NASCAR President Lets Slip “Willingness to Think Differently” as He Sets Eyes on Famed LA Dodgers Hangout

Published 03/10/2024, 8:04 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

It’s no secret that NASCAR is looking to branch out to reach a wider audience and increase its popularity. There have been talks of going international. Another topic of discussion has been racing at the iconic Dodger Stadium, home to the MLB team Los Angeles Dodgers. President Steve Phelps recently revealed that talks for the same have been ongoing and that there was reason to be positive. In all probability, it will be the Clash that gets moved to that venue if things work out between the parties.

Phelps also revealed that it was not just NASCAR who was interested, but Formula E as well. Anyone who follows global motorsports knows just how big a deal Formula E is becoming and it would be beneficial for both sports in terms of viewership to make a collaborative effort. These plans, if finalized, will come into effect after the 2025 season, so there’s still a lot of time left for any official announcement.

The Clash at the Coliseum was well received when it first started, but the last couple of years have not been great in terms of fan reactions. Moving to a new venue like the Dodger Stadium would be just what NASCAR needs to reinvigorate the interest in the exhibition race from the fans’ standpoint. Phelps did say that the Clash returning to the LA Memorial Coliseum was still on the table but with nothing finalized for next year yet, speculations are running high.


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Speaking of the idea of racing at the Dodger stadium, Steve Phelps, as per NBC, said, “We are committed to the market. It’s important. What it looks like at this point next year, I don’t know. Was there an exploration with the Dodgers, working with Formula E and creating a potential joint opportunity there? Yeah.”

“That should not be a surprise. It’s just due diligence. If something hits, great, and if it doesn’t so be it, but I think we need to continue to push the boundaries, not just from a schedule standpoint. I think we’ve seen that, or fans have seen that and media have seen that. We have a willingness to think differently and it’s working,” he added.


While speculations suggest that the Clash at the Coliseum will perhaps be the event that’s held at the Dodger Stadium, it’s not the only one under consideration. NASCAR has an issue with the Fontana Speedway, which will undergo renovation and will not be ready until 2026 or even 2027.

Will the Dodger Stadium be a temporary replacement for Fontana Speedway?


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With that in mind, they could be left without a race in the lucrative Los Angeles area. NASCAR has plans to rebuild the Fontana Speedway from a 2-mile track to a short track, but work has not yet begun and it’s expected to take around 18 months. The organizers cannot afford to wait that long, so there is a lot of uncertainty about that particular fixture. The Coliseum is an option, but it just doesn’t feel like a venue good enough to host a Cup Series race.

Earlier, NASCAR had sold about 100 acres of area around the Fontana Speedway since they won’t be needing that much space for a short track. Steve Phelps spoke about the venue and their plans to renovate the track but remained cautious in his words before any official confirmation came through.

“If we were not interested in building a racetrack there, ultimately, we should have just sold the other 100 acres. Why hold it? It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “We could have gotten a premium if we’d sold them all in one fell swoop, but we didn’t. Would I like to see us go back there and build that track? I would. We have to look at debt and different other things. It’s a business that we need to run and be smart about it. Given my druthers, that’s what I’d like to do.”


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It will be interesting to see how NASCAR takes its plans into the future, both with the Fontana Speedway and the Dodger Stadium. Would you like to see a race in a baseball stadium anytime soon? Let us know your thoughts.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh


One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad