“Run a Lot of Them a Day Late”- NASCAR Legend Richard Petty Delivers His Verdict on the Preponed Race of Clash


WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 06: Team owner Richard Petty stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The 2024 season’s inauguration was not the spectacle most people expected it to be. Threatened to be suspended by Southern California’s strongest storm of the year, the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum schedule received some major adjustments. With the main event being shifted to Saturday, NASCAR wanted to avoid a run-in with inclement weather after it ruined several races in 2023. As per Richard Petty and his former crew chief, Dale Inman, that decision was pretty sensible.
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NASCAR had to reschedule the NASCAR Mexico Series, practice, and qualifying races to accommodate the 2024 Clash in the evening. Discussing the unofficial opener of the 2024 season, Richard Petty and Inman also dissect Joe Gibbs Racing sensation Ty Gibbs’ outing at the Coliseum and the reason for his fumbling a win.
Richard Petty questions the importance of the Clash
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Being a 7-time Cup Series champion, The King has raced enough to understand the effect of weather on racing. NASCAR has been trying to work its way around inclement weather through the years. At times, thunderclouds have forced NASCAR to fast-forward the schedule and sometimes lag behind it.
Hinting at the same, Richard Petty claimed, “I’ve been going to races for a lot of years. First time I’ve ever went that I can remember that we run the race a day early, run a lot of them a day late.” Owing to the weather condition’s continuous intervention in 2023, NASCAR had to postpone most of its races. However, the Busch Light Clash underlined a different approach. Richard Petty’s former crew chief, Dale Inman, believes that the excellent conditions made the track better for racing and helped every driver. He also used the reasoning to defend the current driver of the iconic #43, Erik Jones.
Inman stated, “In defense of the #43, it seemed that the track got better. Only one car out of the first session made it.” However, for Richard Petty, with the Daytona 500 next on the schedule, using a race like the Clash might be unnecessary. The NASCAR Hall of Famer explained his stance, “I would think the 500 is so big that you wouldn’t want to dilute it with a race two weeks before, especially a kind of race that the Cup cars don’t run.”
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As the conversation between the Hall of Fame pairing continued, Dale Inman revealed his candidate for the best driver at the 2024 Busch Light Clash. With Ty Gibbs taking that role, Richard Petty revealed one of the major obstructions to Gibbs winning his first race in the Cup Series.
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Inman unveils Ty Gibbs as the best driver at the 2024 Clash
Drivers didn’t get much space to pass their opponents in the 150-lap race at the 0.25-mile-long short track in the Coliseum. While pole-sitter Denny Hamlin used his position to dominate the front row early in the race, Ty Gibbs enforced a lead exchange during the race. The #54 Toyota driver eventually led 84 laps, the highest in the race, but couldn’t deliver a victory lane celebration.
Addressing Ty Gibbs’ outing, Inman stated, “Probably the best car didn’t win. Probably the best car was the #54 car because he could get away from them.” Ty Gibbs qualified for the main event in P3 and was challenged for the lead until the final laps, when a transmission failure pushed him back. After an elongated tug-of-war with Joey Logano, the youngster failed to make his chances count. According to Richard Petty, while Gibbs’ car was fast enough to stay ahead of his opponents, the racetrack’s structure prevented him from doing so.
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“Where he was making his time, he was going in the corner,” disclosed Petty. With no straights to capitalize on the time difference, Gibbs lost a lot of momentum in corners where Logano and Hamlin caught up to him. Despite missing out on a victory, Ty Gibbs has shown that he is not to be trifled with in 2024. After battling for the playoffs all year in 2023, this could be the year he makes a jump to the elite drivers club of the Cup Series.


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