By David Morgan, Associate Editor
The wait is over.
The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season kicks off this weekend with the annual Busch Light Clash exhibition race.
After being held at Daytona International Speedway as the opening salvo to Speedweeks throughout its existence, the race moved away from the birthplace of NASCAR out to the West Coast in 2022, into the confines of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
For the third year in a row, the purpose-built quarter-mile track plays host to NASCAR’s premier division and will give all of the teams and drivers a chance to shake off the offseason rust.
36 cars will enter the weekend looking for a chance to race in the main event, with a bit of a change in the weekend schedule compared to years past. Instead of single car qualifying to set the field for the heat races, the results from practice on Saturday will set the starting lineup for the four 25-lap heat races to follow later that day.
The top-five drivers from each of the heat races will automatically advance on to Sunday’s main event, while the remaining drivers will have to rest their fate in a last chance qualifier on Sunday. The top-two finishers from the LCQ race will then take their place in the starting grid for the Clash.
The 23rd and final starting position in the Clash will go to whichever driver finished highest in the 2023 points standings, but was unable to advance through in any of the preliminary races.
The Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum will consist of 150-laps, broken down into two 75-lap segments. With the tight confines of the stadium preventing live pit stops from happening, a half-time break between the segments will allow the teams to work on their cars.
By the Numbers
What: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, NASCAR Cup Series Exhibition Race
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California
TV/Radio: FOX, 6:30 pm ET / MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90
Track Size: Quarter-mile purpose-built oval
Race Length: 150 laps (Two segments: 75 laps each)
2023 Race Winner: Martin Truex, Jr. – No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Started second, 25 laps led)
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