NASCAR DFS: Busch Lite Clash at the Coliseum

NASCAR DFS: Busch Lite Clash at the Coliseum

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Busch Lite Clash at the Coliseum

Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Course: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Format: 0.25-mile oval
Laps: 150

Race Preview

NASCAR's 75th season gets its unofficial start this week in a return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Lite Clash. The champagne Joey Logano and his Team Penske crew sprayed celebrating last season's championship has barely dried, but they are already showing up to this tiny temporary circuit as defending race winners having won last year's debut at the venue. This race is unlike any other on the calendar for multiple reasons, not least of which is the heat-race format. Qualifying will initially divide the field into four groups where each 25-lap heat will determine who advances to the final 150-lap main event. The top five drivers from each of those four heats will advance while the rest of the field will get one more chance in one of two 50-lap last-chance races where the top three will make it into the main event. At the end of all that the driver having not already advanced that finished highest in the 2022 season point standings will take the final starting spot in the 150-lap showdown. Only green flag laps will count in this complex process, which is sure to give fantasy players headaches trying to set a lineup early. My recommendation is to wait until the field for the final is set before zeroing in your selections. The short track makes passing terribly difficult, and track position will be a key determinant of where drivers finish the day. 

Key Stats at Los Angeles Coliseum

  • Number of races: 1
  • Winners from pole: 0
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 1
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 1
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 39.029 mph

Previous Los Angeles Coliseum Winners

2022 - Joey Logano

Crews have been busy laying the temporary asphalt around the Los Angeles Coliseum's quarter-mile running track in preparation for this weekend's Busch Lite Clash. The track's tight confines means passing comes at a premium. Last year's race was largely dictated by the breaks in green-flag racing. If you started out front and didn't crash, you likely finished out front, too. Kyle Busch qualified in the top spot for the heat races and led all 25 laps of the first heat to start the main event in first. Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley and Joey Logano all went on to do the same in their respective heats, too. Only Busch, Reddick and Logano led laps in the 150-lap main event, with Logano capturing the checkered flag by leading the final 35 laps to the finish. In short, track position for this week's race will likely mean even more than at most other races this season. Fantasy players therefore should be critically interested in the starting lineup for the main event. Focusing driver selections on those who topped their respective heat races will be the key to getting top results from the feature race.

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NASCAR Projections

DraftKings Value Picks for the Busch Lite Clash at the Coliseum (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Joey Logano - $10,200
Chase Elliott - $10,000
Christopher Bell - $9,700
Kyle Larson - $9,500

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Ryan Blaney - $9,300
Kyle Busch - $9,100
Ross Chastain - $8,900
Denny Hamlin - $8,600

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

William Byron - $8,400
Tyler Reddick - $8,100
Kevin Harvick - $7,800
Brad Keselowski - $7,500

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $6,900
Erik Jones - $6,300
Ryan Preece - $6,000
Justin Haley - $5,400

NASCAR DFS Picks for the Busch Lite Clash at the Coliseum

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Christopher Bell - $9,700
Kyle Busch - $9,100
Ross Chastain - $8,900
Ryan Preece - $6,000
Justin Haley - $5,400

Before considering any lineup this week, players should remember that no driver will be locked into the main event until after the qualifying heats are completed. With that said, Christopher Bell (DK $9,700, FD $12,000) should be one of the safer plays. He finished third in his qualifying heat last season and went on to finish the main event eighth despite starting 11th. After making it to the championship four last season, a win in the Clash this year would set his season off on the right foot. Busch (DK $9,100, FD $12,500) is another safe bet. He may have switched teams and manufacturers, but he remains one of the most consistently competitive drivers in any type of equipment and on any type of track. He started last year's Clash from pole, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him match that this season. He led 64 laps in last year's race and finished second to Logano. Another 2022 championship contender with high expectations in 2023 is Ross Chastain (DK $8,900, FD $10,500). Last season was his breakout year, and 2023 will be his chance to prove that wasn't just a fluke. He failed to qualify for the main event in the Clash last season but would be nearly guaranteed a spot in the showcase this time due to his championship points from last year. Like for Bell, Chastain getting off on the right foot this week could send a signal that he has retained his competitiveness through the winter. Fantasy players should pay close attention to Ryan Preece (DK $6,000, FD $6,500), too. This will be his return to full-time Cup Series competition after he filled a reserve role at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2022. He was busy with part-time schedules in Cup, Xfinity and Trucks, though. His performances in those races earned him this year's opportunity, which is one that could produce wins. Preece also won the second of the two last-chance showdowns to be in the main Clash race in this format last year. Finally, Haley (DK $5,400, FD $5,500) delivered a respectable season in 2022, and it all started with a good showing in this race -- right up until he crashed out. He led all 25 laps of his qualifying heat but crashed in the main event after starting third. He found the speed at this unique track early last year, which could help him again this time.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,200
Chase Elliott - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $8,600
William Byron - $8,400
Austin Dillon - $5,700
Ty Gibbs - $5,300

Reigning series champion Logano (DK $10,200, FD $12,500) is also this weekend's defending Clash winner. He picked up the lead on 116 and held it right through to the checkered flag last year, but what put him into position to do that was his qualifying. Again, track position will be one of the biggest factors in this race, and Logano capitalized on that in 2022. He is capable of doing that again in 2023. Another driver capable of that is Chase Elliott (DK $10,000, FD $13,000). Elliott finished fourth in his qualifying heat last season, which put him behind in the main event. He moved forward to 11th from his 15th-place starting spot, though. A better qualifying effort will be his focus this time. Mechanical issues in last year's race hindered Denny Hamlin's (DK $8,600, FD $12,000) chances. He only qualified 17th fastest, going on to finish fifth in his qualifying heat. That gave him the 17th-starting spot in the race only for him to retire with steering issues. Fantasy players should expect Hamlin to be more competitive this time around. Remember that last year's race was one of the first times teams were hitting the track with the new car, and Hamlin's No. 11 team were bitten by some of those new-car niggles. Teammate Busch qualified fastest, which means Hamlin should have the capacity to perform similarly. Another driver who can outperform in unique situations is William Byron (DK $8,400, FD $11,000). He finished sixth in last year's championship standings, winning two races. His second-place qualifying heat finish here last season earned him the seventh-place starting spot. He then moved one spot forward to finish the race sixth. Byron and his Hendrick Motorsports team will again this year be looking to maximize track position from the get go by setting the stage for their race finish by qualifying as well as possible. Veteran Austin Dillon (DK $5,700, FD $7,000) will be another driver to monitor in 2023. He has a new championship-winning teammate in Busch, and that pairing could serve to elevate Dillon's potential. Dillon is a winner in his own right, which could make this an exciting opportunity for him. He was impressive in last year's main event, given his short-track skills, moving from 10th at the start to finish the race third. Lastly, the sky is the limit for Ty Gibbs (DK $5,300, FD $9,000). Last year's Xfinity Series champion makes the move to full-time Cup Series competition after filling in for the sidelined Kurt Busch late in 2022. He takes over Kyle Busch's car this year, which was one of the fastest cars in this event last season. Gibbs may be young, but he is fast. He has much to learn and experience to gain, but he has won quickly in every series he has attempted. Will Cup be different for him? He certainly has the car and team to get the job done.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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