It was a whirlwind of a weeknd for everybody in NASCAR last week, which saw an unprecedented rescheduling of NASCAR’s Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum. “Life threatening rain” was in the forecast starting Sunday, the same day the race was originally scheduled to be run.
NASCAR moved up the race a full day to Saturday, allowing them to beat the rain and complete the race.
NASCAR putting a makeshift track in the LA Coliseum meant having to postpone the race would cause many logistical concerns. And with the forecast looking like a washout for the foreseeable future, a decision would have to be made.
In the end, NASCAR announced around noon local time on Saturday that the main event would be moved forward to 5 p.m that evening. All heat races were canceled, and the qualifying was modified. With this decision, NASCAR managed to get the race in. But the costs were devastating.
To accommodate for the fan inconvenience, admission was made free for the Saturday event. All ticket holders for Sunday were given refunds. Celebrity appearances and concerts had to be canceled as well.
Only a few thousand people were in the stands for the race. The TV broadcast had to be switched from FOX to FS1, costing millions of viewers.
Despite this, there was a risk the race might not be run at all had NASCAR waited things out. It was a lose-lose situation. By moving the race a day ahead, it ensured there was at least some racing action.
The status for the Clash at the Coliseum has been in question for a while now. The novelty of running a race inside the LA Coliseum has eroded among NASCAR fans and the locals, sparking debate over whether the Clash needs to move elsewhere.
The Clash at the Coliseum already serves as a financial net loss for NASCAR on a dry weekend with paid admission. A weekend like the one that occurred a week ago will inflict severe financial losses for NASCAR.
NASCAR executives have stated the goal for the event is to attract a new demographic of fans in the LA region, regardless of financial losses. And while it may not be their fault, it’s hard to see how NASCAR achieved that goal after such a mess of a weekend.
Nonetheless, they got the race in. Time will tell if they ever return.
Tagline – “The Cooldown Lap,” written by Jon Wenger, takes you through the world of motorsports each week. Wenger discusses the recent events in various racing divisions.