1. Should The Clash Be A Summertime Event?
There’s an understandable argument about the future of the Busch Light Clash. If the goal is to take a stadium-style race to different markets, then places beside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum should be considered.
Think of markets that have long made sense for the sport to expand to – Denver, Seattle, New York, among other major cities.
The problem? Unless you are running snow tires and guaranteeing fans will sit outside in frigid, rainy and possibly snow conditions (sorry, Packers fans), NASCAR running a race in those places during the month of February is not sustainable. It’s the same argument for why the Clash being run at Rockingham Speedway would make zero sense.
Is the goal of this event to build excitement? If so, why not just use the Daytona 500 as a rolling start and slot this one the day after the MLB All Star Game. That’s literally the slowest day in sports. Can you imagine a race in Denver or New York leading right into the run-up to the playoffs?
The Daytona 500 alone excites casual fans and can stand on its own to start a season. That’s why, if NASCAR really wants to shop the Busch Clash around to other markets, it needs to be in the midst of the season.
2. Did Ty Gibbs Serve Notice?
Saturday’s dominant run from Ty Gibbs didn’t come out of nowhere. It seems like an eternity and a half ago, but last August he nearly slipped into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and that came in a season where Gibbs did what any rookie needs to do – run solid and avoid being in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
If that was the first step of a process, then what you saw Saturday (Feb. 3) was the next layer of that. Save for a late caution, Gibbs likely comes away from the Coliseum a fan of Randy Newman’s sentiment of “I Love LA.”
You don’t want to claim that one race makes a reason, especially an exhibition version on a track that the sport won’t race on again this year or maybe ever again. But you can learn a lot about how focused a team is by how they make a first impression of a season, and many learned on Saturday that the No. 54 team is ready to take that next step.
3. Could Saturday’s Schedule Change Have Opened Pandora’s Box?
Saturday was not the first time that weather forecasts indicated a substantial rain would alter the next day’s running of a NASCAR…