For over 70 years the NASCAR racing season has begun with Speedweeks at the home of NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway. But when the 2022 season begins in February, The Clash will begin across the country in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Normally run on the two and a half mile high banks of Daytona, the 2022 Clash will be run on a quarter mile oval that circles the football field that has hosted two Olympic games and hundreds of football games in its 98 year history. Currently NASCAR does not have any quarter-mile tracks – the half mile tracks at Bristol and Martinsville are the shortest tracks on the NASCAR circuit.
The new location for the 2022 Clash has been two years in the making.
The February 6 race will also debut the Next Gen car.
The Clash began in 1979 as the Budweiser Shootout. This will mark the first time that the race has benn held outside of Daytona.
NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation Ben Kennedy spoke on the new location for The Clash saying, “we’ve been discussing the Clash for a while, and we’ve had it at the (Daytona) oval for a number of years. We moved it to the road course this year, but really wanted to think outside the box as we thought about the Clash in the future — and seeing that it’s an exhibition event, we looked at a number of different places and locations that we could host it at, and ultimately narrowed it down to the L.A. Coliseum. Kennedy added, “I think the large fan base that we have here in Los Angeles, the largest that we actually have in the nation, paired with exciting racing and being here in the downtown Los Angeles market, I think will be really special.”
This will not be the first time that racing has occurred at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The 77,500 seat stadium has hosted supercross, speedway motorcycle, off-road trucks, rallycross, and X Games events. This will mark the first time a stock car event will be held at the venue.
Construction of the temporary asphalt track will begin on New Year’s Day. Officials have used the iRacing simulator to help in designing the track and obtain feedback from Cup Series drivers who have tested on the virtual track.
In years past, The Clash has included previous winners, Series champions, pole winners, and race winners; however, the format for eligible drivers in the 2022 series will be announced at a later date. Ben Kennedy noted, “ the format will be a little bit different from what we’ve traditionally seen at the Clash at Daytona.”
feature photo credit: USC vs University of Oregon November 2019.png