The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is unofficially scheduled to get underway this Sunday, February 4 with the Busch Light Clash, the annual preseason race leading up to the official season-opening Daytona 500.
This exhibition race was contested at Daytona International Speedway every year from 1979 to 2021, with the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval hosting the first 42 events from 1979 to 2020.
After the track's 14-turn, 3.61-mile (5.810-kilometer) interior road course hosted a race in August 2020 as the replacement for an event canceled due to COVID-19-related restrictions, it was brought back to the schedule to host the 2021 Clash. It also hosted another regular season race in 2021.
But after 2021, the Busch Light Clash moved west, where it remains to this day.
Where is the Busch Light Clash held?
In 2022, NASCAR "flipped the script" on a 2016 event that saw a college football game contested inside Bristol Motor Speedway. The Busch Light Clash was moved to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the USC Trojans, and a NASCAR race was contested inside a football stadium.
A flat, purpose-built, quarter-mile oval the size of a high school track was constructed inside the iconic 77,500-seat venue, and after the event was deemed a success in 2022, it was brought back to the schedule again in 2023 and 2024.
The future of the Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum remains unknown beyond this year's race, with some having suggested that perhaps it has run its course and it would be a smarter move for NASCAR to try to tap into a different market.
This year's event features four 25-lap heat races, a single 75-lap last chance qualifier, and a 150-lap main race featuring a break after lap 75. The main event is set to feature 23 of the 36 drivers who attempt to qualify.
Prior to the move to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the race had been contested the week before the Daytona 500, but due to the NFL going from a 16-game to a 17-game schedule and thus the Super Bowl being moved back a week, it has been contested two weeks before the "Great American Race" since 2022 to avoid a conflict with the game.
When it was run on the Daytona road course, the Busch Light Clash was contested during the week leading up to the Daytona 500 in 2021 to avoid a conflict with the Super Bowl, but that was only because the Daytona 500 was contested on the second Sunday of February for the first time in more than a decade.
Tune in to Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, February 4 for the live broadcast of the Busch Light Clash from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Begin a free trial of FuboTV if you have not already done so!