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Viewers Guide: Clash at the LA Coliseum

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

This weekend, NASCAR christens a brand new season with the Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum. While only an exhibition race, it’s a sign that NASCAR season is truly back, and it’s the first time that fans will see the new paint schemes and drivers on track. Here is a breakdown of the event this weekend.

  • This is year 3 of the Clash at the LA Coliseum. Originally, the event was held at Daytona International Speedway as a part of Speedweeks. That lasted from 1979 until 2021.
  • This year, there are some extra elements to spice up the event. This includes a new race format, musical acts, and the introduction of the NASCAR Mexico Series.
  • Fans are excited about this event because it’s the first race of the season. Finally, NASCAR is back.

Weekend TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Saturday, February 3rd (Cup Series Heat Races)

  • 6:00-8:00 PM – Cup Series Practice (FS1)
  • 8:30 PM – Cup Series Heat Races (FS1)

Sunday, February 4th (Cup Series LCQ AND Main Feature)

  • 4:30 PM – Mexico Series Feature Race (FS1)
  • 6:30 PM – Cup Series Last Chance Qualifier (FOX)
  • 8:00 PM – Cup Series Feature Race (FOX)

The Race Format

This year, the Clash has a slightly different format than in years past. The addition of the NASCAR Mexico Series has pushed the Heat Races to Saturday instead of Sunday, and the Cup Series has only one Last Chance Qualifier instead of two. However, it is still a similar format to the first two years.

Practice/Qualifying (Saturday): 3 Groups, 3 Sessions Each

There will be no single-car qualifying this year at the Clash. Instead, the starting lineup will be based on practice speeds. The 36-car field will be split up into 3 groups, and each group will participate in 3 practice sessions for 9 total sessions. Each driver’s fastest speed in their 3rd practice session determines the starting lineup for the Heat Races.

Heat Races (Saturday): 4 Races, 25 Laps Each

The heat races work exactly the same as in 2023. There will be 4, 25 lap heat races with the starting lineup determined by practice speeds. The top-5 in each heat race automatically advance to the 150-lap feature on Sunday. Heat 1 determines spots 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17 for the feature, heat 2 determines 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18, heat 3 determines 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19, and heat 4 determines 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20.

Last Chance Qualifier (Sunday): 75 Laps

In years past, the Clash had two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifiers, but, in 2024, the LCQ will be only one 75-lap race. The top 2 finishers will transfer into the main event, and they will start 21st and 22nd. The 23rd and final spot in the field will be for the highest finisher in the 2023 points standings. The 23-car field is down from 27 in 2023.

Feature (Sunday): 150 Laps, Two 75 Lap Segments

The main feature will be on Sunday evening, and it is the exact same format as the past two years. The race will be 150 laps, and only green flag laps count. There will also be a halftime break after 75 laps, and the race must end under green. The driver who leads at the end of 150 laps is the winner.

The NASCAR Mexico Series

The NASCAR Mexico Series will act as the support series for the weekend. The 150-lap race will be broadcast on FS1 on Sunday at 4:30 PM ET.

It’s the first time the Mexico Series has raced the same weekend as the Cup Series, and it’s the first time that the Clash has a support race. Daniel Suarez will pull double duty this weekend, running in the Mexico Series Race and attempting to qualify for the Cup Series race.

The Musical Guests

One of the defining features of the Clash is the musical guests, and the musical guests return this year. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly is the headliner, and he will perform during the Cup Series halftime break. DJ Dillon Francis will also DJ during the pre-race of the Cup Series Clash on Sunday.

The Mexico Series Race will also have some star power. Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias will serve as the grand marshal for the Mexico Series race on Sunday afternoon.

It’s finally “Race Week” for the first time in 2024. Be sure to follow the Daily Downforce for all of the latest news as the Clash approaches.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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