L.A. Coliseum to host 2023 NASCAR season opener

L.A. Coliseum to host 2023 NASCAR season opener

The NASCAR season will begin in Los Angeles once again as the sanctioning body confirmed on Sunday that the non-points Busch Clash will return to the Los Angeles Coliseum in February of next year.

This comes after NASCAR’s first Clash in the Coliseum was held in February, and it was a big success by all accounts, with NASCAR’s Next Gen vehicle making its competitive debut. Pitbull and rapper Ice Cube performed at the event, which drew a large crowd and other high-profile celebrities.

“Our entire industry made a bold move by bringing the Busch Light Clash to the LA Coliseum this past February and it paid off by becoming an instant classic with both new and existing fans,” NASCAR’s senior VP of racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy said in a news release.

“We are intent on showcasing our sport and drivers on the biggest stage and there is none bigger than the LA Coliseum. We’re thrilled to return to the heart of Los Angeles to officially start the season and set the stage for the Daytona 500.”

The race had a fantastic backdrop thanks to the great weather, and spectators tuned in to watch.

The Fox broadcast averaged a 2.3 rating and 4.28 million viewers, marking the event’s highest rating and viewership since 2016. Those numbers were, by the way, higher than all but four Cup series races in 2021, as well as the season-ending championship race in Phoenix.

“With more than four million viewers, and really breaking through in a pop culture mecca like Los Angeles, the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum did everything it was intended to do and then some,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, head of programming and scheduling.

“It energized the sport, delivered new eyeballs, and kicked off the season in grand fashion. We can’t wait to do it all again in 2023.”

In December of 2021, NASCAR began planning for the event and after this year’s event, Joe Furin, the Coliseum’s general manager, stated that the Coliseum would be ready to host the event again, and that everyone had learnt a lot from the first time.

“We outlined some parameters and then NASCAR did their thing,” Furin said. “Our concerns were protecting irrigation and drain lines and the infrastructure.”

“The grass is dead; that’s not a concern at all, but it’s protecting all that other stuff so then when it’s all removed, we can put the grass back in and, and everything’s intact.”

“NASCAR proved to be a great team of professionals and experts and any trepidation we have when you get that first phone call, and you say, ‘you wanna do what?’ any trepidation we had was eliminated as we got further into it, met their team and the plan actually came together, and we really understood what they were gonna do to our iconic facility.”

There had been debate among NASCAR executives about transferring the Clash to alternative locations, including military sites, based on its popularity at the L.A. Coliseum.

Management at the Coliseum, on the other hand, had stated that they needed to know by May 6 in order to create room on their timetable. That may have influenced NASCAR’s decision to maintain the Coliseum while leaving the door open for a future venue.

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