All-Star race — not everyone makes it. That’s right, only 23 cars will be on the track for the main event on Sunday night after being whittled down through heat races on Saturday and a last-chance qualifying race on Sunday. So when we’re looking at who to bet on, we have to keep that in mind and restrict the pool to drivers we’re pretty sure will make it. Either that or check house rules to see if the book will void the bet if the driver doesn’t make the main race.
Just like every other race though, we can look at similar track styles and a bit of previous coliseum clashes for the rest of the strategy portion. While this is the shortest track on the schedule, by a factor of two, it counts as a short flat track for trend purposes. Based on tracks like Martinsville, New Hampshire, and Richmond, we can look at a pool of drivers we feel the most comfortable with. Just like those tracks above, passing here is tough and track position is king. The problem with waiting to know where drivers are starting though will shorten odds significantly.
NASCAR Busch Light Clash Best Bets
Martin Truex Jr. +1000 (DraftKings)
He won this race a year ago. Truex has also dominated at short flat tracks over the last few years. Getting a discount on DraftKings for the reigning winner and a constant short track threat is also nice as he’s not the favorite at that book.
Kyle Busch +1000 (BetMGM)
Busch was a master of passing in last year’s Clash as he came from the back to the front a couple of times and finished P3. This year he’ll be looking to start hot again after the slow end to last year. We can take him on DraftKings as well, but the line at BetMGM gives a touch more return at 10-1 compared to 9-1 on DK.
Bubba Wallace +1800 (BetMGM)
Despite the P22 finish by the end of the race last year, he was really quite fast. He led nearly 40 laps and was a dominant in the heat races. The Toyotas as a whole were setup quite well for the short tracks last year and that should continue this year as well. Getting a discount on a guy who led a chunk of the race is pretty nice too.
Ryan Preece +2000 (BetMGM)
Preece cut his racing teeth on tracks like this in the northeast and mid Atlantic. Now he’s putting that skill to use in the Cup series and was quite solid at these tracks last year. That’s even with a subpar car in general. If Preece makes the main event, these odds are pretty nice for a seasoned short track racer.
Austin Dillon +2500 (DraftKings)
The second-part of the RCR duo did finish runner-up in this event last year and had the race been 10 laps longer probably would’ve won. Dillon loves short track racing in general and expect Sunday to be no different and if it is in fact Dillon and not Busch that has the better car, well the return is nice too.
Chris Buescher +2500 (BetMGM)
Why are people continuing to sleep on Buescher? He had a great year last year with three wins, including on a short track, and the 17-car was consistently one of the fastest cars on track in the second-half. Buescher has the dogged mentality that it’ll take to win on a track like this and if he makes the main event, watch out.
Daniel Suarez +8000 (BetMGM)
This is the least comfortable bet of the bunch but it warrants some mentioning. He’s racing in the NASCAR Mexico Series race this weekend too which is on this same track. That means he’ll get more track time than basically any other driver in the field. If he can translate that extra track time into speed this bet becomes more intriguing but we’re only sprinkling a small part of a unit on it.
NASCAR Busch Light Clash Prop Bets
Denny Hamlin Top-5 Finish +150 (DraftKings)
Hamlin averaged a top-six average running position last year at short tracks and was fast at the Clash before being dumped. The odds to win are a bit shorter than I’d like so we’re looking at a top-five finish with a solid return for a driver who’s more than capable of pulling that off.
Martin Truex Jr. Top-5 Finish +125 (DraftKings)
It should be clear why he’s here. Again he won this last year and was consistently in the top-five on short tracks. So why not take a decent plus money odd bet on a driver of his ilk?
Brad Keselowski Top-5 Finish +150 (DraftKings)
We’re going with the other RFK car in this one. The odds for him to win aren’t quite as long as I’d like, so we’re hedging a bit. The RFK cars with both very racy in the second-half of the year, especially in this less aero-dependent package. All we need is for the 6-car to finish in the top-quarter of the field and we’re good.
Joey Logano Top-5 Finish +150 (DraftKings)
Logano won the first Clash at the Coliseum a couple of years ago and is usually a threat on the short tracks but we’re going to hedge a bit with this top-5 prop. Finishing in the top-20-percent of the field should be doable for Logano and the 22-car team.