23 drivers will vie for the checkered flag over the course of 150 laps. (Image/NASCAR)

The Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum exhibition race kicks off the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and it’s attracting a lot of attention.

That’s because, as the name implies, NASCAR is holding the race in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Yup, the same historic stadium that first opened its doors in 1923 and has welcomed an impressive list of guests, from U.S. Presidents, to The Pope, to the Harlem Globetrotters.

L.A. Memorial is the current home to the USC Trojans college football team, and former home to the UCLA Bruins, L.A. Raiders, and L.A. Rams football teams. The venue also hosted the Olympics twice, in 1932 and again in 1984.

The grounds crew worked tirelessly to replace the Coliseum’s turf with a quarter-mile, asphalt short track. (Image/NASCAR)

But tonight’s event is the first time the Coliseum has ever contained a NASCAR track. And if that’s not enough, it’s also the first time we’ll see NASCAR’s new Next Gen cars in a real race environment.

So even though it’s a “pre-season” exhibition, this’ll be a really, really interesting race.

With only a quarter-mile of asphalt available, we’re expecting plenty of on-track excitement. (Image/NASCAR)

In a way, you can consider tonight’s Clash at the Coliseum a throwback to the early days of stock car racing. While this is the first time NASCAR’s raced in L.A. Memorial, the sport held races in stadium and fairground venues early in its history, simply because there weren’t many purpose-built race tracks around. (In fact, historic tracks like Bowman Gray Stadium continue to operate to this day.)

This is the first time we’ll see NASCAR’s new Next Gen car in official race action too. (Image/Bob Leverone – Getty Images)

Qualifying began yesterday, and there will be a handful of heat races throughout today (with a live DJ spinning music in between heats, no less). The list of racers who will compete in the final 150-lap Clash will eventually be whittled down to 23 prior to the Green Flag.

If you can’t make it to the event, it’ll be televised. The race begins at 6 pm ET, TV coverage begins at 2 pm ET on FOX.

You can get a feel for the track and the race in this iRacing demo video:

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.