US stock car-racing series NASCAR has announced that its 2022 season will begin with an exhibition race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as part of the venue’s centennial celebration.
The Clash at the Coliseum will mark the first NASCAR race held at the iconic stadium since it opened in 1923. It will also be the first time NASCAR’s prelude to the showpiece Daytona 500 will take place somewhere other than Daytona International Speedway.
The traditional playing surface at the Coliseum will be converted into a quarter-mile, asphalt short track, with drivers to compete for the first time in new next gen cars. Tickets for the event go on sale from tomorrow (Thursday), with prices starting at $65 (£47/€55) for adults and $10 for kids aged 12 and under.
The Coliseum will offer a range of seating options, including lower and upper bowl, midfield start/finish line and premium club seats with access to the exclusive Lou Galen Club Lounge.
The Coliseum, which has a capacity of 77,500, is one of Los Angeles’ most historic stadiums and was used as a host venue during the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. It is now mainly used as a college sports venue but will host events during the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Bob Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice-president of strategy and innovation, said: “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. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take centre stage in this market as we get our 2022 season underway.”
NASCAR vice-president Ben Kennedy told Fox Sports: “We felt like it was important for us to get there and also have a stadium-style event, which we have never done – at least, to this extent – before.
“It gives you the ability and opportunity to also come to downtown Los Angeles, too. We’ll be right in the heart of Los Angeles. I think it’s a very important move for us. I think it will be great to see the energy around that event.”
NASCAR has previously held stadium events at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Soldier Field in Chicago.
Daytona International Speedway will host the regular-season opener two weeks after the Coliseum event. The remainder of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule will be announced at a later date.
Earlier this year, newly-formed Major League Rugby franchise the LA Giltinis agreed a long-term deal to play its home games at the Coliseum. It marked the return of rugby to the stadium following a 65-year absence.
The Clash at the Coliseum will be held a week before the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI, which will take place at SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.