The purpose-built lane inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has joined an exclusive NASCAR club that previously had only two lanes.
With Sunday night’s Busch Light Clash exhibition race kicking off the 2022 unofficially NASCAR Cup Series season, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has joined an exclusive club in NASCAR history.
Launched in 1979, the Daytona 500 is the annual official Cup Series season opener, competing with the Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
Before Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the quarter-mile, purpose-built lane inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Daytona International Speedway was the only place to host a Clash.
For the first 42 years of the exhibit race’s existence (1979 to 2020), it was contested at Daytona Beach, Florida venue’s four-turn, 2.5-mile (4,023-kilometer) high-bank oval.
But that changed in 2021. After making his Cup Series debut as a COVID-19-related replacement race in August 2020, Daytona International Speedway’s 14-turn, 3.61-mile (5,810-kilometer) roadway hosted the Clash last February.
That new “tradition” lasted only one year.
While the tight track with low benches inside the home of the USC Trojans soccer team is the third different track to host a Clash in the last three seasons, it is only the third different track to host a Clash in the 44-year-old history of the event as well.
And after 43 years of managing the Clash at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has made it only the second place ever to host one.
As for the future, it is difficult to find an option that is not on the table. A return to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is certainly not out of the question, and the idea of moving the race outside the United States has also been driven to something completely different.
Interestingly, this is the first time that Clash is competing at a track that does not have a regular season date. While the Daytona International Speedway racetrack has only been on the calendar for two seasons, it also had a regular race date in 2021.
Of course, the Oval has always had two regular season race dates, including one for the Daytona 500 season opener and another for the annual summer race.
Whatever happens to this exhibition event going forward, do not expect to see the same track for 42 consecutive years, or the same venue it will ever see it again for 43 consecutive years.
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is officially scheduled to kick off with the 64th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 20th. This race will be broadcast live from Daytona International Speedway on Fox at 2.30pm ET.