The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will officially host a NASCAR race this Sunday thanks to the construction of a temporary track. NASCAR’s Busch Light Clash kicks off the racing season at 6 P.M. ET from the historic west coast football stadium. It will mark the first time that a race season began somewhere besides Daytona International Speedway since 1979. The race results won’t award any Cup standing points. Though it will debut the sport’s new Next Gen race car for the fans.
But the unique event immediately begs the question, how exactly do you install a racetrack in a football stadium? Simple. By paving over the field, of course.
Check out this time-lapse video of Arizona-based New Valley Construction company laying down a quarter-mile track. The build occurred over the course of a few weeks.
The Busch Light Clash is a first of its kind
Steve Boscardin, the New Valley manager overseeing the project, said that the company is following nearly the same procedure it would if it were laying a long-term surface. The biggest difference is the protective layers of plastic and plywood they are placing over the field. Workers then laid a six-inch base of dirt on top to simulate real earth.
Logistics surrounding the stadium, itself, proved trickier than the actual construction. Boscardin said that 500 truckloads of dirt and over 1,500 tons of special asphalt had to be perfectly coordinated through the stadium’s “front door,” a narrow delivery tunnel that provided access to the interior. Builders also imported big, bulky special machines required to pave the surface to NASCAR’s specifications.
One significant difference, too, is the thickness of the pavement. A long-term build typically requires five inches of asphalt, whereas this temporary project only took four inches. New Valley also worked with NASCAR on projects at Homestead-Miami and the Phoenix Raceway.
The track will need to set and cure in just two weeks — about half the time of a normal job. Boscardin said he doesn’t foresee any issues there.
Can fans expect a normal race?
Since the track lacks the permanent barriers of a typical track, specially-designed street circuit barriers will be used to define the oval. The Clash won’t require a pit lane, either, since the entire event only consists of a few short sprints and one non-stop main race.
As soon as the trophies are awarded and the frenzied fans exit the building, crews will tear up the track and haul it all away. The dirt and asphalt will both be used for other projects, according to officials. NASCAR never revealed the exact price of the build; but NASCAR’s Vice President of Marketing Services Patrick Rogers said it cost over $1 million, which is roughly what it costs to pave a regular mile.