10 takeaways as the dust has settled on the Busch Light Clash

The Busch Light Clash has come and went. The risk that NASCAR took to bring the Clash to LA paid off. Most in wake of the event expressed that they silently doubted that this would even work. Myself included. We’re eating crow now.

But, as the dust has settled, here are five takeaways from the event moving forward.

Long Practices Not Necessarily Needed Anymore

During the pandemic, NASCAR had proven that the race weekends don’t necessarily need to be as lengthy as they once were. No longer were three separate practice sessions as well as qualifying needed prior to the race itself.

The final 32 races of 2020 were run without any sort of practice. Only the Coca-Cola 600 had qualifying. All were one day shows.

Last year, just 8 of the 36 races had practice and qualifying. Among those eight were the season opener (Daytona) and season finale (Phoenix) as well as the six new tracks on the schedule.

This season, even with a new car, practice and qualifying are have returned, albeit in limited fashion. On most cases this year, the Cup Series will be a two-day show. A short, brief practice session, quickly followed by qualifying on the first day with the race the second.

Last weekend’s Clash at the Coliseum further proved that this was the right move. You don’t need a ton of on track time to get it right. In fact, you really don’t even need to be great in that said practice so long as you get enough data for the race itself.

3 of the top 4 finishers in Sunday’s exhibition race were honestly a bit off in practice on Saturday morning. But, those three, eight-minute practice sessions proved pivotal enough for them to turn things around for the race.

“Some of the adversity we fought through,” said race winner Joey Logano. “We were 26th on the board. That was me trying really hard to go as fast as I could go. To see everybody come together, not just the 22 team, but Team Penske in general, to be able to all lean on each other, what we learned in practice, ultimately put together a really good package to where it qualified well, we were able to win our heat race, keep track position, be good on the long run, which was a bit surprising to me. I don’t know about you, Paul. For me I thought it would be better on the short haul. Find our strengths, be able to play to them, win it.”

His crew chief, Paul Wolfe, agreed. He said it was unique with the three eight-minute sessions on Friday and you throw in a new race track of this size as well as a new car, well they had a lot to learn in such a minimal amount of time.

“We were learning pretty quick, and we weren’t exactly where we needed to be yesterday,” said Logano’s crew chief. “A lot of teamwork, talking through things amongst our teammates. We were able to put something together really good today that fortunately we didn’t adjust on it much. I did a small air pressure adjustment at the halfway break, but that was all we did. That was from our heat race and all.

“We were obviously pretty pleased with how the car was in the heat race, to be able to win that. Joey just wanted to leave it alone to start the main event today. Today was pretty uneventful, went fairly smooth for us. That was not the case yesterday.”

He wasn’t the only one out to lunch Saturday to turn it around for Sunday either. Austin Dillon was 19th quick in practice and 22nd in qualifying. Erik Jones was 24th in practice as well as qualifying. They’d finish third and fourth respectively.

“From where we were last night, took a lot of crazy faith, a little prayer last night, talked to myself,” Dillon said. “We got it together today. The Chevy was really fast in practice. I struggled a little bit in qualifying. I knew when we got in the race, I would be fine. The long run speed was fine.

“Disappointed I couldn’t get to the next two cars. Really wanting to get there. All in all a great race from where we were last night. Everybody back home at RCR, a great job, it was a good showing for us.”

That’s win for NASCAR too. With less and less practice time being allotted, it goes to show that even with three eight-minute sessions, it was enough for guys to get their cars dialed in for the race.

Even Steve O’Donnell took notice of that fact.

“We saw a lot of teams who in practice were junk and were able to make some adjustments and compete and almost compete for a win today,” O’Donnell said.

That likely means the abbreviated weekends are here to stay. This is the new norm.


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 06: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Next Gen Cars’ Durability

We knew the Next Gen car was going to have some bugs to get through. Nothing was going to be perfect. Unfortunately, it cost a few drivers a chance of winning this past weekend.

Both Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe broke drivelines in a span of one lap from each other while Denny Hamlin had his powersteering belt break a few laps prior himself. All are part of growing pains that we’ll obviously see but as a result, concerns do mount over these failures too.

“The guys warned me about it,” said Austin Dillon, Reddick’s teammate. “He was pretty aggressive all weekend on getting heat in his tires. He did a good job of that. I just feel like once they told me, I was already aware of it, but I wasn’t spinning my tires with the clutch. I waited till the rpm came up, really hammer it instead of dropping the clutch to make it happen. I kind of got lucky, I guess, but I was never really that aggressive.”

Dillon mentioned that the team and NASCAR would have to look at the parts to see what occurred but he and Reddick both said it was the driver who caused the problem by trying to get heat in the tires.

Should the part have held up from the maneuvers Reddick was doing?

“Might have to look at the parts, too,” Dillon said.

The most concerning is that drivers drop the clutch on pit stops. We didn’t have any stops this past weekend. Will the potential of more failures occur in a race with live stops?

Steve O’Donnell did say that they certainly would look at them though but was overall pleased with how the car held up in its first true test.

“The Next Gen car really wasn’t a story, and I’m happy for that,” said O’Donnell. “This is probably the toughest test we could have on the track that we set up in terms of durability, beating and banging, driveline, different things. We’ll learn from that.

“I think still a lot of debrief that needs to go on. If you listen to the 8, he said he caused that. I’m not trying to deflect, but that’s something that’s going to happen.

“We’re still looking into the 14. We’ll kind of look through each and every car, not only those but the incidents we had, impacts on the wall, what broke. You saw a lot of cars that historically, if we ran this race last year with the old car, would have been out with tire rub, tire damage. That’s a positive. Any part or piece we see an issue, we’ll have a big debrief, get on it, fix it. Still a little bit early on that one.

“All in all really successful debut for the car, as well. Really proud of how we performed. Up until the feature wasn’t even a storyline, my wife actually, think we don’t talk, But is this the new car race?

“Really, are we having this conversation (laughter)?

“Then I stopped myself, this is good. If this is not in the broadcast as the lead storyline, that’s the way it should be. All in all, really pleased with the results.”

The drivers were pleased too. In fact, they said that it was because of this new car that this race even played out for a success like it did.

The old car they say wouldn’t have been as friendly trying to get through the tight turns. This car, well it has a better turn radius and this weekend shows just how valuable this car is.

It can take them to much bigger heights in being able to race in places like the Coliseum that the old car couldn’t.

“For my standpoint, I thought the car turned the corner just better than I thought,” said Hamlin. “I mean, I think there was no way our old car was gonna make it around these corners. But this one, we talked about how it’s better for road course racing. These corners are very, very tight – tighter than anything that we have. It cornered quite a bit better than what I was anticipating.”

His new driver for this 23XI Racing team, Kurt Busch, agreed.

“The Next Gen car fits in an arena like this,” said the 2004 series champion. “I don’t know if the old car would have done this and been able to put on as good a show. It’s just working on the car.”

Ryan Blaney says that he feels like this new car has more grip than the old car.

“The tires are wider and it just has more grip on the track and it feels like you are going faster than you would have with the old car here,” said the Team Penske driver. “There are things that are similar and other things that are different. The steering is so quick here, when you get loose with the power steering system we have in these cars is not as smooth. It can kind of catch and be harder to correct and turn but I feel like these cars have more grip so you can really lay on the wheel and the tires will take it and not just chatter. The old car you had a lot of chatter with tires but these ones feel like they will take it a little bit more.

“There are certain things about it that are like more grip in the corner, you feel like you can drive it harder. I feel like it is a double-edged sword. You can drive it harder but the price you pay for driving it too hard and slipping is worse than what the old car was. So that is going to make it tough. It is easier to mess up in this new car I feel like. You will pay a bigger penalty when you do mess up. that part is really neat for me as a driver and makes it more challenging and will put more of an emphasis on being perfect throughout the race. That part is something really big that I have learned just running them at the tests right now. They handle different. It is hard to tell you what your butt feels when you are in the car, just the way it moves around and slides around. It is a different feel from that old car. We will get a better idea when we get in races and traffic and stuff and get 40 cars out there but there are a lot of things different and it will challenge drivers and teams to really be on top of their game at the start of the year. You will see who is on top of their game right away and you just hope to be one of those teams.”

