NASCAR quickly approaching an important deadline

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Busch Light Clash, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Busch Light Clash, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

NASCAR is quickly approaching an important deadline as it pertains to the 2023 Cup Series season, specifically getting the season underway.

For the first time in NASCAR Cup Series history, the season-opening Busch Light Clash exhibition race was contested at a venue other than Daytona International Speedway this past February.

After 42 years of being contested at the Daytona Beach, Florida venue’s four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked oval from 1979 to 2020, the race was moved to the track’s 14-turn, 3.61-mile (5.810-kilometer) road course, featuring an interior section of the track as well as a considerable amount of the oval, in 2021.

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But that lasted just one year, as NASCAR headed west for 2022. A purpose-built, quarter-mile oval inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the USC Trojans football team, hosted this year’s Busch Light Clash, which took place two weeks before the official season-opening Daytona 500, as opposed to the week before like usual.

Despite skepticism and even criticism directed at NASCAR leading up to the event, it was a success in more ways than one.

Fortunately, NASCAR and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have a three-year deal in place to continue to run the Busch Light Clash at the track. But this deal contains options for both 2023 and 2024, and NASCAR holds the option on whether or not to run the race.

NASCAR is required to make a final decision on the 2023 race by Friday, May 6, as they had 90 days from this year’s race, including race day, to make the call.

The race was run more than 12 weeks ago, and that deadline is now tomorrow.

The 2023 Cup Series schedule could be announced as early as sometime this summer, which would be the earliest schedule reveal in several seasons. This confirmation, given the fact that it must come sometime before next Friday, could really get things moving.

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Should the surprising decision not to return to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a second year in 2023 be made, potential replacements for the Busch Light Clash would surely become quite a hot discussion topic.