NASCAR shifts season-opening exhibition to L.A. Coliseum

Airplanes fly over Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before a football game between San Jose State and USC on Sept. 4 in Los Angeles.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR will open the 2022 season inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, one of the biggest shakeups to its schedule in years.

The annual exhibition Clash, held at Daytona International Speedway since 1979, will shift to Los Angeles next year. As the kickoff to the season, the invitation-only race is traditionally held the week before the season-opening Daytona 500.

The 2022 race will be held Feb. 6, one week before the Super Bowl and two weeks before the Daytona 500. The race will be inside the stadium on a temporary, quarter-mile, asphalt track. The historic Coliseum is home of the Southern California football team and seats 77,500.

The announcement made Tuesday night on Fox Sports precedes the release of the full 2022 schedule.

“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,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take center stage in this market as we get our 2022 season underway.”

NASCAR has run inside stadiums before, including regional events at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem and a Cup Series race at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1956.

Eligibility for The Clash has not been announced, but the drivers will be using the Next Gen cars that are set to debut next season.

Tickets for The Clash at Daytona have been on sale for months and the race had been billed as the opener to six days of racing at Daytona.

Tickets for “The Clash at the Coliseum” will go on sale Thursday at $65 for adults and $10 for 12 and younger.

NASCAR will return to the Los Angeles area after The Clash for its traditional stop at Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR did not race in Los Angeles in 2021 because of the pandemic.

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