LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The sound of roaring engines and the smell of burning rubber will fill Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this weekend, but it won’t have anything to do with the nearby 110 Freeway.
NASCAR — which built a temporary quarter-mile auto-racing track atop the turf where Trojans usually trod — will kick off its 2022 schedule with the Busch Light Clash, a preseason, non-points exhibition featuring qualifying heats Saturday and the 150-lap main event Sunday.
The two-day speed show will also feature a performance by Pitbull around 2 p.m. Sunday, about an hour before the big race gets underway.
It will mark the first time NASCAR has opened its schedule outside of Daytona Beach, Florida. Sunday’s race will be televised live on Fox.
On Saturday, gates open at 1 p.m., and qualifying begins at 5:30 p.m.
On Sunday, starting at noon, there will be four heat races and two last-chance qualifying races that will determine the field of 23 cars for the big 3 p.m. race.
Former L.A. Galaxy and U.S. men’s national soccer team star Cobi Jones will join Monica Palumbo as the in-stadium announcers, and former MTV host Riki Rachtman will serve as the host of NASCAR’s Fan Fest.
Meanwhile, the racing is just one of the events that figures to clog the streets and roads around Exhibition Park with tens of thousands of people over the weekend.
Nearby Banc of California Stadium will host two nights of sold-out performances by L.A.’s System of a Down on Friday and Saturday — and concert organizers recommended fans arrive early or consider public transit, with parking at Exposition Park very limited.
Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of strategy and innovation, said the switch from Daytona Beach to L.A. was two years in the making.
“We’ve been discussing the Clash for a while, and we’ve had it at the (Daytona) oval for a number of years,” he said. “Seeing that it’s an exhibition event, we looked at a number of different places and locations that we could host it at, and ultimately narrowed it down to the L.A. Coliseum.”
Kennedy said the relatively small quarter-mile track will have unusual and challenging dimensions and banking angles for drivers.
“You can only go so high, just because of the sight lines and the temporary construction, but we’ve played with a few different ones,” he said.
Tickets for both days of racing are on sale at www.nascar.com/lacoliseum. Access to the NASCAR Fan Fest, which offers interactive opportunities for fans, is included with all tickets.