A recent report announced that NASCAR officials are close to finalizing a deal that would move its season-opening exhibition race “The Clash” to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
For the 2022 season, NASCAR is looking to go to Hollywood for its first race, according to The Athletic. Daytona International Speedway typically hosts the opening race. However, they’re hoping to switch things up and race on a short track inside the famous 77,500-seat stadium.
The exhibition race would most likely commence in early February two weeks before the first official race at Daytona on February 20. The Clash would help garner considerable attention for NASCAR’s upcoming season. Additionally, the special event would help launch the sport’s brand new Next Gen cars for the 2022 season.
Officials haven’t announced if the Next Gen cars will be used in The Clash exhibition race. Certain race teams have shown concern for using the new stock cars in the exhibition event. Since the small track will likely result in lots of contacts, teams are hesitant to use the new rides.
If NASCAR does complete the L.A. Coliseum deal, it brings an end to their longtime run opening the season at Daytona. The exhibition has preceded the Daytona 500 since 1979, but would be a change for the first time in 42 years.
NASCAR Goes to Hollywood (Maybe)
If NASCAR works out the deal to bring the sport to Los Angeles next year, it will become part of the Coliseum’s long and storied history.
Since 1923, the L.A. Coliseum is home to the University of Southern California Trojans football team. It was also the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1979. The Coliseum played host to two Super Bowls as well – Super Bowl I and Super Bowl VII. Further, it also hosted three games of the 1959 World Series.
In addition, the Memorial Coliseum hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984. It will play host once again during the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will make it the first stadium to host the Olympic games three times.
The Coliseum is nicknamed “The Greatest Stadium in the World.” It’s held countless historic sporting events and is a living memorial to those that served in the military during World War I. In fact, the stadium was declared a National Historic Landmark on July 27, 1984 previous to the Olympics opening ceremony that year.
This isn’t the first time NASCAR has raced inside another sport’s stadium. On July 21, 1956, NASCAR held a race at Chicago’s Soldier Field. If the sport completes the deal, the temporary Coliseum race track will mirror another famous stadium’s track. It will take after Bowman-Gray Stadium’s historic quarter-mile short track in Winston-Salem, N.C.