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NASCAR will race on Sunday – inside the Colosseum

LOS ANGELES – NASCAR will hit Los Angeles a week ago Super Bowlcapture attention with its wildest idea: The Clash, the unofficial opening car version of the Pro Bowl, will run at the iconic Colosseum in a spectacular competition dedicated to Fox.

Yes it is. A makeshift track has been built inside the Colosseum, where race cars will race around a quarter mile of carefully paved asphalt on the turf that has hosted the two Summer Olympics, USC The Trojans and the Rams home for three seasons until their new stadium opens in 2020.

The first Super Bowl in 1967 was played at the Coliseum, but the Rams will play for the NFL championship 10 miles away at Sofi Stadium a week from Sunday. NASCAR is offering an appetizer with the season’s opening event, which has so far been held every year since its founding in 1979 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Performed in different formats with different presenting sponsors over the years, The Clash is the opening event of Speed ​​Week and the warm-up for the Daytona 500 – NASCAR’s own version of the Super Bowl. But NASCAR is poised to look beyond the cookie-cutter trails in traditional markets.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, brainstormed to move The Clash exhibition out of Daytona for the first time and instead to a Hollywood event not far from Hollywood. Busch Light Clash will be on Sunday night, heat races will be on the scene, DJ Skee will play while warning and Ice Cube will make headlines after the break recital.

The Colosseum has a capacity of about 78,000 people, but modifications to the construction of the track have cut capacity for Sunday night to about 60,000 seats. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s Director of Track Development, said the poll found that 70% of ticket buyers had never purchased a ticket to a NASCAR race before.

Add in more than six hours of coverage on Fox Sports and NASCAR deemed the event a success.

“You want to make a good race,” O’Donnell said. “But I have to say, it was a success. The amount of celebrities we’ve appeared, the enthusiasm and the hype we’ve seen from Fox just for this race, even in NFL broadcasts, is unprecedented. Yes “.

Clash will finally mark the debut of NASCAR’s new car, a multi-year project to design a cost-effective yet competitive vehicle that is capable of bridging the gap between major powerhouses. NASCAR nations and small teams are looking for a place in the series. The pandemic has delayed the launch of the Next Generation by a year, and no matter how many tests have been conducted, there is no clear idea of ​​how the car will race until a trophy. actually appear.

William Byron tested the Next Generation last week in Phoenix and wasn’t worried about Chevrolet.

“Honestly, the car from Phoenix isn’t very different, in feel, to drive, compared to the old car,” Byron said. “I’m pretty optimistic about how it works.”

What Sunday night’s online show looks like will be crucial to NASCAR’s gambling grading at the Colosseum. The 1/4-mile surface will be the shortest surface in history for a Cup Series race, and NASCAR has struggled at the new locations. Its debut last year on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a bit of a letdown and turned the Bristol Highway into a trailblazer last spring is a messy challenge for the driver who have driven on the sidewalk their entire career.

Many say the Coliseum shares the characteristics of the Martinsville Freeway, a short 0.526-mile track in Virginia that has won three of Martin Truex Jr’s last five races. He believes it won’t matter if the race ends as a joke.

Truex said: “At the end of the day, we wanted to put on a good show. “We don’t want a lot of warnings and crashes, not a lot of chaos, just a good race to deliver a good show with all the attention it is getting and make it a success. successful event. I think a lot about the new fans that will be watching and I think we need to perform well.”

Kyle Larson, the defending NASCAR champion, also believes the race needs to be drama-free. Of all the racers in the field, none race in as many different locations around the country as Larson but the Colosseum will be unique to him. His last visit was a 2015 dirt race on the Fieldhouse arena floor in Indianapolis, where the NBA Pacers played the night before his event.

Some fans may want to see the winner cross the finish line in a rhythmic race car, with the hood raised and the smoke emitting from the engine – the end result of a close race on the track. The shortest racers have ever raced. But Larson hopes the show “won’t be as bad.”

He predicts The Clash could be like a typical Martinsville race – some bumps and bumps, but not a destructive derby.

“I think there will be points of the race where you get cautious after cautious and you just can’t get the beat, but there could also be parts there, who knows? You can run the first 75 laps under the green,” says Larson. “It will be hard to pass, it will be a single record, and people will move each other out of the way.

“But as long as nothing appears to delay the show, someone will get inside an interior wall and now it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get a forklift out and fix the wall,” he said. more. “The things that put the show on hold, I think that’s going to keep new race fans curious about the event and we need to make sure they’re enjoying what they’ve seen.”


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