On several instances we saw drivers bang wheels side-by-side. The old car may have sparked a tire rub or even worse, a cut tire in general. We even saw drivers use their bumpers to move other drivers out of the way and at times, scrape the wall.

All instances left drivers and their cars unscathed due to the new body panels.

The biggest issues moving forward are the pieces regarding the drivelines as well as some of the damage that occurred with Aric Almirola’s and Justin Haley’s crashes.


Rivalries?

We saw two separate instances where drivers got into one another in the main event. That also didn’t count Ty Dillon making plenty of drivers mad during the second LCQ prior. Does any of this spill over into the start of the season?

That was a topic brought up prior to the race where some wondered if there’d be any hurt feelings leaving LA.

Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones had a run in late. Blaney, was pissed at Jones for turning him and ending his race before the checkered flag while Jones admitted that he did punt Blaney on purpose but did so as a payback for how Blaney was brake checking him on track prior.

“I was racing with him there,” said Jones of Blaney. “He brake checked me off of four. Okay, no real reason. I didn’t appreciate that. Felt like I showed it on the track.

“We have a conversation, we have a conversation. It’s an exhibition race. We’re out here doing what we can. I was frustrated with the move that he made. That’s what happened.”

That came before Kyle Larson got into Justin Haley exiting Turn 4 and forcing him into making hard contact into the inside wall. Haley, wasn’t too pleased with Larson for making that move.

Does any of this carry over into the start of 2022?


Parity Was High

We wondered just how much parity would the Next Gen car bring this year. Some said the gap to the top would still be there due to the bigger teams have the most resources to figure this car out the fastest. Other said that it wouldn’t necessarily matter as the gap from the big teams to the small would now be negated.

A year after seeing 17 different winners, how many would 2022 produce?

Well, 13 different teams were represented in the Busch Light Clash including a different team in the entire top seven of the starting lineup. In the end, five different teams were represented in the top five including six in the top seven.

We saw Cody Ware show a lot more pace and come one spot shy of advancing to the big show. Ryan Preece was stout all weekend and was awarded the win in the second LCQ. It clearly shows Rick Ware Racing is benefitting from the Next Gen as well as an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing.

RCR was very much improved too. Austin Dillon finished third in his heat as well as third in the race too. He passed several cars in going from sixth to third in Heat Race 3 and 10th to third in the feature. His teammate Tyler Reddick was sixth in practice, second in qualifying, led all 25 laps in his heat and led 51 laps including was holding onto the lead before a parts failure.

What about Kaulig Racing too. They were P4 and P8 in practice only to see Justin Haley back his fourth place practice run up with being third in qualifying. He dominated his heat and had a top four car all race before the incident with Larson.

Even Petty GMS Racing had a strong showing too. Erik Jones raced his way in and also netted a top five. His teammate Ty Dillon hit almost everything in his heat but still crossed the finish line first. If not for a penalty, he too was going to the big show.

On the flipside, it was a surprisingly off weekend from Brad Keselowski. He was only 34th in practice, 30th in qualifying, last in his Heat Race (9th) and 5th in the LCQ.

Same for Corey LaJoie. He expected to be strong this weekend but was anything but. LaJoie, was 14th in practice, 31st in qualifying, last in his heat race (9th) and 7th in the LCQ.

2 past champions (Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski) as well as a playoff driver last year in Alex Bowman lead a grouping of 13 drivers that failed to advance to the A-Main.


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Hype/Metrics Show This Race Was a Huge Success

Some wondered where everyone was. Yes, the crowd for the heat races was a little bit less than desired, but see this is a new crowd for NASCAR. For us diehards, we’re aware of how heat races and last chance shootouts work. Maybe they weren’t.

