Cup Series Rookie Expresses Displeasure With NASCAR’s L.A. Coliseum Visit as He Charts the Clash’s Future

Published 02/04/2024, 10:59 PM EST

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For the past couple of years, NASCAR fandom has constantly contemplated one question, i.e., the organization’s decision to stay away from tradition and open its season on the shortest track. Die-hard Stock Car racing fans remember the Busch Light classic as a speedway race, but since 2022, the sanctioning body has transformed it, opting for a short-track race instead of the “great American race” at the high-flowing speedway that used to enthrall the old-school fanbase.

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Despite the community’s calling to revert to the original Clash, NASCAR, for the third time, hasn’t heeded the pleas and went with the quarter-mile venue in Los Angeles for its pre-season exhibition. However, not everyone is a fan of the organization’s decision. Reacting to veteran journalist Matt Weaver’s latest social media post, the Spire Motorsports driver gave his thoughts on how NASCAR can “serve multiple goals with both exhibition events,” as in the Clash and the mid-season All-Star race.

Spire Motorsports driver gives his expert opinion on NASCAR’s Clash dilemma

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When a promotion known for its traditional values loses sight of its conventional audience to attract younger fans, things are either bound to go wrong or hit a buffer. This is exactly what happened when the organization enthralled the younger demographic, bumped up the entertainment value, and broke away from tradition, bringing the Clash to L.A., taking the high-speed speedway thriller, and making it into a short-track feature based on non-points.

While the event ticks the box in terms of entertainment, with NASCAR roping in larger-than-life pop icons to feature in its season-opener, traditional fans, who make up a still considerable amount of its fandom, are not in tune with its decision to move away from the 2.5-mile track. On the other side, the organization has to make up for the lost opportunities in the changing times to strike a perfect balance between nostalgia and experimentation.

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Matt Weaver explained the scenario in his tweet, mentioning the revival of NWB and the return of the All-Star race, explaining the tough task of the organization to serve different purposes. Reacting to the social media post, Cup Series rookie Carson Hocevar shared his thoughts on the matter. He said, “Just run us at Charlotte, cold would create a lot of grip and no one’s has to go far from home and the field could get a “test”.. we know the short tracks are kinda meh and all-star race is already at one, so just take us there and let us rip in front of hometown crowd/families.” 

 

Essentially, saying that a season-opener on the short track isn’t what fans have in mind. He then further detailed why the current Clash format isn’t a worthy trial for a racing fan who might be looking for a future investment in taking up the sport.

WATCH THIS STORY: Denny Hamlin triumphs in first Clash at the Coliseum, eliciting cheers from fans 

“The better the racing, the better the sport”—an  expert opinion on the matter

Entering his rookie Cup season is former trucker Carson Hocevar. Besides being a fierce driver on the track with an infamous reputation, Hocevar is also a late-model team owner at Carson Hocevar Racing. While the 21-year-old lacks experience, he certainly knows a thing or two about racing and the fans following the sport. Adding to this take, he further commented on Weaver’s post, citing how the short-track action at the opening is a put-off for many fans.

He wrote, “I think the clash should showcase what you’re about to see and why you should buy into investing into the sport as fan… not sure the short track package is that answer.. wish it was and I’d be all for a rotation short track but just my opinion.” Reiterating his stance, he emphasized the importance of racing and how it’ll bring more eyeballs to the sport rather than working on an unpolished product.

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In his later tweet, he shared, The better the racing the better the sport. the better the race the better they can market it, then the newer eyeballs would be attracted. Idk if we need to go to specific location with unproven products that may be bad, idk what value that creates if not gets people a taste that then they don’t wanna return or write it off. Double-edged sword, but just rather see a great race of cars are gonna be on track and Charlotte is one of best with this car.”

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Denny Hamlin Claims Clash at the Coliseum Title After Colossal Mid-Race Bounce Back

What do you think about the driver’s position on this? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by:

Kishore R

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One take at a time

Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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