After months of anticipation tempered by healthy skepticism as to whether or not such a feat could be achieved, NASCAR can happily call the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum a resounding success: the preseason exhibition race from last Sunday achieved all of its goals both on and off the track, as the purpose-built quarter-mile NASCAR track within the confines of a major sports stadium stages an exciting race in a new cosmopolitan setting for a new largely cosmopolitan audience. By all metrics, attendance in television ratingsthe event was a success that both breathed new life into the once stagnant Clash and advanced many of NASCAR’s growth goals.
With the Los Angeles Coliseum proving that NASCAR can successfully stage a race on a temporary oval in a stadium, a whole new range of possibilities are suddenly opening up to the sport of stock car racing. Theoretically, NASCAR can now hold a race just about anywhere, and the constraints of needing a racetrack or a purpose-built course no longer apply.
It was far from lost for NASCAR officials and competitors. Looking ahead to the Clash, the two discussed the idea that a successful event could allow the sport to transplant the Coliseum’s track and race anywhere in the United States and around the world.
“If it works, shoot, pick up the walls and put them somewhere else and keep going. Go stadium to stadium,” Joey Logano said in a post by Jordan Bianchi on Athleticism. “I think it’s great that if it works it gives us the ability to run in the city centre. It gives us the ability to run in the middle of the cities where the stadiums are placed. And if we can do that I think it takes our sport to a whole new level.”
“You think about some of the new markets for our existing international series and then expand into others with a handful of existing road courses that you could go to,” said the senior vice president of strategy and NASCAR innovation Ben Kennedy in an article by NBC Sports’ Dustin Long. “Not a ton of short tracks. We have a ton of football stadiums. We’ve been talking about it for a number of years about building a temporary indoor track. We haven’t had a chance to do that internationally yet. .”
Admittedly, the infinity of the imagination is tempered somewhat by practical considerations – A quarter-mile oval like the Colosseum track would probably only be suitable for a special event with smaller fields like the Clash or the annual NASCAR All-Star race. But in the days following the Clash at the Coliseum, thinking about what major sports stadiums in the United States and around the world could host a similar event is a fun and worthy exercise.
That said, here are five stadiums where NASCAR could potentially choose to host a race like the Clash at the Colosseum in the future.
Yankee Stadium – The Bronx, New York
For centuries, the New York market has served as the great white whale of NASCAR:. It features the largest city and largest possible media market for any sport in America, but its immediate area lacks a racetrack capable of hosting NASCAR races. NASCAR attempted to have a racetrack built on Staten Island in the 2000s, but that effort was crushed by apprehensions from NIMBYers and local politicians.
But the Clash now presents an easy workaround. Theoretically, NASCAR could race in New York without having to go through the effort of building an actual racetrack. And what better place to do that than Yankee Stadium? Home of the New York Yankees and located right in the heart of the Bronx, Yankee Stadium presents a world-famous venue.
Granted, there would be a few hurdles to the race at Yankee Stadium: no amount of track-building effort could interrupt the Yankees’ season, and the possibility of winter storms would make it less tenable to hold a race in a timeframe similar to that of last Sunday. Not to mention the minefield of local New York politics and bureaucracy. If the latter proves overwhelming for NASCAR, MetLife Stadium just across the Hudson River – home of the New York Giants and Jets – would work just as well.
Tokyo Dome – Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
In terms of international markets, there is already great familiarity and comfort for NASCAR in Japan. The sport held several off-season exhibition races there in the 1990s, which were held at both the Suzuka Circuit and the Twin Ring Motegi. Japan itself also has a rich history of domestic and international racing, best evidenced by the long-running Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.
Theoretically, NASCAR races in Tokyo at the city’s most identifiable arena – home of the Nippon League’s Yomirui Giants – would make an ideal couple. Granted, racing in a domed stadium would require some intuitive thinking and development – especially given interior emissions and noise mitigation – but the presence of Monster Truck racing in the Dome as well as Chili Bowl Nationals for midget sprint cars in the US show that’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Caesars Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Despite its origins and rich heritage in the Southeast, one of the major southern markets that NASCAR has never quite penetrated is New Orleans, Louisiana. A big party town and multiple-time Super Bowl host city, NASCAR has little to no history in New Orleans, and the motor racing industry as a big one has only recently begun to grow. make a place for it with the opening of NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale a decade ago.
Holding the Clash at the Superdome — for a non-Super Bowl year — would quickly solve that problem. And it would create an engaging and exciting environment for fans, drivers and teams that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. Especially so close to Mardi Gras.
Wembley Stadium – London, England
Thanks to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, stock car racing already has a place on the European racing scene. And in the UK, NASCAR races are held at Brands Hatch in West Kingsdown. But while road racing has become a bigger part of NASCAR over the past 10 years, it’s not the most practical to serve as an exhibition for an audience that doesn’t already watch Formula 1 or other popular racing forms across the pond.
Enter Wembley Stadium. The largest stadium in the UK and one of the most iconic venues in all of football, Wembley presents fertile and ideal ground for NASCAR to build a circuit reminiscent of the one built at the LA Coliseum. For what it’s worth, a NASCAR race in Britain could attract the presence of the country’s top racers, including current F1 star Lewis Hamilton as well as living former champions like Sir Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill and Jenson Button. .
Empower Field at Mile High – Denver, Colorado
Although their interest is more muted compared to markets like New York, NASCAR has long had an interest in entering the Denver market, which presents something more than enough for racing. Furniture Row Racing, which won the 2017 Cup Series championship with Martin Truex Jr., was based in Denver. And Colorado itself has a rich motorsport history that includes NASCAR, like what is now the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series raced at Pikes Peak International Raceway – in the shadow of the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb – from 1998 to 2005.
The use of Empower Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos, presents a ripe opportunity for NASCAR to re-enter the market. While football season and mountain winters may not make Mile High suitable for the Clash, it would make a perfect site for the mid-season All-Star Race, should NASCAR choose to go in a similar direction with the All-Star Race like they did with the Clash.