THE LEFT TURN
NASCAR: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum preview, picks
The NASCAR Cup Series makes history this weekend, for the first time since 1971 the NASCAR Cup Series will race in a stadium. The race will take place in Los Angeles, California at the historic LA Coliseum. This track is a makeshift 0.25-mile oval that has similar characteristics to all the fairground tracks we see in the southeast part of the country. This will truly be a sight to be seen, and I am looking forward to seeing how this works out.
The format of this race will be much different from what we are accustomed to seeing, as there will be four 25 lap heat races that will decide who advances to the main event. The top four cars in each heat will automatically clinch a spot in the main event. For the cars that don't advance, they will be relegated to one of the last chance qualifying races, where the top three will advance and there will be no live pit stops. With the track being as narrow as it is, there will be a lot of close-quarters action. There isn’t a lot to go off of when it comes to data, except for a tire test that featured Dale Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart at the similar Bowman Gray Stadium. This will truly be a landmark race in NASCAR’s history
Another major storyline of this race is the emergence of the new NextGen car and its first race. A lot has gone into developing this car and while an exhibition sprint race might not be the best barometer on how the car will run everywhere else, we are sure to see some torn up equipment. It will be imperative for these drivers to keep the car in one piece, as they are now limited to seven cars for the season.
With the hype centered around this race, stadium races may become a mainstay on the schedule. NASCAR reporter Adam Stern tweeted that “If all goes well, a race could very well be coming to places like New York City, Denver, Seattle. Even international markets like Tokyo or London are on the table.” This would be a huge deal considering NASCAR has not held a race outside of Mexico or Canada since 1998 when they ran in Japan. Many have speculated on Twitter that a race in Wembley Stadium would be a possibility, personally I think this would be one of the best moves NASCAR could ever make. The only thing I would hope for is these types of races will stay exhibitions.
The driver that I have winning this race is Kyle Larson. While there isn’t a lot of statistics to go off, It is worth noting that Larson won a track similar to this in Daytona back in 2013 in a Late Model, so he definitely has experience getting around these type of racetracks. Also, he is the defending champion, which is always a plus. When asked about the new car, Kyle told reporters, “it’s about the same as the old one.” If this is the case, the rest of the field should be on high alert considering how many races he won last season. Look for the #5 Camaro to be the car to beat come Sunday.