Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Why Would NASCAR Limit Fan Access at the Clash?

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

What’s Happening?

NASCAR fans were incensed on Tuesday when it was reported that the Clash at the Coliseum will not allow fans to attend on-track activity on Saturday, which means no fans will be in the stands for the qualifying heat races. Rarely, if ever, has NASCAR not allowed fans to attend on-track activity like this in a non-pandemic scenario, so, it’s understandable why fans are fuming. We try to answer the question, why would NASCAR do this?

  • The new Clash format has four 25-lap heat races on Saturday with one 75-lap Last Chance Qualifier and the 150-lap feature on Sunday. This is a change from 2022 and 2023 where all of these were on Sunday, and the LCQ was two 50-lap competitions instead of one 75-lap race. As a result, fans go from 350 laps of Cup Series competition with a Saturday ticket, to 225 laps of Cup Series competition.
  • NASCAR is adding the NASCAR Mexico Series to the Sunday docket at 5 p.m. ET, with Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez racing. Fans will still get racing on Sunday, albeit not the series fans were likely buying tickets for.
  • Fans were very angry at this when it was announced, and they are still very angry about it. We are here to try to figure out why NASCAR did what they did.

Was this a NASCAR Decision, or an LA Coliseum Decision?

It’s extremely out of character for NASCAR to close off any sort of on-track activity for fans. During any NASCAR race weekend, with the pandemic being the exception, if cars are on the track, ticketholders for that day are welcome to sit and watch whatever is going on. Whether it’s practice, qualifying, engine revving, or a guy doing a cartwheel on pit road, fans can watch it in the grandstands.

It leads us to ask, did NASCAR make this decision, or did the LA Coliseum make this decision? Typically, when the Coliseum hosts sporting events, fans are allowed in a couple of hours before the event, and they leave immediately when the event is over. The LA Coliseum rarely hosts events that last an entire weekend, so, these reasons may be more about the Coliseum than NASCAR.

Costs of Running the Event

If the Coliseum were to open the gates on Saturday, that means they need to pay for workers, concessions, and all of the fan amenities at a stadium. Not opening the gates eliminates that cost. If they were to open the gates, what is the return on investment they get?

The crowd at the 2023 Clash Qualifying was very small. While the heat races may bring in more people, they are still not the main event, and, when the heat races were on Sunday, the larger crowd did not arrive during the main event. From the Coliseum’s perspective, why spend more money to open the gates for activities that fans may not attend?

The NASCAR Mexico Series

The NASCAR Mexico Series is clogging up the schedule on Sunday. In the past, the NASCAR Cup Series was the only series on track that weekend, but that changed. This is likely why the heat races were moved from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night.

Even if the Mexico Series took over for the heat races on Sunday, that doesn’t excuse not opening the gates on Saturday. Adding the Mexico Series should mean more on-track activity for paying customers, not less. When NASCAR adds an extra series to a race weekend, fans are always allowed in.

This is such an odd move for NASCAR to make, and it is very out of character. Still, that doesn’t mean there are no reasons for it, whether fans like it or not.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts