While the Busch Light Clash was a success at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, do not expect the NASCAR exhibition race to be contested at an NFL stadium.
Despite a NASCAR offseason full of criticism, skepticism, doubt, and complaints about the change, the Busch Light Clash was contested at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the USC Trojans football team, for the first time ever.
Prior to this past weekend, the Cup Series season-opening exhibition race had been contested at Daytona International Speedway for the first 43 years of its existence.
But the event turned out to be a big hit among drivers, NASCAR executives, and fans alike, so much so that there are already talks about what a future Clash could look like either at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or at another purpose-built, quarter -mile race track inside a football stadium.
NASCAR has an option to run the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the next two years. Whether they opt to do that or switch it up after just one year remains to be seen, but some fans are already calling on the sport to try out some other stadiums, specifically NFL stadiums.
However, that simply isn’t a possibility, and the reason why is quite simple.
Logistics. Construction on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum track began on Tuesday, December 21, which was 44 days ahead of when the NASCAR haulers began to arrive at the venue and 47 days ahead of the Busch Light Clash itself.
The Busch Light Clash itself is an annual preseason event which takes place prior to the official season-opening Daytona 500, which has been contested on the Sunday before Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February) for the last few years.
But while the NCAA football regular season ends in late November, the NFL regular season does not end until the second week in January.
For teams that host playoff games, there’s no chance that fields could be transformed in enough time. The conference championship games literally took place one week before the Busch Light Clash.
And even for non-playoff teams, there still would not be nearly enough time to create a race track like NASCAR did inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Heck, even for teams that end the season with consecutive road games, this would still be an issue. But that point is basically moot anyway, considering the fact that NASCAR has absolutely no way of knowing which teams will or will not make it into the postseason each year.
The All-Star Race, however? That could be another story, especially given the success of this past weekend.
This exhibition race has now been contested at three different tracks (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway) in the last three years, despite the fact that, prior to 2020, it had been contested at Charlotte Motor Speedway for 33 straight years and had only not been contested there once in race history, which goes back to 1985.
Given NASCAR’s willingness to try some pretty bold new things over the last few years, a willingness that has been no more perfectly highlighted than it was by Sunday’s race, do not rule out an NFL stadium hosting this late spring / summer event at some point over the next few years.
But an NFL Clash? Sorry, but we can probably forget about it, at least if the Clash is to remain a preseason race.