NASCAR close to moving the Clash exhibition to Los Angeles: Sources

by 24USATVSept. 6, 2021, 3 p.m. 21
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NASCAR is close to finalizing a deal that would turn its season-opening exhibition race into a blockbuster Hollywood event, The Athletic has learned.

The sanctioning body has been in serious talks to move the Clash from the Daytona International Speedway road course to a purpose-built short track inside the 77,500-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which has played host to some of the greatest events in sports. 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 has hosted two Super Bowls (Super Bowls I and VII); the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, with the venue set to host the 2028 Games; Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 1959 World Series; and has been home to the USC football team since 1923. Now NASCAR, which had a Cup Series race inside Chicago's Soldier Field on July 21, 1956, will make another go at stadium racing. 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.

Shifting The Clash to the Coliseum marks the end — at least temporarily — of the race's long run at Daytona. The event was held on the oval as a precursor to the Daytona 500 from 1979 to 2020, then moved to the Daytona road course this season.

The complete 2022 Cup schedule is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

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