Updated: Feb 4
Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
● Event: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum ● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 6 ● Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ● Layout: Quarter-mile oval ● Format: 150-lap Feature with a 23-car field set by Heats and Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) ● TV/Radio: FOX / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio ● Note: Heats and LCQ are broadcast live from 3-5 p.m. EST. Feature airs live at 6 p.m. EST.
Notes of Interest
● After a 13-week offseason, the NASCAR Cup Series is gearing up for the first race of 2022. It’s a season that will begin in a new location, on a new track, with a new car. The non-points Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum kicks off the season Saturday and Sunday at a track other than Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the first time since 1981. On a purpose-built, quarter-mile, asphalt oval inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Cup Series will debut the new NextGen car, the seventh variation of the NASCAR stock car first introduced in 1949. And, Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will be showing up with a new look. ● The famed No. 14 Ford Mustang will roll into the Coliseum sporting the red-and-black colors embraced by fans when the car was piloted by team co-owner and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. Briscoe’s new livery includes subtle detailing around the hood vents and shadowed behind the iconic number that represents a new partnership with Mahindra Tractors, a brand of Houston-based Mahindra Ag North America. Part of Mahindra Group’s Automotive and Farm Sector, Mahindra Ag North America is the No. 1 selling farm tractor company in the world, based on volumes across all company brands. Mahindra farm equipment is engineered to be easy to operate by first-time tractor or side-by-side owners, and heavy duty to tackle the tough jobs of rural living, farming and ranching. Steel-framed Mahindra Tractors and side-by-sides are ideal for customers who demand performance, reliability and comfort at a great value. Mahindra dealers are independent, family-owned businesses located throughout the U.S. and Canada. ● While Briscoe will be behind the wheel of the No. 14 for the first race of the year, Stewart will be keeping a close eye on his team from the FOX Sports broadcast booth and will have a front row seat for the debut of the Mahindra Tractors national television campaign featuring the SHR duo. The first in a series of spots features the mentor and mentee relationship between the Indiana natives and sets out to settle the debate of who is tougher. The national spot airing during the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum signifies a continuation of Mahindra’s longstanding relationship with the FOX family of networks, which in 2022 expands to include in-race branding and additional in-car coverage of Briscoe and the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Mustang. Race fans will see plenty of the Mahindra red in tv spots during race broadcasts, picture-in-picture race coverage and during weekly FS1 broadcasts like RaceHub. ● Briscoe, the 2021 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, cut his teeth on the bullrings of the Midwest, learning to navigate the tight corners of quarter-mile tracks and avoiding destruction nearly every lap to make it to the finish. Though the track built inside the Coliseum won’t be covered in the dirt that Briscoe is so accustomed to, the format of the event provides some much-desired familiarity for the seasoned dirt-track racer. ● On Saturday, NASCAR Cup Series competitors will take to the track for practice prior to single-car qualifying runs to determine the starting order for four heat races. The field will be open to 40 entrants. On Sunday, on-track action will begin with four, 25-lap heat races consisting of 10 cars each. Below is a breakdown of how the heat races will be filled out: ● The top-four fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s single-car qualifying session will be on the pole for each heat race, while cars that qualified fifth through eighth will make up the other half of the front row in each heat. ● The remainder of each field will be filled out using this methodology: Heat one will be made up of cars with qualifying positions of one, five, nine, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37. ● The top-four finishers (16 total cars) from each heat race automatically advance through to the Busch Light Clash, with the winner of heat one winning the pole and the heat two winner earning the outside pole. ● The winners of heats three and four will fill out the second row, with the remaining order of those 16 cars being determined in the same manner. ● The remaining six finishing positions from each heat (24 total cars) that did not advance will continue through to one of two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifying (LCQ) races. Below is a breakdown on how the LCQ will be filled out: ● The starting order for these two events will be determined based on finishing positions in the heat races. ● Those who did not advance from heats one and three will make up the first LCQ race. The second race will be made of up those from heats two and four. ● The fifth-place finishers from heats one and two will be on the pole in their respective LCQ races. The fifth-place finishers from heats three and four will be on the outside pole. ● This pattern will continue to fill out 12 cars in each event. ● The top-three finishers (six total cars) from both LCQ races will advance to the Busch Light Clash, filling out positions 17-22 of the 23 available positions. ● The final spot in the Busch Light Clash will be reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer on finishing position in the heat races or LCQ races. ● All other drivers will be eliminated from competition for the remainder of the event weekend. ● Put simply, every driver will have to race their way into the feature. While this is Briscoe’s first time participating in the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, the 27-year-old has already raced his way through heat races in 2022 with Mahindra Tractors by his side. Three weeks ago, Briscoe competed in the 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals in a Mahindra Tractors-sponsored Midget. During his qualifying night, he finished second in his heat race and won his qualifier to start fifth in the Monday-night A-main. An 11th-place finish secured him a seventh-place starting spot for the C-Main on Championship Saturday. Good fortune did not follow Briscoe into the C-Main, however, as first-lap contact damaged the No. 5 Chase Briscoe Racing entry and he finished sixth, just one spot short of the transfer and ending his hopes of competing for a Golden Driller. This weekend, he’ll look to rebound with the help of his years of dirt racing experience against NASCAR’s elite Cup Series competitors.