70% of the attendance on Sunday were first time ticket buyers to a NASCAR race. They maybe just expected things to start at 3 p.m. locally.

See, once the time for the 150 Lap main event to start came, the stands were starting to fill. Those fans were treated to a pre race Pitbull concert and dazzled by a halftime show featuring California’s own Ice Cube.

In the racing aspect in the middle of the two concerts and post the halftime show, they were shown what NASCAR is all about.

The estimated attendance was north of 50k and some reports of 60k+. That’s huge for this race. See, the Clash had become to dull and stagnant that they struggled to get 10k to walk through the Daytona gates to witness it. Last year’s on the road course struggled to get to 7k.

So, to get what we saw today, pales in comparison to the last several years. It’s not even in the conversation since Sunday’s attendance blew Daytona’s out of the water.

Fox Sports 1 saw 1.577 million viewers for the 2021 race. That’s down almost 1 million people as 2.455 million tuned into the 2020 Busch Clash. Granted, the 2020 race was on a Sunday afternoon on the oval compared to 2021 on a weeknight on the road course.

This year’s number should far outweigh both years.

“I don’t think you can screw it up at this point,” Harvick said on Saturday after practice. “The event is here. The race track didn’t fly up. Practice went good. The cars all made the corners. People were passing each other and as our good friend Jim Hunter would say, ‘You have to have cars that pass, Kevin’ to make a good race. When you look at everything that has happened, the amount of tickets and media passes and all the things — you can’t screw it up at this point. That is my opinion.

“The race doesn’t even matter.”

The Busch “Crash” has found its rightful identity again.

The guts that it took for NASCAR to take the leap and try an event like this and then seeing how practice went and how smooth everything has gone. The doors that are open have been blown wide open now.”

The original concept for the Busch Clash was for a Sunday afternoon show a week before the Daytona 500 and to fit it all in during a half an hour TV window on CBS. Well, the race had become 55 laps longer than the inaugural event in 1979, in recent year, was as boring as ever until a crap show at the end.

It became as what Denny Hamlin called, “diluted.”

“Back then you had to, I think, you had to get a pole,” Hamlin said of the initial Clash. “I mean, that was the only way you get in and over time, if enough teams complain that they’re not a part of it, the rules get changed to make it to where more people can be included. 

“Well, anytime you do that you dilute it. It’s not as special.”

He’s not wrong. He’s not wrong at all in fact. The Clash was diluted and was a tough sell to fans, team, drivers and most importantly, sponsors.

“I think we all were probably kind of getting to the point with the Clash in Daytona like we need to do something,” said Larson. “That race was kind of just going on, I feel like, to go on. It added a week of being in Daytona and I feel like it was kind of becoming all for what.”

The first segments were full of cars running in tow with one another. The second segment was run with cars trying to save fuel until the end, then having manufacturers pit together.

From there, it was the usual crash fest in the end.

With a race that was becoming a hard sell and lacking luster, spicing it up to unprecedented proportions was needed.

You can’t go back to the original Clash format because sponsors didn’t want to put millions in for a 20 lap shootout. The teams struggled to field throw away cars for a boring 75 lap race where 95% of it was a high speed parade.

So, what do you do?

NASCAR decided to spend the money instead. They put in over $1-million to move this race to a makeshift track in a football stadium. They changed the entire complexity of this event making it just that – an event.

“Well, typically the Clash in general is a hard race to sell sponsorship for just in general it’s a very short race,” Hamlin continued. “But certainly, this one, as much build up as it has enables you to put it on the schedule as a legit race that you know, you can, you could sell for what you would sell for a normal event.

“This format is certainly where you have to get in on your own merit. There’s only one provisional there’s no inclusion for someone that’s got high in this for that. It’s back to being, in my opinion, it’s gonna be the best 23 cars on the racetrack or the best 20 cars this weekend anyway, so certainly in my mind, it makes it more prestigious than just getting in on one of the 10 things that you can get in on.”

