Ahead of the announcement of its 2022 Cup schedule, NASCAR revealed late Tuesday that they will move the season opening exhibition Clash to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February of 2022.
The Clash is a non-points event normally run at Daytona International Speedway in the week leading up to the season opening Daytona 500.
The race scheduled for Feb. 6, 2022, will be the first NASCAR race held inside the historic Los Angeles stadium since it opened in 1923. The event will part of the venue’s centennial celebration and mark the first time the Clash will take place somewhere other than Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona 500 will take place two weeks later.
“Los Angeles is synonymous with major sports and entertainment events, so we seized an innovative opportunity to showcase NASCAR at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take center stage in this market as we get our 2022 season underway.”
The traditional Coliseum playing surface will be converted into a quarter-mile, asphalt short track. Drivers will compete for the first time in the new Next Gen cars.
In NASCAR’s early days, Soldier Field in Chicago, now home to the NFL’s Chicago Bears held auto racing on a cinder track. There were several configurations inside the stadium held races for “Hot Rods” and Midget Cars.
NASCAR started racing in 1950 at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The track still hosts wildly popular weekly races. The 0.25-mile track at the football stadium hosted 29 Cup Series races from 1958 to 1971. The Cup race at Bowman Gray on Aug. 6, 1971, is the last time the Cup series competed on a 0.25-mile track.
NASCAR will visit the state of California three times next season with a race at Fontana only a few weeks after the Clash and at Sonoma Raceway in June. The sanctioning body is expected to release its 2022 Cup schedule Wednesday with highlights that include changes in the Playoff races and the addition of a Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway/Gateway in St. Louis.