Speeds well exceeded what many expected at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first ever NASCAR Cup Series race at the track.
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is unofficially scheduled to get underway tomorrow evening with the Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Colisuem.
This marks the first time that the season-opening exhibition race has taken place outside Daytona International Speedway.
For 42 straight years, the race was contested at the Daytona Beach, Florida track’s four-turn, 2.5-mile (4,023-kilometer) high-banked oval. Last year, it was run at the track’s 14-turn, 3.61-mile (5,810-kilometer) road course for the first and only – for now, at least – time.
The purpose-built track inside the home of the USC Trojans football is just a quarter mile in length, leading to justifiable speculation that speeds would be quite slow by NASCAR standards; there was really no way around that.
But the average speeds were more than 10% higher that than what was predicted for top speeds.
It was believed that top speeds would be around 60 miles per hour, with speeds dropping to roughly 20 miles per hour in the tight, low-banked corners.
But Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott set the pace on Saturday afternoon by turning a lap at 13,455 seconds behind the wheel of his # 9 Chevrolet.
That translates to an average speed of 66.89 miles per hour. Based on simulations, the expectation was around a top average lap speed of 44 miles per hour.
What kind of speeds will we see during the four heat races and the main event itself with quite a few cars on the short track at the same time? Even speeds of more than 60 miles per hour should restrict damage to the Next Gen cars, despite the fact that the nature of this particular venue should lead to quite a few instances of contact and tempers flaring.