NASCAR is set to open the 2022 season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in one of the biggest changes to their schedule in years.
The annual Clash exhibition, which has been held at Daytona International Speedway since 1979, will be relocated to Los Angeles next year. The invitation-only race was always the prelude to the competitive NASCAR race and took place in the week before the Daytona 500 season opener.
The 2022 race will be played on February 6, one week after the Super Bowl and two weeks before the Daytona 500. The race will be held at the stadium on a temporary quarter mile of tarmac. The historic Colosseum is home to the University of Southern California football team and has 77,500 seats.
Fox Sports’ announcement on Tuesday evening precedes the publication of the full schedule for 2022.
“Los Angeles is synonymous with major sporting and entertainment events, so we took an innovative opportunity to showcase NASCAR at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to be the center of attention in this market as we begin our 2022 season.”
NASCAR has raced in stadiums including regional events at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem and a cup race at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1956.
Eligibility for The Clash has not been announced, but drivers will use the next-generation cars, which are slated to hit the market in 2022.
Tickets for The Clash in Daytona have been on sale for months and the race has been billed as the prelude to six days of racing in Daytona. Tickets for “The Clash at the Coliseum” will go on sale Thursday for $ 65 for adults and $ 10 for ages 12 and under.
NASCAR will return to the Los Angeles area after The Clash for its traditional stop at Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR did not drive in Los Angeles in 2021 because of the pandemic.
JENNA FRYER AP car racing writer