Tuesday, Sep 26

RCR Event Preview - Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series history at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum … The Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be the first NASCAR race held at the historic sports venue since it opened in 1923. The event will be held inside the stadium on a paved quarter-mile asphalt track. The Clash at the Coliseum will be a signature event as a part of the venue’s centennial celebration and mark the first time NASCAR’s prelude to the DAYTONA 500 will take place somewhere other than Daytona International Speedway. The NASCAR Cup Series will also visit Southern California on February 27 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
The Clash … Richard Childress Racing has earned eight wins in the Clash led by Dale Earnhardt’s five victories (1986, ’88, ’91, ’93, and ’95) and three by Kevin Harvick (2009, 2010 and 2013). This year’s exhibition race will consist of 150 laps with an exclusive starting field of 23 drivers determined through heat races (25 laps consisting of 10 cars each) and two last chance qualifying races (50 laps). The final starting position will be awarded to the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer.
How to Qualify … Single car qualifying on Saturday will determine the starting lineup for each of the four heat races. Below is a breakdown on how the heat races will be filled out:
  • The top four fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s single vehicle qualifying session will be on the pole for each heat race, while cars that qualified fifth through eighth will make up the other half of the front row in each heat.
  • The remainder of each field will be filled out using this methodology (Ex. – heat one will be made up cars with qualifying positions of one, five, nine, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37).
  • The top four finishers (16 total cars) from each heat race automatically advance through to the Busch Light Clash, with the winner of heat one winning the pole and the heat two winner earning the outside pole.
  • The winners of heats three and four will fill out the second row, with the remaining order of these 16 cars being determined in the same manner.
One Last Chance … The remaining six finishing positions from each heat (24 total cars) that did not advance will continue through to one of two 50-lap last chance qualifying races. Below is a breakdown on how the last chance qualifiers will be filled out:
  • The starting order for these two events will be determined based on finishing positions in the heat races.
  • Those who did not advance from heats one and three will make up the first last chance qualifying race while the second race will be made of up those from heats two and four.
  • The fifth-place finishers from heats one and two will be on the pole in their respective last chance qualifying races. The fifth-place finishers from heats three and four will be on the outside pole.
  • This pattern will continue to fill out 12 cars in each event.
  • The top three finishers (six total cars) from both last chance qualifying races will advance to the Busch Light Clash, filling out positions 17 - 22 of the 23 available positions.
A New Era of Racing … This season, drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series will compete in NASCAR’s Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which officially debuts this weekend at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a collaboration of the brightest engineering minds in racing. With technology at the forefront, Richard Childress Racing has played a unique and critical role in helping to bring this new on-track identity to life, working closely with OEMs, other teams and NASCAR to build and test the initial prototype.
Catch the Action ... The Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be televised live Sunday, Feb. 6 beginning at 5 p.m. ET on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
This Week’s True Velocity Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum … Dillon, the 2018 Daytona 500 Champion, is among the NASCAR Cup Series drivers vying for a spot in this year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, a 150-lap non-points-paying exhibition race limited to 23 cars. Although this marks the first year that the Busch Clash will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Dillon has participated in the race on eight previous occasions at it’s former location of Daytona International Speedway.
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What are your thoughts on bringing NASCAR to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Clash?
“It’s going to be wild and interesting, that’s for sure. NASCAR really went outside of the box with this one, and from an entertainment standpoint, I think it should be great for fans. It’s a tight track to fit the cars on, so racing-wise, you’ll see quite a bit of beating and banging. NASCAR and Fox are both doing a good job creating excitement and adding to the racing with concerts, DJs and enhanced television coverage. It’s a bold experiment for our sport and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
What stands out to you about the Next Gen race car?
“It’s very futuristic compared to what we’ve been driving. I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air. We have a lot of kinks and things to work out right now, and there are a lot of unknowns, but I think that change is good for the sport. I think a lot of the fans are going to love to see the different things we do with the car. We’ll figure a lot out as we go. We had so much time and effort put into the old cars. We’re still figuring out things to make the old cars faster, which is crazy to think about when you look at how long we’ve had them. With the Next Gen, I think the engineers in our sport are going to be learning at a very fast pace, and we’re going to have to try to keep up with them as drivers.”
Are you concerned about the inventory of cars?
“I think it goes back to short-track racing. When you are coming up through the ranks of short-track racing, you do not have the inventory of cars that we’ve always had in the NASCAR Cup Series. If you wrecked your car, you could be out the next weekend. I don’t know that the inventory situation with the Next Gen car is that serious, but a wreck early in the season definitely could put you behind and put your team in a bind early in the season. Until we get more inventory of these cars, you want to take care of your equipment but you also want to win and put it all out on the line.”
There’s a lot of changes within the sport, and within the car. However, you are coming into a situation with the same crew chief in Justin Alexander and the same teammate in Tyler Reddick heading into the season. How important is it to have some degree of familiarity surrounding you heading into the season?
“I think it’s really important. Any time you can build with the same team over a year’s time you start to feel each other out more and know where everybody stands. We were very close to getting both of our cars into the NASCAR Playoffs last year. It came down to a points race between the two. Obviously this year, the biggest thing is trying to get locked in with a win. That’s what hurt us. I think we were super consistent throughout the season. We had our most consistent season ever and had some good runs. Unfortunately, there were some guys whowon that put us in a really bad spot. We don’t want to be in that spot again. We want to go to Victory Lane before the NASCAR Playoffs start.”
This Week’s Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum … Tyler Reddick is one of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers competing for a spot in the first-ever Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 6. The 150-lap non-points-paying race will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The new track was created specifically for the inaugural event and is approximately 1350 feet long and 37.5 feet in width. The banking is 2.5 degrees and there’s a 10-foot apron with recessed rumble strips. The track will have SAFER barriers around the entire outside. The field is limited to only 23 cars, with 36 cars currently entered. Reddick has participated in two previous Clash events; one was held on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course (2021) and the other on the Daytona International Speedway oval (2020).
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What are your thoughts on bringing NASCAR to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Clash?
“NASCAR bringing a race to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is really exciting because it’s never been done before and it’s going to be a part of the history books. The fact that I get to be a part of it is even better. I have always wanted to go to the LA Coliseum and now I get to go and actually say that I raced on it. It’s really cool and it’s definitely going to be an exciting and crazy show for the fans.”
What have you been able to learn about the Next Gen car during the offseason?
“The Next Gen car has proven to have a lot of unknowns and changes that we will have to learn to adjust to. During the Next Gen tests at Charlotte, Daytona, and Phoenix, we were able to really push the limit and see what the new car can do. There is more mechanical grip and less aerodynamic grip, so you have to keep it straight. You can’t just get sideways and be able to correct yourself. The side force doesn’t hold the cars down to the track. It’s definitely going to be a challenge but it’s a fun challenge and I’m excited to keep learning everything I can about the car to bring speed and results to our team.”
Heading into your third full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, this is also your third season with crew chief Randall Burnett on the pit box. How important is your relationship with him as we enter a new season?
“Randall and I have a really great relationship and it’s really important to have that when you’re trying to build a solid and successful team. We work really well together, and I think we’ve been able to learn a lot about the Next Gen car together during the tests and the offseason. Obviously, this year, we have a lot of goals for our No. 8 team and achieving those goals becomes easier when you have a good relationship with the leader of your team. 2021 was good to us, with a lot of good runs and consistent finishes that helped us punch at ticket to the Playoffs. Although our Playoff run ended early, it was the momentum we need for this season.”



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