Tuesday, 09 August 2022

NASCAR’s bet on a spectacle in L.A. paid off

Many doubted NASCAR when this unprecedented event was announced. But between the amazing and historic venue that looked beautiful on TV (and no doubt in person, too), tremendous on-track action and musical entertainment from Pitbull and Ice Cube, and an impressive crowd, the Clash at the Coliseum is something that exceeded NASCAR’s wildest expectations.

Joey Logano put on a tough battle with Kyle Busch up front to take the inaugural win for the Next Gen car, and in the process NASCAR exposed itself to a California audience largely composed of people who don’t normally follow the sport. Here’s hoping they stick around and remain fans of the sport as we head into the Daytona 500 and beyond.

I can see the Clash coming back to the Coliseum next year, but we need to be careful to make these things special, and not try to do them multiple times a year. Make it a destination every February; and later, once it’s served its purpose, give another stadium a chance. 

One thing is certain. The Clash, which had become an almost forgotten and frankly boring event at Daytona, has been revitalized, and we’re not going to back to the old ways again. Kudos to Ben Kennedy, the future of the sport’s leadership, for pushing the sport in bold, new directions despite some howling from legacy fans.

Published in NASCAR

As I watched Joey Logano’s car turned into a lawn mower, Jimmie Johnson take a brutal hit into the wall, and so many other cars losing sheet metal today, part of me was thinking that this Busch Clash crashfest (which came late in the race after mostly single file racing through the early parts) may be an anomaly. It’s a non-points race, first of the season, etc., and won’t carry over to Sunday’s Daytona 500.

But that part of me is probably wrong. My other half, the realistic one, knows that winning the Daytona 500 is probably going to be the biggest win of their career for most of the drivers on the grid. So while I’m somewhat confident we’ll have more than 6 cars finishing the Daytona 500, don’t be surprised if the crazy blocks and big-time wrecks just keep on coming when the field of 40 takes the green on Feb. 16.

Published in NASCAR

BROOKLYN, Mich. — A hometrack race just means more.

And for Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones, who both cut their teeth at local Michigan tracks including Waterford Hills, that home track in the Cup series is Michigan International Speedway.

Neither has won a Cup race at MIS (in fact, no Michigan-born driver has won a Cup race at MIS), but this might be the weekend that changes. Both are very fast so far this weekend. 

Keselowski’s speed came through in qualifying Friday, when he went out last in qualifying and beat everyone with a speed of 190.471 MPH. He previously won the pole at MIS in August 2017.

 “I think the track was in really good shape,. I don't know if there was anything that really favored us, mostly it was just the team doing a great job with the preparation and executing a flawless lap driving the car. Most of the credit goes to my team for sure.”

Published in NASCAR

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