The Grand Old Lady has hosted Trojans, Olympians, Presidents, a Pope and the Rolling Stones.
Now, add NASCAR to the list.
For the first time in the 98-year history of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum--and in the history of NASCAR racing--the season-opening Clash, an exhibition race for eligible Cup Series cars--will debut around a quarter-mile paved track, the sanctioning announced on Tuesday.
The Feb. 6, 2022, Clash at the Coliseum marks the first time the event, which debuted in 1979, has been staged outside of Daytona International Speedway, and it marks the Cup Series' return to Southern California for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic halted racing action in the spring of 2020. The exhibition race will also feature the debut of the Next Gen cars.
“Los Angeles is synonymous with major sports and entertainment events, so we seized an innovative opportunity to showcase NASCAR at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take center stage in this market as we get our 2022 season underway.”
Tickets for the Clash at the Coliseum will be available on Thursday. The stadium, which once seated well over 100,000, currently holds 78,500 after its latest renovation in 2019.
NASCAR is expected to release the remainder of the 2022 Cup schedule on Wednesday. The 2022 Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 20. One week later, NASCAR returns to Southern California for one final run at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
The only new venue expected other than the L.A. Coliseum is World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on June 5. The 1.250-mile track debuted on the NASCAR Xfinity, ARCA and CART schedules in 1997. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced at Gateway for the first time in 1998.
While the Xfinity Series has not competed at the Madison, Ill., venue since 2010, the track has enjoyed a resurgence under the ownership of Curtis Francois. The Truck Series has enjoyed heated contests over the past eight years. WWTR has also provided a backdrop for scintillating IndyCar action over the last six seasons.