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Truex Jr. wins the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum in a pre-season entertainment spectacular

Martin Truex Jr. rips off a victory burn out at the L.A. Coliseum after winning the Busch Light Clash.
John Palminteri
Martin Truex Jr. rips off a victory burn out at the L.A. Coliseum after winning the Busch Light Clash.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Martin Truex Jr. survived a 150 lap race with 16 cautions to win the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum Sunday.

Many residents from the Central Coast were in the stands to see the race, the closest NASCAR's top racing event comes to the area.

The unique race was a pre-season event prior to the Daytona 500 set for Feb.19 (on Central Coast Fox 11.)

Fans were treated to heat races before the main event to determine the starting lineup with 27 cars, a field that is smaller than a regular season NASCAR race.  

They also saw multiple high powered musical performances including Wiz Khalifa and Cypress Hill.

The roar from 27 cars came after actor and Montecito resident Rob Lowe gave the command, "driver's start your engines!"

Among those in the stands, two-time California Lighting Sprint Champion David Gasper from Goleta. He is a senior at Dos Pueblos High School who has had success on dirt tracks in areas including Ventura, Bakersfield and Merced. He said, as he continues his racing interests he has goals to be at the highest level, "hopefully in the next five years. That's the goal, we are getting out there."

Gasper was with a group of friends that filled nearly a full row.

He says racing starts for him later this month with the sprint car full time and the midget car part time.

Maureen and Edmund Dougherty from Goleta were in the front stands above the start-finish line. Edmund said, "the venue is incredible. It's a race track in a football stadium." He says the short tracks, "for the excitement level, you can't beat it."

His mother, Maureen said, "it's one-day trip. We were here in two hours." From her seat she says, "it's so short you can see all the cars at once."

As the race ended, a full moon had risen over the Coliseum torch and fireworks went off.

This was the second year for the Clash in a configuration that fits a one-of-a-kind quarter-mile track inside the famous football stadium. It's unclear if a third year of this race will take place at the Coliseum or if it will be moved to another location.

The win for Truex Jr. was a victory for Toyota Racing Development based Costa Mesa (Orange County).

The Pala Casino Auto Club 400 will take place on Feb. 26 at the Auto Club Speedway, and it will be the final race on the 2-mile track, which will be going through a design change.

Track President Dave Allen said because of the construction work there will be no race at the Auto Club Speedway in 2024. He did promise the smaller track will be an impressive design for drivers and fans to experience, and announcements about the project will be rolling out soon.

Article Topic Follows: Sports
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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