The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season had been scheduled to unofficially get underway this evening with the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. However, that race will not take place tonight.
Late yesterday afternoon, NASCAR made the unprecedented decision to move the race up to Saturday night. The choice was made as a result of the pending threat of inclement weather, namely the potential for torrential rain and flooding, in the Los Angeles area throughout Sunday.
As opposed to waiting through a perfectly good Saturday, only to end up not running the event on Sunday night anyway, NASCAR opted to shift the race up by a day.
Given how the weather currently looks at and around the home of the USC Trojans, the move was undoubtedly the right one, especially considering the fact that things don't appear as though they will clear up until at least Wednesday. The drivers supported the move.
Busch Light Clash goes down on Saturday night, not Sunday
The practice/qualifying session ended up determining the 23-driver lineup for the 150-lap race around the flat, purpose-built, quarter-mile oval, rather than four 25-lap heat races and a 75-lap last chance qualifier.
The fastest 22 drivers in qualifying locked into the race, and the highest finisher in last year's standings among those not locked in took the 23rd and final spot. That happened to be reigning champion Ryan Blaney of Team Penske.
Due to the schedule change, the race ended up being shown live on Fox Sports 1 as opposed to Fox, though the broadcast booth remained the same. However, there was no halftime performance by Machine Gun Kelly.
After taking advantage of a late mistake by teammate Ty Gibbs, it was Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin who took the checkered flag to win the first race on the 2024 calendar.
The future of the Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is unknown following the third race on a three-year deal that began in 2022.
Now the series is set to head to Daytona International Speedway for the official season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 18. The 66th annual running of the "Great American Race" is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Before then, the single-car qualifying session is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 14, and the Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 15 (7:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1) to set the 40-car starting lineup. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss any of the action!