NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum
The annual NASCAR Clash finally arrived this past weekend and it came with a different twist than past years. The race took place inside of the famous Los Angeles Coliseum this year instead of the usual preseason exhibition race at Daytona.
First, though, here’s some insight into how a NASCAR race came to be about inside a football stadium.
The Dash For The Clash
Since 1979 NASCAR yearly pre-season exhibition race has taken place at Daytona, where the first race of the regular season always takes place for NASCAR. However, NASCAR this year switched things up with a move across the country to an almost foreign market on the West Coast.
It was a gamble to go across the country, but NASCAR was confident in this project as it put more than $1 million for a renovation of the former Olympic venue.
The track was completed with construction and was ready to go by Jan. 24. The layout for the track covered the USC Trojans’ football field and turned out to be a quarter-of-a-mile track.
Clash Race Weekend
There still had to be one thing figured out, though: if the money NASCAR spent and hype that has come with hosting a race in a football stadium would be worth it.
The cars first hit the track on Saturday for practice in the afternoon. It was very apparent that the cars would be able to pass each other with some good old bumping that always creates heated NASCAR races.
The cars would next hit the track for qualifying, which was underwhelming because of the slick conditions created from the cool temperature and the fresh race surface in the coliseum.
On Sunday, fans finally got what they paid for and the cars were set up to compete in heat races after the previous qualifying session. Maybe some of the most enjoyment came from these heat races in the weekend as the 36 cars who attended the race weekend were separated into four heats.
Only 23 cars would be allowed into the main race on Sunday, so in each heat race it would be the top-four finishers who would advance to the main race.
After the four heat races were done, it then turned into an all-out wreck fest where the crowd enjoyed the two separate last-chance qualifier races as there were constant wrecks and collisions to the crowd's amazement.
One can’t blame the crowd for enjoying the wrecks, since 70% of the 50,000 person crowd had never attended a NASCAR race before.
Clash Main Event
The race began after a scheduled concert from NASCAR team owner Pitbull and instantly the racing gave off a different atmosphere; the track had the most cars on it to that point in the weekend at 23 cars.
The race was scheduled to go 150 laps with an intermission at lap 75 that included an Ice Cube halftime show that did not disappoint. However, the start of the race started strong for the guys up front, as Kyle Busch started on the pole with Tyler Reddick starting second.
After 18 laps Tyler Reddick took over the lead and was already into lap traffic as the quarter-mile track started to clog itself up.
At the 54-lap mark, Denny Hamlin’s car overheated, while leader Tyler Reddick's car had a transaxle brake on the car. He wasn’t the only one, though, as Chase Briscoe had the same problem. With these new cars being raced for the first time this year, car failures are bound to happen.
Moving ahead to after the halftime intermission, with the fight for the rest of the race was between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, but this year's clash winner was Joey Logano in the LA Coliseum for his second clash win.
The success of this event could be determined by the 50,000 fans who showed up, but the T.V. rating of 2.7 was the highest for FOX in the last six years for a non-Daytona race.
Dale Ostrander is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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