The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season was unofficially scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 4 with the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Now it is scheduled to get underway tonight, as NASCAR proactively made the decision to move the race up by a day as a result of a major threat of torrential rain and flooding in the Los Angeles area throughout Sunday afternoon and evening.
Unfortunately, the date change also led to a format change. This year's initially planned format had been slightly different from the formats used in 2022 and 2023, the first two years in which the Busch Light Clash was contested at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum following the move from Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR changes Busch Light Clash format
There were initially scheduled to be four 25-lap heat races and a 75-lap last chance qualifier around the flat, purpose-built, quarter-mile oval inside the home of the USC Trojans, ahead of the 150-lap main event.
The top five drivers from each of the heat races were set to advance to the main event, as were the top two finishers in the last chance qualifier. The 23rd and final spot was set to be filled by the highest finisher in last year's standings among the 14 drivers not yet locked in.
Now, however, there will be no heat races or a last chance qualifier. The practice/qualifying session, which is currently underway on Fox Sports 1, is set to determine the starting lineup for the 150-lap Busch Light Clash.
It is worth noting that the field is still set to consist of 23 drivers, and only 22 of those drivers will be determined by the speeds posted in the practice/qualifying session. The highest finisher in the 2023 standings among the drivers not locked in will take the 23rd spot.
The Busch Light Clash is set to be shown live on Fox Sports 1 as opposed to Fox due to the schedule change. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, and begin a free trial of FuboTV if you have not already done so!