Clash at the Coliseum- Can NASCAR attract new fans?
With the final day of Next Gen testing set to wrap up this afternoon in Phoenix, all attention will quickly shift to the first race of the year. The Clash at the Coliseum is NASCAR’s attempt to change up what has been the norm- an exhibition race in Daytona kicking off “Speed Weeks” where the Clash offered additional tune up time (and risk of a crash) on the 2.5 miles super-speedway ahead of the qualifying races known as The Duels. Not this year! The 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum establishes for the first time ever, the season opening exhibition race on a 0.25-mile asphalt oval built over the past few weeks inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
As noted in our previous report “Entry list published for NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum” published 1/25/2022 on our website gofullthrottle.net — New Valley Construction executive Steve Boscardin told reporters that his crews brought in about 500 truckloads of dirt along with 1,560 tons of a special high-performance asphalt. The timeline is tight with the track having just two weeks to set and cure before the Feb. 6 Busch Light Clash. Boscardin said previous tracks got a month to settle, but he’s not worried. In one-month NVC transformed the famed Olympic and football stadium into a 1/4-mile oval track reminiscent of many hometown NASCAR paved and dirt tracks that is NASCAR’s heritage.
NASCAR has established that the field will be open to 40 entrants and has produced significant content to help fans understand the format for The Clash. On Sunday, drivers compete in one of four 25-lap heat races with up to 10 cars in each race. The fields will be filled out in a manner consistent with their initial qualifying speed established the previous day. Fastest will start on pole in the first heat race, second fastest starts on pole in the second heat race and so on (one, five, nine, etc. line up in Heat 1).
The top four finishers in each heat race will automatically advance to the main event, totaling 16 drivers with a ticket to Sunday night’s feature. Drivers who do not advance from their qualifying race will be placed into one of two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) races. The top three from each LCQ advance to the Sunday feature.
The final spot in the 23-man main event is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer on finishing position in the heat races or LCQ.
Fox Sports and NASCAR announced coverage of the event, including practice and qualifying, will include a practice session on Feb. 5 broadcast on FS2 at 12:30 p.m. ET, while qualifying will be at 8:30 p.m. ET that evening moving over to FS1. Sunday’s coverage kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on FOX with a slate of heat races before the main event at 6 p.m. ET. All weekend coverage will be broadcast live from LA.
Here is the full rundown of TV and national radio coverage:
Kyle Busch is the reigning Busch Light Clash winner (also the winner in 2012) of the prestigious exhibition. Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch round out the list of active drivers with a Clash win. Dale Earnhardt holds the all-time record with six.
Go Full Throttle will have 4 of our team at the Clash at the Coliseum to bring you all the action.