NASCAR commences celebrating 75th Diamond Anniversary in Los Angeles
February 2, 2023
Under the bright lights in Hollywood fashion, NASCAR is rolling out the red carpet in Los Angeles, California to commence the celebration of the 75th year of the sport, and it all starts when the engines are fired for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Sunday, February 5 at 8 p.m. ET at the purpose-built, quarter-mile, asphalt oval inside the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
NASCAR has come a long way in its 75 years. It was on December 14, 1947, when Bill France Sr. gathered 35 people for four days of meetings (Dec. 14 – 17) at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach. The distinguished group represented the most influential names in the racing industry at the time and included drivers, mechanics, promoters, car owners, journalists, businessmen, and a recording secretary. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was born from that meeting and though he knew what was needed, not even Bill could envision what the sport would become.
“Stock car racing has got distinct possibilities for Sunday shows, and we do not know how big it can be if it’s handled properly… It can go the same way as big car racing (Indianapolis), I believe stock car racing can become a nationally recognized sport by having a National Point Standing. Stock car racing as we’ve been running it is not, in my opinion, the answer… We must try to get track owners and promoters interested in building stock car racing up. We are all interested in one thing — that is improving the present conditions. The answer lies in our group right here today to do it.” – Bill France Sr. on December 14, 1947, speaking at NASCAR’s organizational meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida.
In the last 75 years, NASCAR has expanded globally, with series in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Europe, and this weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum is the perfect exhibition-style event to jump start the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. This year is also packed with some exciting new changes to the schedule with the series competing for the first time on a street course in Chicago, and also throwing it back to its roots with the return of North Wilkesboro hosting the All-Star race.
“As we prepare to celebrate our 75th anniversary season, we are committed to delivering a schedule that acknowledges the deep history and tradition of our sport while establishing a bold future that brings the best racing in the world to new markets and new fans,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy.
Don’t miss a minute of the action this weekend, as practice for the Busch Light Clash will be on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 6-8 p.m. ET, followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 8:30 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1.
Time to Clash in the Hollywood Hills
This weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will be the 45th running of the annual non-points exhibition race that has been hosted by the NASCAR Cup Series since 1979.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the third different venue to hold the Busch Light Clash, joining Daytona International Speedway, where it was hosted from 1979 to 2020 and the DAYTONA Road Course which hosted the event in 2021.
In total, 24 different drivers have won the Busch Light Clash since the inaugural race back in 1979. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Clash wins with six victories (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995).
Last season’s inaugural event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was won by Team Penske’s Joey Logano, his second victory in the season-opening exhibition race (2017, 2022). With Logano’s win, he became the 12th different driver to win the Clash multiple times; joining Dale Earnhardt (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995), Dale Jarrett (1996, 2000, 2004), Kevin Harvick (2009, 2010, 2013), Tony Stewart (2001, 2002, 2007), Denny Hamlin (2006, 2014, 2016), Neil Bonnett (1983-1984), Ken Schrader, (1989-1990), Jeff Gordon (1994, 1997), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2008), Jimmie Johnson (2005, 2019), and Kyle Busch (2012, 2021).
The 2022 Busch Light Clash also saw five lead changes among three drivers during the scheduled 150 laps; with Kyle Busch (64 laps led), Tyler Reddick (51) and Joey Logano (35) each spending time out front.
There are six former Busch Light Clash winners entered in this weekend’s race, led by Denny Hamlin (three: 2006, 2014, 2016) and Kevin Harvick (three: 2009, 2010, 2013) with three victories each. The other four previous winners are Kyle Busch (2012, 2021), Joey Logano (2017, 2022), Brad Keselowski (2018) and Erik Jones (2020).