NASCAR to return to LA Coliseum for season opener

US motor-racing series NASCAR will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next year for another exhibition race, following the success of the inaugural event in February.

The event, officially titled the Busch Light Clash, will return to the quarter-mile race track on February 5 and will mark the start of the 2023 NASCAR season.

This year’s race represented the first time the iconic Coliseum had staged a NASCAR race since it opened in 1923. The event formed part of the venue’s centennial celebrations and attracted a crowd of around 50,000.

The traditional playing surface at the Coliseum was converted into an asphalt short track, with drivers competing in new next-gen cars. February’s event marked the first time NASCAR’s prelude to the showpiece Daytona 500 took place somewhere other than Daytona International Speedway.

The race was the highest viewed Busch Light Clash since 2016 and approximately 70% of ticket buyers were attending their first NASCAR event. Tickets for next year’s event will go on sale in early August.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice-president of racing development and strategy, said: “Our entire industry made a bold move by bringing the Busch Light Clash to the LA Coliseum this past February and it paid off by becoming an instant classic with both new and existing fans.

“We are intent on showcasing our sport and drivers on the biggest stage and there is none bigger than the LA Coliseum. We’re thrilled to return to the heart of Los Angeles to officially start the season and set the stage for the Daytona 500.”

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.

Image: Alejandro Alvarez/NASCAR Digital Media