It gives the spark to the event back again and this weekend absolutely showed it.

“This is probably going to be the most highly rated Clash of all-time I bet,” Logano continued. There’s more people talking about the Clash this year than ever. Probably because we’re doing something different.”

Harvick said that this is the type of event that you need to blow it out of the water at the start of the season to get the eyeballs and the people and you guys to all show up because it is different.

“That is the world that we live in,” he continued. “We live in different and trying new things and having the guts to do it is sometimes hard to do but the rewards are pretty big on the other side when it works.”

That’s how we feel. But how does NASCAR?

“I think an incredible day for the sport,” said NASCAR senior vice president of strategic innovation, Ben Kennedy. “Really proud of NASCAR, the industry, everyone coming together. Patrick Rogers, the entire team did an incredible job, Derek Muldowney and the rest of the folks, building a track. Really proud of the group.

“Teams and drivers coming together, rallying around this. FOX has just been tremendous with us, six hours on FOX today. I think this will be great as we look to kick off our season in two weeks for the Daytona 500.

“Really good day, proud of the sport today.”

Huge bump in attendance, huge bump in ratings and a race no one can stop talking about. I’d say that’s a big win in my book.


Is This A Glimpse Into NASCAR’s Future?

It seemed absurd when not just the Clash being moved to LA was announced, but it sounded gimmicky when the format was unveiled too. Heat races? Last Chance Qualifiers? A DJ spinning songs during cautions? A halftime break with a concert?

Well, all were big hits and makes me wonder, if this a look into NASCAR’s future?

“I think we’ll go back to that, then really think about what the future might look like both for being here at the L.A. Coliseum and the type of venue in general, too,” Ben Kennedy said. “I think there were a lot of questions coming in as to what the racing product might look like on track. I think between the format that we had with the heat races, last chance race, all the way through the main, at least from a fan perspective, a lot of energy in the bowl, hopefully those tuning in on TV enjoyed it as well.”

See, we’d see things like this tried out in the All-Star race that ended up being placed in points paying races. From things like stages, to choose cone rules, to number placements, etc. You try it out there first and if it works, revisit it later and if it doesn’t (underbody glow), you scrap and never speak of again.

Well, how much of Sunday’s Clash give us a glimpse of future races?

Halftime shows could work. Maybe not every race and maybe not overboard with concerts, but surely for big events you could do so. I mean we already slow for stages, maybe figure out a way to incorporate a halftime break with a concert.

I liked the way to set the field like they did too. It was reminiscent of your local Saturday night shows with heat races all the way up to the main event. Surely you can find a way to do this some during the season too.

70% of the fans in attendance on Sunday had never been to a NASCAR race before. They seemed to like what they saw. The thing is, what’s the perception of NASCAR moving forward? Will they trek to Fontana later this month but be confused to see a different format?

That’s a big key now. How do you get these fans to come back to a NASCAR race and like what they see moving forward?

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 15: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, leads a pack of cars during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 15, 2019 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Short Tracks Making A Comeback, Does This Affect Fontana’s Plans Now?

Prior to COVID, the plan for the future of the Auto Club Speedway, the track 51 miles to the west of the Coliseum, was supposed to be that the 2-mile track would demolished following the 2021 race and for 2022, the track become a half-mile short track.

Unfortunately, the pandemic halted those plans. They were put on the backburner. Due to the rules put in place last year for the Golden State, NASCAR couldn’t visit Fontana. By virtue of that, it also made it difficult to start demolition.

So, the focus then began to shift to 2022 and to leave things alone for now. Why start something you may not be able to finish and risk not only not having a date in 2021, but for 2022 too. With what’s needed to do, it costs a lot of money and without having a race weekend for two years in-a-row, it could have been the death blow to the track.

So, later this month will be what many thought was going to be the final race on this 2-mile layout. Then, track and NASCAR officials said on Saturday that maybe those plans were on the backburner for now. It didn’t sound as if they were going to push forward with redeveloping the track anymore.

