NASCAR Back In LaLa Land For Season-Opening Clash

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 3 2023

NASCAR will kick off its 2023 season at The Los Angeles Coliseum. (File photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

NASCAR comes out of winter hibernation this weekend with the running of Sunday night’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.

It will be the good ol’ boys second spin around the .25-mile bullring, built specifically for the unofficial season-opening non-points event.

Joey Logano grabbed the lead with 34 laps remaining in this race a year ago from pole sitter Kyle Busch and proceeded to put his No. 22 Team Penske Ford in victory lane.

A series of qualifying, heat races and a last chance race will set the starting lineup for the 27-car field. The entry list is composed of 36 drivers.

The 150 lap main event will roll shortly after 5 p.m. local time and air live on FOX with Mike Joy, Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart providing the commentary. FOX and NASCAR are anticipating high ratings for the race, which will be broadcast during prime time on the east coast.

This will be the first Sunday since August with no NFL games on the calendar. The NFL 2022-2023 season will conclude next Sunday when Glendale, Ariz. plays host to Super Bowl LVII.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, will feel at home on Sunday night when he waves the green flag. Williams and the Trojans play their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Actor Rob Lowe has been named the event’s Grand Marshal.

Among the major racing storylines is longtime Busch making his debut in the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Busch replaces Tyler Reddick, who takes over the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing.


NASCAR will now ban maneuvers such as the one Ross Chastain pulled off on the final lap at Martinsville Speedway last fall when he executed a full throttle, wall-ride pass that propelled him into final four championship race the following week in Phoenix.

Violators, at NASCAR’s discretion, will face a timed penalty.

Following this week’s announcement by NASCAR, Martinsville Speedway announced the scuff marks will remain since they won’t apply a fresh coat of paint on the wall in Turns 3 and 4 in honor of Chastain’s remarkable feat at the paperclip-shaped track last season.

Trackhouse Racing tweeted they don’t plan to make repairs to the No. 1 Chevrolet Chastain drove that afternoon to commemorate their driver pulling off one of the most improbable feats in the history of the sport.


Joe Gibbs Racing and the NASCAR community received a shock during the weekend of the season finale at Phoenix in November when word spread that Coy Gibbs had passed away.

Gibbs, a former driver, son of Joe Gibbs and father of driver Ty Gibbs, died unexpectedly at the age of 49.

Retired NFL coach and longtime NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs released the following statement on Thursday:

“As we start the new season, I want to thank the NASCAR community for their support of our family during these difficult times throughout the past couple of months,” Gibbs said.

“We are still working through the grieving process, and it is still extremely difficult to discuss. While we are excited to start the new racing season, we hope everyone can continue to respect the privacy of our family.”


Superstar Racing Experience, better known as SRX, will launch its third season this summer on a new night and network.

The SRX six-race series had previously staged events on Saturday nights on CBS. The series co-founded by Tony Stewart, will now compete on Thursday evenings with all races airing on ESPN.

Bowyer, Hailie Deegan, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Bobby Labonte and Ryan Newman were among the drivers to announce this week they plan to see action this year in SRX.


Gordon Pirkle and Bill Elliott, regular fixtures for years at the Dawsonville Pool Room in Georgia, welcomed a surprise visitor to the landmark-racing hangout last weekend when legendary driver Ken Schrader paid a visit.

The trio posed for photos, dined at the historic diner and swapped racing stories.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 3 2023
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