What NASCAR Lost by Moving the Clash at the Coliseum Up to Avoid Forfeiting the Event

Published 02/04/2024, 9:49 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

When NASCAR decided to move up the Bush Light Clash from Sunday to Saturday evening, drivers and teams seemed to be in favor of the decision, citing that the race could possibly not have taken place if there was a consistent downpour. While Denny Hamlin manifested his win by commending NASCAR for the change, once we take a look at how the sudden shake-up impacted the fans, the Bush Light Clash at the Coliseum was not all butterflies and rainbows.

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From losing out on major revenue to upsetting the fans of Machine Gun Kelly, NASCAR’s decision to move the main race worked out in the end when we got one of the best starts to a season in recent memory. However, those who had purchased tickets for the exhibition race for Sunday were certainly not smiling like the teams and drivers.

“They’re all going to be losers” – NASCAR insider calls out injustice served to fans by NASCAR’s Clash decision

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Veteran NASCAR insiders Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi sat down for an episode of Dirty Mo Media’s “The Teardown,” covering the Bush Light Clash at the Coliseum. Immediately, the whole situation reminded Gluck of the popular movie, ‘Sophie’s Choice’. While here it wasn’t something as sinister as choosing which child to save, Gluck felt there was no win-win solution in sight owing to the weather gods.

He stated, “A ‘Sophie’s choice’ term is, there’s no good solution, and that was the case here, right, because essentially, if you have this race tonight, there are people that had bought tickets for the Clash that were going to come in on Sunday. We’ve got people flying across the country that had hotels, airline reservations, all this stuff. And they’re all going to be losers, right? Because if they were not able to make it out tonight for this free event, they’re going to eat the tickets.”

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Fans spent a large chunk of money to enjoy the events that kicks it all off, but sadly, it proved to be a costly investment. Not only does the sport now have to go through the logistical pain of figuring out refunds, but the fans were also left disappointed by the lack of off-track entertainment due to the last-minute changes.

Gluck continued to list out the big issue concerning pop fans, “I mean there was Machine Gun Kelly as we know that were coming just for this race, maybe not a ton, but some that were there to see him do his four-song set, but that never happened.” With the weather supposedly worsening to the point where the stadium looked fairly empty during the pre-race period, MGK being a no-show could be attributed to the poor turnout.

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But can NASCAR be blamed after all that the weather threw at them? Fans were able to witness one of the best exhibition races with Denny Hamlin starting off the season with a possible new Netflix plotline. But maybe we can cut the officials some slack for the unfortunate inconvenience caused to visitors. After all, the sport still lost out on millions in revenue in the process.

NASCAR’s decision to move the Clash up had major monetary repercussions

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While many would think that NASCAR’s biggest loss was the lack of physical turnout at the event, the sport could hardly have done anything more to convince the community to sit out stormy weather with little hope of racing. Instead, the sport sacrificed the prime-time Sunday spot to still deliver a thrilling race. Unfortunately, this shift from prime time to Saturday at the last minute meant NASCAR also lost out on many home viewers who had cleared their schedules on Sunday for the Clash at the Coliseum.

Add to this the fact that all of Sunday’s tickets had to be refunded and replaced with a free alternative for Saturday. The losses NASCAR could have incurred would be in millions, according to Gluck. He stated, “But, also part of that is NASCAR’s part, they are losing several million dollars in ticket sales alone. That is what is going to cause NASCAR to refund people’s tickets. They are losing a huge prime time TV window on big Fox that was gonna be on Sunday night, which was supposed to be naturally leading into the Daytona 500 as well, build that hype.”

Another major issue that Gluck highlighted was the potential loss of major marketing returns by promoting the Great American Race during the exhibition race since it hadn’t taken place at prime time. And making things worse, the race was announced at the very last minute, with only cable as an option. Gluck stated, “But instead they do last minute, no promotion, spur of the moment thing on cable TV with four and a half hours notice in FS1. Again, the alternative is that this race would not have happened at all, period. This was by far, the logical choice.”

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So even though the Busch Light Clash may have cost NASCAR more than they had bargained for, despite support from the drivers and teams, do you think the brilliant battle we got between Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and others was worth the sacrifice?

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Written by:

Kabir Bajaj Ahmed

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Kabir Bajaj Ahmed is an F1 & NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Known for his storytelling and extensive research skills, he has covered multiple stories on Dale Earnhard Jr and his legendary dad, allowing readers to relive the thunderous days of 'The Intimidator'. Being a racer himself, Kabir can resonate with the motorsport world better than most.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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