Bubba Wallace Suggests The NASCAR Clash Has Already Run its Course in L.A.
The 2024 NASCAR season kicks off this weekend with the third iteration of The Clash at the Coliseum, an exhibition race in which the L.A. Coliseum is transformed into a 0.25-mile oval racetrack. The event has garnered its share of fanfare, including for its novelty, but Bubba Wallace recently suggested its time for the race to move on to another venue.
Wallace commented on that desire while speaking at a press conference ahead of his entry in the Jan. 26 BMW Endurance Challenge sportscar race.
“I feel like the area we’re in has kind of run its course,” Wallace said. “I had the conversations with leadership and NASCAR, it’s like, ‘Hey, this needs to kind of be a floating deal.’ We need to keep it moving around. We see it can be a success if we pick the right market. So, we’ll see what happens after this.”
That’s not to say Wallace doesn’t appreciate the event. The racing is “so different” from what’s offered at typical NASCAR venues, he said.
“The racing is actually kind of fun, it’s exciting,” he said. “We go in there and we’re pissed off at each other, running over people and carrying grudges all season long just because of the Clash, right? I think that creates a storyline, but I think you need to change the venue.”
Wallace’s wish could be granted in 2025. NASCAR inked a three-year deal to hold the Clash at the L.A. Coliseum, and this weekend’s race marks the final event of the contract period. Of course the possibility remains NASCAR and the venue could agree to keep the event in L.A.
The 23XI Racing driver’s comments also echo a hope felt by some fans when the Clash first moved to L.A. Specifically, that the exhibition race might move from year to year to various markets where the sport can court a new fan base.
There is also been a vocal group of fans opposed to NASCAR’s decision to move the Clash from the high banks of Daytona. One consistent complaint is it has further eroded Daytona Speedweeks, once a two-week long melee of racing culminating with the Daytona 500.
The Clash will feature some new elements for 2024 with its return to the L.A. Coliseum. A NASCAR Mexico Series race is included in the slate of events, and the format has been updated. The NMS race takes place at 1:30 p.m. PT Feb. 4.
Cup Series practices begins Feb. 3 with the field divided into three groups. Each driver’s fastest lap time from the practice sessions will determine their starting lineup for the four 25-lap heat races beginning at 5:30 p.m. PT. The top-five finishing drivers from each heat race will earn a berth in the Clash. Those that finish outside the top-five can still earn a spot in the main event in the 75-lap Last Chance Qualifier Race Feb. 4. The top two drivers in that race will advance to the Clash. Another spot is awarded to the driver who placed highest in the 2023 Cup Series points standings who fails to earn a berth.
The Clash main event begins at 5 p.m. PT Feb. 4.