NASCAR has at least partially moved its Busch Light Clash to the LA Coliseum to bring the racing series to new audiences.
There’s a reason the Clash is an exhibition and it’s the only race on the schedule with a halftime break and a musical performance during that break incorporated into the action. This year Wiz Khalifa will be entertaining at the Coliseum.
So, guessing game. Why does NASCAR’s format for the Clash—it’s a big chance to showcase the series to a new (and younger, Los Angeles-looking crowd) audience—be so convoluted?
Don’t you think the format is complicated? Try explaining this to your friend or spouse who is the best casual fan.
Here’s the format, for NASCAR. And, no, there won’t be a test after that.
Good thing, too. I am afraid of failing.
Format 2023 Busch Light Clash
• For 2023, NASCAR has expanded the starting field for the season opener in Los Angeles from 23 to 27 cars.
• All 2023 NASCAR Cup Series leased teams and associated drivers will be eligible to participate in the Clash, as well as non-leased teams and drivers for four additional starting spots.
• Single-car qualifying for the Clash will take place on Saturday 4 February after scheduled practice, with a three-lap qualifying session (one warmup, two timed) for each car.
• Qualifying order will be set from lowest to highest 2022 owner points, with the four fastest Open (non-leased) cars progressing to Heat races if there are more than 40 entries.
• Qualifying will determine the starting order for the four heat races, with the fastest qualifier winning pole for Heat 1, the second fastest qualifier winning pole for Heat 2, and so on.
• Each Heat Race will be 25 laps with only green flag laps and the top five finishers from each Heat Race will advance to the Clash.
• The remaining finishers will advance to one of two 50-lap Last Chance qualifiers, with the top three from each race advancing to the Clash.
• The last starting place will be reserved for the driver with the highest score in 2022 and who has not already earned a starting place in the Clash.
• The Clash will last 150 laps, counting only green flag laps.
Heat races? Car not rented? Last chance to qualify? Which driver has finished highest in 2022 and hasn’t already earned a starting spot in the Clash?
Sorry, NASCAR. This may not be the best way to introduce a new fan to Cup Series racing. The NASCAR product is fine the way it is. There’s no need to make it up to the point where most people outside the officials booth can’t figure it out. I can only imagine how the fans in the stands will get lost during the process.
Don’t worry, NASCAR and FOX, I’ll be watching. If nothing else, only to find out which rider finished highest in the standings in 2022 that he hasn’t already earned himself a starting spot in the Clash.