LOS ANGELES — NASCAR was the massive winner at its glossy Los Angeles gala held inside of Memorial Coliseum.
In require of an strength raise forward of its approaching time, NASCAR broke its dated mold and staged an experimental exhibition race within a single of the most legendary venues in sports. The race alone on a non permanent quarter-mile asphalt oval was a sideshow in Sunday’s made-for-Fox Sporting activities magnificent.
Just how productive was the Busch Light Clash? Two losing drivers superior-fived a pair of NASCAR senior executives as they passed in the USC locker room.
Just one was Ben Kennedy, the 30-yr-aged terrific-grandson of NASCAR’s founder and forward-thinker who pushed The Clash from its birthplace in Daytona throughout the place and into the Coliseum.
“Really fantastic day for the overall activity,” Kennedy reported.
The Clash was a results prior to a single race vehicle drove by way of the Southern California soccer team’s tunnel and onto the clean, black asphalt that lined the Trojans’ discipline. Ice Cube executed a 6-minute established from the Peristyle all through a temporary “halftime,” and Pitbull with backup dancers outfitted in a checkered-flag concept employed the very same phase for his pre-race concert.
The grand marshals were being Los Angeles sporting greats, and Jeff Gordon lit the cauldron built for the 1932 Summertime Olympics in advance of the race began. Celebs walked a crimson carpet, the USC student segment loaded in early, and the group booed pole-sitter Kyle Busch like a bunch of old pro’s for the duration of driver introductions.
The identify of the race was the similar, but all the things else about the 44th managing of The Clash was distinctive.
Joey Logano was the actual race winner and, like almost everyone else in the business, heaped praise on NASCAR for properly fulfilling Kennedy’s eyesight.
“The hype all-around this, you view football video games recently, they are promoting the Clash as substantially as they’re promotion Daytona 500,” Logano mentioned. “That form of puts it into perspective a very little bit on what this event intended to our sport, how huge of a gamble this genuinely was, correct? This could have absent dreadful. It went great.”
Additional runner-up Busch: “Ben Kennedy and the men at NASCAR, if this didn’t get the job done, it was going to be unpleasant.”
Alternatively, Busch was one of the drivers who significant-fived Kennedy.
NASCAR moved the Clash to Los Angeles from Daytona Global Speedway, its only home considering the fact that its 1979 inception, as section of a targeted exertion to break from its dated traditions. And the race was a accomplishment right before a one racecar drove as a result of the Southern California soccer team’s tunnel and onto the clean, black asphalt that included the Trojans’ area.
The Coliseum could keep about 60,000 followers for The Clash, and despite the fact that it was not a sellout, the crowd was equally sturdy and loud. NASCAR stated at the start off of the week that 70% of people who bought tickets discovered as first-time race attendees, and the buildup in Los Angeles for future week’s Tremendous Bowl only served publicize NASCAR’s significant social gathering.
The identify of the race was the very same, but every little thing else about the 44th running of The Clash was unique.
“I feel it was a possibility. We understood that from the start,” Kennedy stated. “As we’ve talked about the agenda in excess of the past couple yrs, we talked about currently being bold, we talked about staying innovative. This was one thing new, something distinctive. We challenged ourselves, the workforce challenged them selves, to consider about this party in different ways.
“We’re definitely very pleased of the consequence.”
The field was established by heat races held previously Sunday, and a pair of very last likelihood qualifiers to give drivers a single closing chance to make the 23-vehicle starting grid. The structure designed for spirited racing in the final “LCQ” as rookie Austin Cindric bounced and banged his way via visitors hoping to transfer into the principal occasion.
Cindric fell short but was in superior business: NASCAR champions Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch were between the motorists who failed to make it out of the heats.
Kyle Busch started off on the pole for the 150-lap attribute that bundled a planned stop on Lap 75 for Ice Cube’s set. Busch dominated the first fifty percent but was ultimately caught by Logano, who in no way gave Busch a possibility to go him out of the way for the get.
Logano won the Clash for the 2nd time in his job. It was the fifth acquire for Staff Penske, which has won 3 of the very last 6 runnings of what experienced usually been a warmup for the Daytona 500.
Absolutely nothing acquired in Los Angeles will transfer into the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500, but the race was the initially for NASCAR’s new car. The Up coming Gen was a prolonged-planned job that was delayed a season by the pandemic.
The motor vehicle is designed to slash costs to groups, even competitiveness in the course of the area and produce a improved racing item. The Upcoming Gen didn’t disappoint in its debut on the shortest observe on the NASCAR program.
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