CONCORD, N.C. – For the first time since the 2022 season finale at Phoenix Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series is back in competition with The Clash at the Coliseum. The historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will serve as the host venue for the second straight season.
2023’s edition of the Clash will feature a similar format to the inaugural event with a few tweaks. Of the 36 cars on the entry list, 27 will line up for Sunday night's main event. At the conclusion of 150 green-flag laps, a champion will be crowned in Southern California.
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Situated in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, the LA Coliseum has a storied past of athletic and cultural events. The venue played host to two Summer Olympics, two Super Bowls, professional baseball events, and some of the most famous musical artists from around the globe. It currently serves as the home venue for the University of Southern California football team and it is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
However, stock car racing’s history at the stadium is just getting started. Last season served as the first time the LA Coliseum had played host to a Cup Series event. The track will be the same length as it was for last year's event - a quarter-mile oval - with an abbreviated form of pit road in the infield.
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Fresh off of his 2021 Cup Series championship, Kyle Larson paced the way for Hendrick Motorsports. The Elk Grove, California, native began the race by earning a second-place finish in his heat race to start in the eighth position for the main event. Despite the close-quarters racing, Larson brought home his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the fifth position. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron finished right behind him in the sixth position.
Chase Elliott was scored in the 11th spot. The driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 suffered a spin on lap 66 resulting in a loss of track position. Despite falling back to 16th, Elliott was able to recover and end the preseason event one spot outside of the top-10.
Alex Bowman narrowly missed qualifying for the main event in his heat race as he crossed the line in 6th, one spot short. Despite occupying a transfer spot for much of his last chance qualifier, Bowman was forced into the outside wall late in the event, bringing a premature end to his race.
As a whole, Hendrick Motorsports has earned seven Clash victories among four different drivers. The latest driver for Hendrick Motorsports to accomplish this feat was Jimmie Johnson in 2019.
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As for the rule book, multiple changes have been made for the upcoming season. NASCAR announced this week that a wet weather package (in the event of such an occurrence) will be available at the Clash. The sanctioning body only intends to use this in mild conditions to speed up the resumption of racing after a rain delay.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
Group practice will begin at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 4, and will be broadcast on FS1. The 36-car field will be split into three groups of 12, each with each group getting three sessions on track. Single-car qualifying to set the starting lineup for the heat races will follow practice and begin at 8:30 p.m. ET with coverage also on FS1.
Larson, Byron and Bowman will be in practice group one, while Elliott will be in practice group three. The qualifying order was determined by last year's owner points position. Bowman will head out 22nd, Elliott will go 30th, Byron will make his qualifying run 31st and Larson will be the 34th driver to take time.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The 150-lap Cup Series main event is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 5, and will be broadcast on FOX. There will be a mid-race break at Lap 75. The four heat races will get underway at 5 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 5, with two last chance qualifiers to follow.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
Yes. Download the FOX Sports Live app for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick.
WHAT CHANNEL IS FS1 AND FS2?
It varies by location, but this link allows viewers to find the channels by entering their zip code and selecting their television provider.
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO THE CLASH Data provided by Racing Insights
2: Of Bowman's seven Cup Series victories, two of those triumphs have come on tracks under a mile in length. The Tucson, Arizona, native will look to utilize his short-track skills to earn his first career victory in the Clash.
3: Victories in non-points paying events for Elliott. These include one NASCAR All-Star Race win in 2020 as well as two Daytona Duel victories in 2017 and 2018.
7: Hendrick Motorsports’ seven wins at the preseason kickoff event are the third-most among teams in Cup Series history.
89: Byron spent 89 of the 150 circuits inside the top-10 in the inaugural event. This was the fifth-most of any driver in the field.
150: Laps spent by Larson inside the top-10 during 2022’s Clash before earning a fifth-place finish. Byron was the only other driver from Hendrick Motorsports to run every lap inside the top-10 spots.