A new season of the NASCAR Cup Series is upon us as its annual preseason exhibit returns to Southern California this weekend. The Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be held for the second consecutive year on the temporary quarter-mile track on the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Originally contested as a pseudo All-Star race to launch Daytona Speedweeks in 1979, the event now serves as a pre-season showcase open to all riders and complete with musical acts and celebrity guests in the entertainment industry capital.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum:
Format for the fight at the Colosseum
Each entered car will run three laps during Saturday’s qualifying – one warmup, two timed, with the best lap count – which will set the starting grids for Sunday’s heat racing. The fastest overall time will get pole for Heat 1, second fastest will get pole for Heat 2, third fastest will win pole for Heat 3, and fourth fastest will win pole for Heat 4. starting places for each race will follow that pattern.
Each heat race will be 25 laps of green flag racing (caution laps will not count this year) with the top five finishers in each automatically advancing to the main event. Everyone else will be split into two 50-lap “last chance qualifier” races with the top three finishers in each advancing into the main. The 27th and final starting spot for the main will be the highest ranked classifier of 2022 who has not yet advanced.
The main event, the Clash, will be a 150-lap race with only green flag laps and the winner will take home a purse in excess of $2 million.
NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum Weekend Schedule
All times ET
Saturday 4th February
Practice: 18:00 – 20:00 (FS1)
Qualifiers: 8:30 – 21:30 (FS1)
Sunday February 5th
Heat Races: 17:00 – 18:00 (FOX)
Last chances to qualify: 6.10pm – 6.50pm (FOX)
Busch Light Clash: 20:00 – 22:00 (FOX)
The best drivers and the best bets for the Clash at the Coliseum
Defending series champion Joey Logano won the only previous event at this track last year and is considered a favorite to repeat in the Clash. This being the shortest track traveled by Cup cars by a large margin (next shortest being Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway at just over half a mile), one would tend to favor drivers who excel at short tracks. This rationale is borne out in BetMGM’s betting lines as the six drivers with odds of 10 to 1 or better all rank in the top 10 among active drivers on tracks shorter than a mile.
The best odds to win the Clash at the Colosseum:
NASCAR Clash Track Profile and History
At a quarter-mile with no real straights due to usable space at the Colosseum, this temporary track is not only the shortest run by these cars, but also the most unique. The track’s shortness and lack of banking (corners are only 2.5 degrees down from Martinsville’s 12.5) puts racing far more in the hands of the riders and negates any aerodynamic or horsepower advantages a certain team or manufacturer has he could have.
Prior to 2022, the Clash was raced on the high banks (31 degrees) of Daytona International Speedway. While restrictor plate racing requires a separate skill set and a lot of nerve, short track racing is traditionally a more accurate test of a driver’s ability and part of the reason why NASCAR wants these events to showcase shorter courses. : The midseason All-Star race will be at the 0.625-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Celebrity involvement in Coliseum clash
Actor Rob Lowe will hand over the lead to start the engines for the Clash as event grand marshal, while USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the honorary starter and will wave the green flag to start the contest. Southern California hip-hop icons Cypress Hill will perform between the last chance qualifiers and the Clash, while Wiz Khalifa will perform during the mid-game break.
Weather for the clash at the Colosseum
Forecasts call for sunshine and a high of 71 degrees for qualifying on Saturday, while Sunday will be overcast with a 42% chance of precipitation. The Cup cars are equipped to race in light rain and a damp track would certainly add a wild element to race day, as last year’s race, run in sunshine, has already had its share of crashes with five warning flags in the 150 lap feature race.
Registration list for the clash at the Colosseum
Ross Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Austin Cindric (2), Team Penske Ford
Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick (4), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski (6), Ford Racing RFK
Corey Lajoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Aric Almirola (10), Ford Stewart-Haas Racing
Denny Hamlin (11), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Blaney (12), Team Penske Ford
Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
JJ Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford
AJ Allmendinger (16), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Chris Buescher (17), RFK Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr. (19), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Christopher Bell (20), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Harrison Burton (21), Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Joey Logano (22), Team Penske Ford
Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Chevrolet
William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Justin Haley (31), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell (34), Ford of motorsports front row
Todd Gilliland (38), Ford of motorsports front row
Ryan Preece (41), Stewart-Haas racing Ford
Noah Gragson (42), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Erik Jones (43), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47), JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Alex Bowman (48), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
BJ McLeod (78), Ford Live Fast Motorsport
Daniel Suarez (99), Chevrolet Trackhouse Racing