NASCAR on Tuesday announced the format and schedule for the Clash, which will be held on a made-from-scratch ¼-mile asphalt oval constructed in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The event will also serve as the first “race” involving the Cup Series’ much-anticipated Next Gen car, which still has several tests planned prior to its February debut.
“There has already been an enormous amount of buzz around next year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, and we feel that this race format and the accompanying programming throughout the entire weekend will only build on that already established momentum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of strategy and innovation.
“The unprecedented nature of this event, coupled with the fact that our sport will be in the spotlight in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, makes this a can’t-miss event when we get our 2022 season underway next February.”
Track activity will begin on Saturday, Feb. 5, with practice sessions and then single-car qualifying. The qualifying will set the lineups for the heat races on Sunday.
On Sunday, there will be four 25-lap heat races with 10 cars in each race. The four fastest cars from Saturday’s single-car qualifying will be on the pole for each heat race (fastest speed in the first heat race, second fastest speed in the second heat race, etc.).
The top four finishers in each heat race – 16 total cars – will automatically advance through to the Clash later in the evening. The winner of the first heat race will start on the pole, with the outside pole going to the winner of the second heat race.
The winners of heat race three and four will make up the second row. The remaining order for the 16 cars will be filled out in the same manner.
The Last Chance Qualifying races follow the heat races. Each heat race has 10 cars, with four automatically advancing to the main event. That leaves six cars from each heat race, or 24 total cars, not advancing. All 24 of those cars will advance to two ensuing 50-lap Last Chance Qualifying races.
The top three finishers (six total cars) in both Last Chance Qualifying races will advance to the Busch Light Clash, filling out positions 17-22 of the 23 available positions.
The final spot is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer on finishing position in the heat races or Last Chance Qualifying races. So in essence, that means 2021 champion Kyle Larson is the only driver locked into the field.
The 150-lap main event will begin on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. ET.
“I’ve had the chance to drive on the track through iRacing and make some laps in the Next Gen car at Bowman-Gray on a similar layout, and there’s no doubt that this race is going to be awesome,” said Clint Bowyer, longtime former NASCAR Cup Series driver and current Fox Sports TV analyst.
“The different qualifying events and format for the Clash are only going to add to what will be an unforgettable weekend. This is definitely a race you’re not going to want to miss.”
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