Despite an Underwhelming Crowd, the Clash at the Coliseum Fulfilled Its Purpose

Published 02/04/2024, 7:16 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

NASCAR dropped a big surprise for the fans, extending the Busch Light Clash scheduled for Sunday to a day up on Saturday. In all fairness, NASCAR didn’t gain much from this move, but rather they did it out of necessity. With the weather gods locking out any potential race day next week, the only sensible option for NASCAR was to get the race done on Saturday.

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With the Daytona 500 coming soon, NASCAR did not like the idea of camping a few more days and waiting for clouds to clear and thus made a hard choice to race a day ahead. Although there was a fraction of the expected crowd in the grandstands, taking into account the whole situation, those fans were lucky to witness the race. Moreover, the drivers did their job in putting out a good race show for those attending the event at the venue. Explaining the fine details of the event and how it grew on them, NASCAR insiders Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi also appreciated the effort by NASCAR in staging a good event.

A diverse and young crowd in the Coliseum

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Gluck and Bianchi featured once again in Dirty Mo Media’s ‘The Teardown’, where they talked extensively about the recently concluded Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. One of the major talking points was how NASCAR was able to get this event up and running on such short notice. Moreover, the duo also dwelled on how the limited number of fans in the stands made up for a good atmosphere on race day, which potentially could not have panned out due to rain.

Jeff Gluck opined, “I think by the end of the race it was about 5000 people. Now, is that great for a huge stadium like this? No, but again it was four and a half hours of notice. It was just supposed to be heat races and for a start, you are like where’s everybody this is bad. I really think it kind of filled in afterwards that this was great. This was a diverse crowd, a young crowd and again that’s what this event was supposed to do.”

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Whereas, Jordan Bianchi was all up for TV viewership despite the low crowd attendance. He said, “It is what it is. I say this all the time and it’s true. I mean TV trumps everything and that this race happened and it was able to televise on cable at least matters more than how many people you bring to the turnstile(…) All things considered, it’s hard to complain.”

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It wasn’t a clean and swift move on NASCAR’s behalf, as they certainly left a good number of fans hanging. Weighing on the fair share of criticism after the event, Gluck suggested that better clarity and preparedness would have eased the process.

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NASCAR could have been more transparent about their contingency plans

All things said and done, this event sure was a learning curve for NASCAR on how to deal with unforeseen circumstances. However, considering weather updates were in place long before the surprise call, NASCAR could have been prepared to put this plan B in motion along with all the stakeholders, including the fans. Sharing the idea of how this plan would work, Jeff Gluck explained further. “The one thing that you could have said would be a fair criticism is if you looked at the forecast and you knew this was a possibility.

Then could they have not decided this yesterday? If they were willing to make this call and said, you know this could be our contingency plan and then they announce it Friday night or early this morning around lunchtime.” Considering how unprecedented the event was, NASCAR themselves were not sure about how to plan out the event until they finally realized that preparing for the race was the only sensible option for them.

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For a marquee NASCAR event that could well be washed out due to rain, it certainly was a welcoming sight to see the drivers race and get the ball rolling for the NASCAR 2024 Cup Series.

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Written by:

Chintan Devgania

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Chintan Mahesh Devgania is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As someone who likes to dive deep into the sport, he often takes up less explored topics to eventually see them make their way into top stories. His report on Toyota’s young recruit, Jade Avedisian, sharing her thoughts on Late Model Racing, was an example of that.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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