While the actual NASCAR season does not begin until February 19, we are given a warmup competition this week with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. It’s an opportunity for drivers to test the new machinery and for DFS players to get a head start on building their 2023 bankroll.
In 2022, Joey Logano kicked off his championship year with a victory at the Clash.
While this is certainly not a typical race nor race format, there is still plenty of ways to find value on the boards of FanDuel and DraftKings. For more info on how to play NASCAR DFS, check out our 2023 primer.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.
Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
Track: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Track Length: 0.25 miles
Because this is more of an exhibition race, it follows a significantly different format. Qualifying will divide the field into four groups. Each group will run 25 laps, with the top five drivers from each of the four heats advancing to the final race. The rest of the field will get another chance to qualify in one of two 50-lap heats, with the winner of each moving on. And finally, the driver left who finished highest in the 2022 season point standings will be added to the final field of 23.
This format makes setting DFS lineups more difficult since we won’t know starting positions or even who is available until after the heats are finished. If you plan to watch the race, you can reserve a spot in the contests you’d like to play and adjust your lineup accordingly once the final lineup is known. Track position for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum is of the utmost importance, given its quarter-mile course.
Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum: DFS Targets
Technically, no driver is guaranteed a spot in the actual race, but it is still good to have an idea of who we’re looking to target with our top picks. With salaries established on both DFS sites, getting the money to work out may also be a bit of a trick once the field is set. It’s good to have a couple of targets in each of the different tiers of drivers to pick from depending on starting position and belief in their ability to win.
- Kyle Larson ($13,000 FD | $9,500 DK)
- Chase Elliott ($13,000 FD | $10,000 DK)
- Joey Logano ($12,500 FD | $10,200 DK)
- Christopher Bell ($12,000 FD | $9,700 DK)
While I would be quite surprised if any of these four guys didn’t make the finals, stranger things have happened. That said, my primary focus Sunday night is Christopher Bell, and I plan to build my lineup around him. The other three are short-track heavyweights, and I’d be inclined to make room for whichever one has the best starting position.
- Ryan Blaney ($11,500 FD | $9,300 DK)
- William Byron ($11,000 FD | $8,400 DK)
- Tyler Reddick ($10,000 FD | $8,100 DK)
- Martin Truex Jr. ($9,500 FD | $7,300 DK)
Blaney was the only driver to make the 2022 playoffs without a win in a qualifying race (though he won the All-Star Race) and performs well on short tracks. Byron has a 93.0 driver rating, and Truex, who also went winless last year, has a rating of 98.4. This will be Reddick’s first race for his new 23XI Racing, and I am curious to see how he handles the Toyota during the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.
- Brad Keselowski ($8,000 FD | $7,500 DK)
- Alex Bowman ($7,500 FD | $6,900 DK)
For those of you who are joining me for my second year at Fantrax, you know my complicated relationship with Brad Keselowski, especially after the bizarre 2022 season he had. He is, however, highly rated on short tracks. If he secures a high starting position, his salary will fit right in any lineup I put together. Bowman also has two short-track wins since 2020.
The Cheap Tier
- Chris Buescher ($7,500 FD | $6,100 DK)
- Erik Jones ($6,500 FD | $6,300 DK)
- Austin Dillon ($7,000 FD | $5,700 DK)
- Justin Haley ($5,500 FD | $5,400 DK)
Buescher has one short-track win under his belt, while Erik Jones and Austin Dillon each have two Top 5 finishes on short tracks. Justin Haley is the most intriguing low-cost option. He won his heat at the Coliseum last year and ran well before crashing out in the main race.
I don’t have two specific lineups for you today since it’s a fluid situation in this format. DraftKings says the starting lineup should be known around 7 p.m. EST so make sure you look to ensure you have five (FD) or six (DK) active drivers. Make sure to sign up for season-long leagues here at Fantrax, and, as always, good luck!
Kelly Kirby covers fantasy NASCAR, fantasy hockey, and other random things at Fantrax. For more of her work, check out her archive and follow her on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin.