Denny Hamlin demonstrated impressive speed throughout the initial two practice rounds, reaffirming his performance by recording the top speed (68.498 mph) in the third round, setting the starting lineup for the Clash.
Due to anticipated severe weather in the L.A. area, the Clash, originally slated for Sunday night, was rescheduled to Saturday. Hamlin, securing the fastest time, will start on the pole for the 150-lap preseason non-points race. Sharing the front row is Joey Logano (67.924 mph), the winner of the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum in 2022.
In the lineup behind Hamlin are Ty Gibbs, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Busch, rounding out the top five. The top-10 is completed by William Byron, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, and Justin Hailey, making his debut in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Ford.
Defending Clash champion Martin Truex Jr. will start 19th, and the field was determined by the top 22 speeds, with the final spot awarded to the team highest in owner points not yet qualified, claimed by reigning Cup champion Ryan Blaney, who finished 26th fastest overall.
Originally, heat races and a last-chance race were planned for lineup determination, but these were eliminated when NASCAR decided to move the race up a day due to impending bad weather.
Several notable drivers failed to advance to the main event, including Christopher Bell, second-fastest in the initial practice rounds, along with Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher, Erik Jones, and rookies Josh Berry and Zane Smith.
Reflecting on the practice sessions, Hamlin posted the fastest average speed at 67.822 mph in the first two rounds. In the second round of Group 1 practice, Austin Cindric spun off Turn 2 without damaging his No. 2 Ford, marking the only incident during practice.
The drivers who failed to make the race include Josh Williams, Carson Hocevar, Josh Berry, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Chris Buescher, Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Christopher Bell, Kaz Grala, Harrison Burton, and Zane Smith.