But, after what we witnessed this past weekend in the Coliseum, maybe they’ll start discussions again for a redevelopment process.

“I think after what we saw today, the answer is probably yes,” Kyle Busch said of Fontana being moved to a half-mile again. “I would prefer the two mile, but I guarantee you it’s getting cut up, no question, after what we saw today.”

Austin Dillon agreed.

“Kyle and I both know that Fontana is an awesome track,” he said. “It’s a driver’s track. I mean, I think they’d have to go through a repave to keep it that way for these cars. They’ve already grinded it to nothing pretty much down the backstretch. Obviously this car puts on a good show at short tracks, so that’s good.”

He’s right. Something eventually needs done anyways. Fontana is one of the oldest racing surfaces in the sport now as they’ve not touched it since 1997. It’s going to need a repave soon.

Atlanta, went through one and they completely altered that track in the sense that it went from a worn out aged surface to a superspeedway. If you put the money into repaving Fontana, why not go all out?

“I think that’s fair,” Steve O’Donnell said when asked about Kyle Busch’s comments on with how well the Coliseum went that there’s no way Fontana doesn’t go back to the half-mile plan. “I think that’s one of the things we’re looking at you look at the long-term schedule.

“California as a racetrack, we’re looking forward to getting back there. I guess, pretty quick. Looking forward to the racetrack they have now. We’ve historically put on some pretty good races there. First time for Next Gen, so we’ll see how that plays out.”

This is a fundamental shift back to NASCAR’s roots. Fans were screaming on top of their soap boxes a few years ago for more road courses and short tracks.

NASCAR listened.

1.5-mile tracks and their dates have gone by the wayside in favor for these. Chicagoland and Kentucky are gone. Texas is down to one points paying weekend. More and more dates are going towards short tracks/road courses.

We have 16 of the 36 points paying races now on these types of tracks.

Short ovals: Phoenix (1-mile), Dover (1-mile), New Hampshire (1-mile), Richmond (.75-mile), Martinsville (.526-mile), Bristol (.586-mile)

Road Courses: COTA, Sonoma, Road America, Indy Road Course, Watkins Glen, Charlotte ROVAL

Even the World Wide Technology Raceway is 1.25-miles. Throw in the expected move to add the Nashville Fairgrounds and there’s reason to believe that half the future schedule could be on these tracks.

This is the likely path to NASCAR’s future.


What’s The Next Big Move?

From the Charlotte ROVAL, to moving the Brickyard to the road course, to adding dirt to Bristol to now racing in a football stadium, what’s NASCAR’s next major move? Is it a street course race? I mean, we didn’t really see other than Indy, any of those moves being made so maybe the next move isn’t on our minds yet.

Still, NASCAR has proven under this regime that they’re not afraid to take the necessarily risks to propel this sport to higher and higher depths. They’ll have another move. The question is, what is the next surprise hit?

Future Of The Clash Moving Forward?

So what would the future of the Clash now look like? NBC Sports is reporting that NASCAR agreed to a 3-year deal with the Coliseum and USC. The final 2 years (2023, 2024) are option years that NASCAR has until early May to make the decision on coming back the following year or not.

The thing is, do you come back to LA again next year or make this an event that roams not only the country, but dare I say internationally too?

“It’s something that I think we’ll certainly look at,” Kennedy said. “Los Angeles, as we’ve mentioned from the start, is really an important market for us. It’s important for us to get here in a big way, too. It’s been two years since we’ve competed in Southern California. To be able to get back here to downtown Los Angeles at the L.A. Coliseum, come back a few weeks later at Fontana, I think it was really important to us.

“The Coliseum, USC, have been tremendous partners. That will be certainly an important part as we think about this. But to your point, too, if we can prove this out, a proof of concept, it does open the door to other locations in the future.”

Corey LaJoie says that if this truly is a success and they can do this anywhere, his vote is to go to the AT&T Stadium (the home of the Cowboys).

