The Clash — the NASCAR Cup Series’ preseason exhibition race — got a new look at the beginning of the 2021 season, moving from the Daytona International Speedway’s iconic 2.5-mile oval to the venue’s road course.
Well, for the 2022 season, it’s reportedly getting a total makeover and moving across the country.
NASCAR has been in “serious talks” and is on the verge of finalizing a deal to move The Clash “to a purpose-built short track” at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the 2022 exhibition race, The Athletic reported Monday.
The idea to move The Clash to the LA Coliseum — the famous home field for USC Trojans football which has also hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls and so many other major events — is fun, different and could be really, really cool. Sure, it’s clearly a gimmicky move for NASCAR, but some gimmicks work.
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The views are almost guaranteed to be spectacular — assuming Mother Nature opts for sunshine instead of rain. And if the quality of racing is high, this could be a thrilling event that gets NASCAR fans amped up for the season and draws in casual fans or curious outsiders for a shorter-than-usual race.
More via The Athletic:
“NASCAR would hold the race in early February, likely two weeks before Feb. 20 Daytona 500, and use the event to build hype for the upcoming season and the launch of the Next Gen car, which is scheduled to race starting in 2022.
It has not yet been decided whether NASCAR’s new car will be used in the exhibition race; some teams have expressed reservations about racing the Next Gen in an event that doesn’t award points and likely will be a high-contact race due to the tight confines of the track. …
The Coliseum track will resemble the layout of Bowman-Gray Stadium, a historic quarter-mile short track in Winston-Salem, N.C., that encircles the football field where Winston-Salem State University plays each fall.”
Now, some NASCAR purists probably aren’t in love with this idea.
Traditionally, the Clash has been part of Daytona Speedweeks, which is typically a couple weeks’ worth of on-track action culminating with the season-opening Daytona 500. For the 2021 season, the big NASCAR events were condensed to just six days in the week leading up to the biggest race of the year. Couple that with The Clash being held on Daytona’s road course in 2021, and some NASCAR fans didn’t like all the changes.
So moving The Clash away from Daytona International Speedway altogether — away from the historic venue, away from the home of the Daytona 500 and away from the birthplace of NASCAR — might not sit well with a lot of people.
But NASCAR has been trying new things to freshen up its schedule and to attempt to grow its fan base. One thing that has some real potential to to that? Racing at the LA Coliseum.
Of course, until NASCAR reveals official details about The Clash leaving Daytona for the LA Coliseum, we won’t fully know what to expect, including whether this could be a great success, a total waste of money or just another exhibition race.
But the idea itself should be celebrated and could create some needed buzz for NASCAR, which will already have to compete with the Super Bowl and the 2022 Winter Olympics at the start of the season in February.
It’s unclear if this would be a permanent move for The Clash, so here’s hoping this deal comes to fruition for 2022.