The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series technically begins on Feb. 20 with the Daytona 500, but it unofficially begins Sunday with the Busch Clash non-points race. This year, it’s being held for the first time at historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The race begins at 6 p.m. ET since there’s no football on Sunday other than the Pro Bowl. The Clash is 150 laps. Caution laps do not count. There will be a break at Lap 75. Ice Cube will perform during the break.
NASCAR wanted to get an attention boost to start the new season and that’s why this race was moved from Daytona to Los Angeles. The Clash has been held at Daytona International Speedway since 1979. The pre-season exhibition race has annually served as the first big event of Daytona Speedweeks. The LA Coliseum will be converted into a quarter-mile, asphalt short track for the event. The track will be the shortest that the Cup Series has competed on in the modern era. Currently, Bristol Motor Speedway (0.533 mile) and Martinsville Speedway (0.526 mile) are the smallest layouts on the schedule.
2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Race Info
Get ready for the Clash by taking a lap around the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. pic.twitter.com/8tobGvHKIg— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) January 21, 2022
- When: Sunday, Feb. 6 at 6:00 pm ET
- Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
- TV: FOX
- Radio: MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
- Live Stream: NBCSports.com
Odds to Win the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
- Denny Hamlin +610
- Martin Truex Jr. +610
- Kyle Larson +610
- Chase Elliot +610
- Kyle Busch +660
- Joey Logano +710
- Ryan Blaney +1200
- William Byron +1400
- Brad Keselowski +1500
- Kevin Harvick +1500
- Alex Bowman +1600
- Christopher Bell +2000
- Kurt Busch +2800
- Austin Cindric +4000
- Aric Almirola +5100
- Tyler Reddick +5200
- Austin Dillon +8100
- AJ Allmedinger +8200
- Ross Chastain +8200
History of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
The 77,500-seat venue has hosted motorsports events in the past, with both supercross and speedway motorcycle races within the stadium. Off-road trucks and rallycross events (including the X Games) have also been competed on temporary dirt courses at the Coliseum in recent years.
“I think the large fan base that we have here in Los Angeles, the largest that we actually have in the nation, paired with exciting racing and being here in the downtown Los Angeles market, I think will be really special,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation.”
Sunday’s race also is competitive debut of the Next Gen cars and a variety of other team and driver changes from the offseason, giving fans their first look at a full fleet of redesigned Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Toyota Camrys.
Changes for the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
Independent rear suspension, composite bodies, bigger brakes and larger diameter tires are among the key changes to the car. Teams have concerns because supply issues delayed shipment of parts, thus slowing production. Teams will not enter this season with the maximum seven vehicles per car number that they’re allowed. NASCAR teams spent last week taking part in a two-day test session at Phoenix Raceway, which marked the last organizational test session of the Next Gen car. “Race teams always want to be prepared and ahead on everything,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Motorsports. “That’s part of what they need to do and have everything in stock that they need to do when they need to do it, but I think at this point, everybody has a plan with the supply parts that are all coming through to be able to support these races at the beginning of the season.”
Who have the best odds to win the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum?
Among driver changes, Brad Keselowski goes from Team Penske to being an owner/driver at RFK Racing. Kurt Busch moves to 23XI Racing to be Bubba Wallace’s teammate.
Martin Truex and Denny Hamlin have opened as +610 co-favorites. Truex is one of the best short-track drivers on the circuit. He won four races on the Cup Series last year, second most behind Kyle Larson, who grabbed 10 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2021 on the way to the points title. He’s +610.
Hamlin, who finished in third place in the 2021 Cup Series, has claimed victory at this event twice before (2014, 2016) when it was held at Daytona International Speedway.
The defending champion of the race is Kyle Busch (+660); it was run on a road course at Daytona in 2021. Race runner-up Chase Elliott had been fighting with then-race leader Ryan Blaney for the lead as the cars went into the final sequence of turns. They collided. Blaney’s pole-sitting No. 12 Ford hit the wall. Elliott was able to recover enough to head to the finish line but Busch had already gotten around them both to take a .765-second victory.
It was Busch’s second win in the exhibition — he also used a last-lap pass to win in 2012. Blaney is +1200 this year and Elliott +610.
Who wins the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum ?
2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Pick: Martin Truex Jr.