By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports activities NASCAR Author
NASCAR has been desirous to shake up its schedule by racing in several markets and venues.
It can begin 2022 with an exhibition at a venue that many wouldn’t have even thought doable.
NASCAR will transfer its Conflict exhibition race from Daytona Worldwide Speedway to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This received’t be a race exterior on streets, with the stadium as the focus. It will likely be a race contained in the stadium itself.
NASCAR will assemble a brief, quarter-mile, asphalt monitor for the occasion, scheduled for Feb. 6, one week previous to the Tremendous Bowl and two weeks previous to the Daytona 500. The L.A. Coliseum, house of the University of Southern California soccer workforce and one of the crucial historic sports activities venues, seats 77,500.
The announcement Tuesday precedes the discharge of the total 2022 NASCAR Cup Sequence, which is predicted within the coming days. After it was rumored for months that NASCAR was trying on the L.A. Coliseum for a possible occasion, this announcement wasn’t an excessive amount of of a shock, nevertheless it’s nonetheless affirmation that NASCAR is unorthodox methods to generate curiosity in its product.
“As we proceed to suppose in a different way concerning the future iteration of the schedule, we needed to introduce a brand new venue to it that can actually shake issues up, convey some innovation, after which on high of that, the Los Angeles market is the No. 1 marketplace for [the number of] NASCAR followers,” NASCAR Vice President Ben Kennedy mentioned.
Kennedy, son of NASCAR co-owner Lesa France Kennedy, has been given the directive to make daring strikes with the schedule in his function as vice chairman for strategic initiatives, and a stadium race was a kind of on his record.
“We felt prefer it was vital for us to get there and still have a stadium-style occasion, which we’ve got by no means accomplished — a minimum of, to this extent — earlier than,” Kennedy mentioned.
“It offers you the flexibility and alternative to additionally come to downtown Los Angeles, too. We’ll be proper within the coronary heart of Los Angeles. I believe it’s an important transfer for us. I believe will probably be nice to see the vitality round that occasion.”
Racing inside a stadium just isn’t unprecedented. NASCAR has run regional occasions at Bowman Grey Stadium, which is utilized by Winston-Salem State as its soccer stadium. NASCAR additionally ran a Cup race at Soldier Subject again in 1956.
However this Coliseum occasion shall be completely different, as NASCAR should assemble a monitor. It can put a protecting barrier over the floor, then layers of filth on high of the barrier after which paving on high of the filth. The monitor could have an inside and out of doors wall. There shall be a handful of pit stalls (in all probability eight to 10) in case drivers have issues, however there received’t be aggressive pit stops.
The specifics of eligibility, what number of automobiles (possible not more than 25) and the size of the race are nonetheless to be decided. NASCAR is utilizing iRacing, its digital racing associate, to create completely different quarter-mile tracks to assist decide what would work greatest so far as banking. It has had Cup drivers and iRacing drivers take a look at quite a lot of banking configurations.
The race will use the brand new NASCAR Subsequent Gen automobiles, which groups are presently testing in preparation to be used subsequent yr.
For extra up-to-date information on all issues NASCAR, click here to register for alerts on the FOX Sports activities app!
NASCAR thought-about utilizing its present automobile relatively than the Subsequent Gen, as a brief monitor equivalent to this one may result in some appreciable automobile injury, and there’s concern about restricted provides of elements and items for the brand new automobile.
“We went forwards and backwards on it for some time and talked to a few of our groups to get their perspective on it,” Kennedy mentioned.
“A part of the reason being actually going right into a brand-new yr, a brand-new season and a contemporary monitor just like the Los Angeles Coliseum, we felt it was vital that if we’re displaying off the Subsequent Gen NASCAR in many alternative methods to additionally introduce the Subsequent Gen automobile as part of that weekend, too.”
NASCAR had been promoting tickets for the Conflict as a Tuesday night time occasion to open a six-day stretch of racing at Daytona Worldwide Speedway culminating with the Daytona 500. Kennedy mentioned they’re nonetheless engaged on the ultimate Speedweek schedule, with an announcement anticipated within the subsequent few weeks.
Going to the L.A. Coliseum will put two occasions within the Southern California market, as NASCAR expects to return to Auto Membership Speedway in Ontario, California, for a regular-season occasion in late February. The Cup Sequence didn’t race at that monitor in 2021, as its race scheduled for February was moved to the Daytona street course due to the pandemic.
Bob Pockrass has spent a long time overlaying motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports activities in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Seashore) Information-Journal. Comply with him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!
Get extra from Cup Sequence Comply with your favorites to get details about video games, information and extra.