The countdown is on for the February 5 Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum. NASCAR has unveiled the format and revealed some changes for the exhibition weekend.
The biggest change for the weekend is that the main event will have a larger field. There were 23 participants in 2022, but there will now be 27 drivers battling for the Busch Light Clash trophy. The 36 chartered entries will battle for these 27 spots alongside any open entries that make the trip to Southern California.
In order to determine which drivers will be in the main event, NASCAR has also made changes to the four heat races. The top five drivers from each heat race will move on to the main event instead of four as in 2022.
Similarly, there will be two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifier races. These will be the final opportunities for drivers to advance to the main event. Three will advance from each LCQ. The final spot in the 27-driver field will go to the remaining driver with the most points in the 2022 season.
The First Day Will Once Again Feature Practice
The first Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum had two days of action. The first day featured practice, as well as single-car qualifying sessions. The second day featured the heat races, LCQs, and the main event. This format will remain for the 2023 iteration.
February 4’s schedule will consist of practice and single-car qualifying for the 36 chartered entries and the open entries that show up for the race weekend.
Qualifying will feature three laps for each driver. There will be one warmup lap and two timed laps that will determine the spots for the four 25-lap heat races. NASCAR will only have one round of qualifying for the exhibition event.
For example, the fastest driver in qualifying will win the pole for the first heat race. The second fastest will take the pole position for the second heat race, the third fastest will take the pole position for the third heat race, and the fourth fastest will take the pole position for the final heat race.
FS1 will provide coverage for the qualifying session on February 4. FOX will then take over for the heat races and the main event on February 5 as Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer head to the booth with a guest analyst.
Work Continues as NASCAR Prepares for 2023
The Busch Light Clash will not take place until February 4-5, but time is running out for NASCAR to complete its preparations. Construction is currently underway at the iconic football stadium, and it will be complete in time for practice.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on December 15 after the University of Southern California completed its regular-season football schedule. Kyle Larson joined executives from NASCAR at the LA Memorial Coliseum, and he took part in the groundbreaking ceremony before climbing into a Busch Light Clash-branded Chevrolet Camaro.
Work has continued since this ceremony, and NASCAR has provided a constant look at the progress. The USC video board has a dedicated link to a camera, which provides a time-stamped look at the work. There is also a time-lapse option that will show all of the progress over the span of seven or 30 days.