NASCAR Moving Clash Exhibition Race in 2022: Report

Busch Clash

Getty William Byron (front) races during the Clash at Daytona.

The NASCAR season-opening exhibition race is moving across the country, per a report by “The Athletic.” Instead of taking place at the Daytona International Speedway road course or on the oval, the annual February battle will head to sunny California and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

According to writer Jordan Bianchi, the 77,500-seat Coliseum will feature a purpose-built short track and will highlight the sport’s biggest names as they prepare for the 2022 Cup Series season. NASCAR has not confirmed that the trip to Los Angeles will take place, but Bianchi reports that the Clash exhibition race would most likely be two weeks before the Feb. 20 Daytona 500.

NASCAR would have to hold the exhibition two weeks prior to the season-opening race due to the presence of another major sporting event. Super Bowl LVI will also take place in Southern California with the AFC and NFC champions facing off at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The season-ending NFL game moved to Feb. 13 due to the league adding an extra regular-season game to the schedule.

The Next Gen Debut Could Take Place in L.A.

Moving the Clash to a massive market in Southern California would provide NASCAR with the opportunity to potentially reach another market. After all, there will be celebrities galore that could post about the race on social media. Though there is no guarantee that they will mention the Next Gen cars.

Bianchi added in his report that there has been no decision about whether the Cup Series teams will use the Next Gen cars during the proposed LA 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,” he wrote.

On one hand, the exhibition race at the iconic Memorial Coliseum would be the perfect setting to unveil the Next Gen stock cars and test them in close proximity to each other. The new generation would certainly shine under the bright lights of the football stadium, and they would help set the stage for the new season of racing as NASCAR pushes to reach a much larger audience.

However, the teams have every right to express concern about the potential damage to the stock cars. The Next Gen vehicles will reportedly handle collisions better than the current iterations, but a major crash in an exhibition event could still prove costly to many of the smaller teams.

Reports About the Coliseum Have Continued To Swirl

The report about the Clash is not the first time that Bianchi has provided updates about a potential race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He previously did so during a joint article with Jeff Gluck about future locations for the NASCAR All-Star Race.

“You may read this and think the notion of a stock car race inside the stadium the USC Trojans football team calls home is harebrained, maybe even completely ludicrous. Understandable,” Bianchi wrote. “Except this idea is actively being explored by NASCAR, industry sources have told The Athletic, and could even happen as soon as 2022.”

Bianchi has continued to provide updates throughout the summer, noting that the move to the stadium is a very real possibility. Though nothing is set in stone until NASCAR releases the 2022 season schedule. The sanctioning body has no date for this release, but the expectation is “within weeks.”

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