Ben Kennedy, SVP of Racing Development and Strategy, provided the update ahead of the Cup Series race at Sonoma on June 12. He sat down with Chris Myers and revealed that the exhibition race will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after a successful debut in 2022. The 2023 race will take place on February 5 as the drivers try to join Joey Logano on the list of those who won on the purpose-built track.
“Our entire industry made a bold move by bringing the Busch Light Clash to the L.A. Coliseum this past February and it paid off by becoming an instant classic with both new and existing fans,” Kennedy said in a press release. “We are intent on showcasing our sport and drivers on the biggest stage and there is none bigger than the L.A. Coliseum. We’re thrilled to return to the heart of Los Angeles to officially start the season and set the stage for the Daytona 500.”
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NASCAR Continues To Drop Schedule Hints
There is no set date for the 2023 schedule release, but the expectation is that it will be in the near future. Meanwhile, NASCAR continues to drop schedule hints. The latest is the news that there will be three races in California.
The press release confirmed that the Busch Light Clash will kick off the year in Los Angeles once again. It also noted that the Cup Series will return to Auto Club Speedway in nearby Fontana, as well as Sonoma Raceway. Though NASCAR kept the dates a secret.
The 2022 season marked the return of both California tracks after previous schedule changes. The Cup Series drivers competed at Auto Club Speedway early in 2020, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the Sonoma race. The 2021 season, for comparison, featured a return to Sonoma at limited capacity, but the drivers did not head to Auto Club Speedway.
The Inaugural Trip to the LA Memorial Coliseum Turned Heads
There were questions about the inaugural race at LA Memorial Coliseum and whether the Next Gen cars would be able to navigate the quarter-mile short track. The race, which Logano won, provided a definitive answer.
The action on the track entertained viewers at home, as well as an in-person crowd featuring thousands of first-time attendees. Approximately 70% of those that bought tickets had never previously attended a NASCAR race, and they were able to take in a race that also featured performances by Ice Cube and Pitbull.
“With more than four million viewers, and really breaking through in a pop-culture mecca like Los Angeles, the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum did everything it was intended to do and then some,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Head of Programming and Scheduling. “It energized the sport, delivered new eyeballs, and kicked off the season in grand fashion. We can’t wait to do it all again in 2023.”