“It all depends on the footprint,” he notes. “If this model works then it can open a lot of doors for the future.”

Harvick agreed. He says that you can even do this in the middle of the year for an All-Star race too and rotate it around.

“For me, I look at the NFL and what they do in London and I look at the things that they do,” he said. “I think in order to really open doors, I think Wembley Stadium would be fun. I think everyone wants to do something but the weather has to be different. But this is something that you could put in the middle of the year and I think the All-Star race is definitely something that could learn something from this just because of the fact that it needs to be more like this instead of just at a 1.5-mile track that we go to all the time.

“It needs to have that intrigue and fun and atmosphere that goes along with an event that is different. I am of the opinion that I would never do this twice, but I know that I will probably get overruled after this happens. It is kind of like the Roval, the intrigue isn’t as much the second year. I would move it all over the place. If this goes like everyone thinks it will, it will just blow the doors open to opportunities and I would take them.”

Kennedy, agreed with that.

“I think as far as venues go, I talked to Kevin in the elevator yesterday, he was talking about that,” he said. “I think it does open the opportunity and door to do that. I think it’s going to be really important as we think about those venues, the size of it. I think the Coliseum was a perfect footprint as you think about the size of the field itself.

“I don’t know that we’d want to make the radiuses of the corners that much tighter. I think you probably play with the straightaway length a little bit. I think it will be an important factor. If we are going to take this to other locations, I want to make sure that the racing product is good for our fans.”

O’Donnell, didn’t put those rumors to bed. In fact, he heightened them.

“I think everything is open. To Ben’s point, you look at the footprint, one of the unique things about this stadium is the Olympics and the track that they had around a football field doesn’t really exist anymore in the purpose-built football stadiums. It’s a lot tougher to look at that footprint of what might have the room for us.

“Certainly if you looked, and I’m not advocating that we’re taking the Clash overseas, I don’t want anyone to take that away, but it does open up the opportunity for us if we wanted to showcase NASCAR, we’ve always talked about, Ben and I, you have to go to a road course, they have to build a track somewhere if you’re in Europe. Not anymore. We’ve proven out you can go to a cool stadium with a track around it, we know what to do, we can go in and out, some opportunities there.

“Ben, if he hasn’t already, is already studying the footprints of a lot of different stadiums in the U.S., what works, what may not work, but also pretty happy here.”

The thing is, I do think you give the Coliseum another shot next year again. The racing can be even better now that the teams have a full race on this type of track under their belts. Plus, NASCAR can evaluate things and make some tweaks to make it are I say, even better?

Plus, there were a lot of new fans that you’d want to come back. If you go somewhere new, does this just become a one-year fad for them? I mean you have to realize that with the uniqueness of this race, everything visually from this track is going to now be from videos or photos.

Race tracks you can always go visit and see whether the venue is open or not. These massive structures are always around to see with your own eyes. The Coliseum though is converting back to a football stadium. The track in the next month will be gone. No asphalt. No walls. No fences. Nothing.

You almost have to come back to give fans another taste. I’d almost ride this contract out before making this a revolving event that travels the country.


Logano Winning The Big Events

Joey Logano hasn’t won a race in almost a year. The last trip to victory lane though? Bristol Motor Speedway last March. The highly anticipated dirt race.

He’d not win again until the very similar highly anticipated Clash.

“Really cool. Last couple wins have been on some weird racetracks, so I don’t know. Bring ’em on. Bring on the more weird stuff,” he says.

You now have to wonder if Logano is a lock for the Hall of Fame with these building credentials.

He’s a series champion (2018). He’s made four Championship Four’s. He’s a Daytona 500 champion (2015). He’s a two-time Bristol Night Race Winner (2014, 2015). He’s earned Rookie of the Year Honors (2009). He’s also won the All-Star race in 2016 too.

To go along with that, Logano is the youngest ever winner in the Xfinity Series (18 years, 21 days) and the Cup Series (19 years, 35 days). He’s already won 27 times in his 14 year career and keeps racking up big race trophies.

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