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You’ve already raced a few times this year, so how has the season started and what do you expect during your first Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum? “I think it’s gone OK, so far. It was nice to have a chance to start the season off with Mahindra Tractors at the Chili Bowl. I wish it had gone better but we have a whole season of Cup racing to get the results we want. It’s been exciting to have them on board and supporting everything we do as a team and some of the racing I do on my own, but I’m really looking forward to getting to L.A. and having them at the first race of the NASCAR season. I’m not sure what to expect, honestly. With a quarter-mile track, I think we can expect a lot of beating and banging and maybe even some tempers by the end. That’s typically what we get at these short tracks. I’d like to say it’s the first race, so everyone will take it easy but, after heat races and everything, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few guys had their feelings hurt. We’re all racers and we want to win, so it’ll for sure be a good show for everyone watching.” You mentioned Mahindra Tractors being on your Chili Bowl car and the support they’ve shown the team as you prepare for the start of the season. Does this partnership feel like a natural fit? “It really does. They’ve done a lot in just the few months we’ve been together to show that they are all in and that’s huge for a sponsor that is new to the sport in this way. The announcement in Indianapolis was really cool and it meant a lot to be able to start the next chapter at a place that means so much to me. They’ve even had a couple of team lunches for the guys in the shop and I think it’s good for those guys to see it’s not just about me. It’s about the confidence they have in all of us. We’re a team and we’re all here for each other. It takes a lot of work and dedication to do what we do and to have a sponsor that is heavily invested in every part of it is a big deal. It means a lot and is a great reflection of who they are as a company. There’s a family feel to how this is all coming together and I just want to make them proud of this partnership.” What was the biggest thing you learned during your rookie year in the Cup Series? “The biggest thing I learned my rookie year was that it takes a lot of things in the Cup Series to have a good result. At the end of the day, every little detail matters, whether it’s getting off and on pit road under green, having a good pit stop, and every pit stop with no penalties, and good restarts. It literally takes every single thing to even be in the hunt at the end of the day. There are days where you can do everything perfect and you’re still not in the hunt, so just trying to capitalize on those days where you have a good car and good speed and not make mistakes. Last year, I made a lot of mistakes, whether it was penalties or just not maximizing pit road and things like that. So, I’m going to try improve on that this year and learn from those things and be able to capitalize when we do have a good car.” How are you better as a driver in January 2022 compared to January 2021, after one season in the Cup Series, and what specific areas of your skill set are you most wanting to work on over the course of this season? “Everybody at the Cup Series level has been a winner their entire career. They’ve won at many different levels. Even the guys running 25th have won their entire career so, for me, the Cup side really opened up my eyes. In the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series, you’re only racing against seven, eight, nine, 10 really competitive drivers and you can make mistakes and get away with it and still win. You can even make multiple mistakes and still win where, on the Cup side, you can literally do everything perfect and still run 15th. So, just trying to figure out how to minimize those mistakes was probably the hardest thing for me. I was just looking the other day and there was a stat that I think I had more penalties on pit road than anybody in the whole field, so just trying to do less of that. Those guys are so good. They’ve all been racing 15-20 years. They’ve been running 500 miles every weekend for 15-20 years. They’re just good. They have so much racecraft. They know where to put their car to make it hard for you to pass. They’ve seen every situation, so getting that experience of racing around guys that are much, much better, much more experienced than me was huge, I felt like, the first year. Hopefully, I can use that to my advantage this coming year. But then I would say the biggest area where I would like to improve is on the short tracks. I feel like I’m probably the only guy in the entire field in the Cup Series that has never short-track raced my entire life. I never ran a Late Model. I never ran anything. The first time I ever ran a short track was in the Truck Series at Martinsville. I really struggle when we go to places that have that short-track feel – a Martinsville, Richmond, New Hampshire. Those have always been statistically my worst racetracks and, just how you have to drive the car at those places, I really struggle.”