LOS ANGELES (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — NASCAR has the shortest off-season in all of sports. The green flag will wave for the NASCAR Cup Series Clash at the LA Coliseum on February 5 (8 p.m. on FOX Charlotte).
Last year’s inaugural race drew about 50,000 fans to the venue that has hosted two summer Olympic games.
For much of the year, the grounds inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are known as United Airlines Field. It’s also the home field for the University of Southern California football team.
The NASCAR season starts after the college football season is over. It allowed plenty of time to build a temporary quarter-mile NASCAR track where the Trojans are typically hauling in touchdowns.
There was uncertainty about the racing surrounding the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum, but it turned out to be such a hit that NASCAR bosses are bringing it back.
This time the checkered flag will come down under the lights, but before the lights turn on and the green flag waves a temporary quarter-mile asphalt racetrack has to be built.
Crews broke ground on the project December 15 and they’re working around the clock to get it ready. Work involves laying down 130,000 square feet of plywood and other coverings to protect the field. Then workers add 9,200 cubic yards of fill material.
“Obviously every night we haul in thousands of pounds of dirt,” said one construction worker.
Paving is slated to go happen this week, weather permitting. Crews have a goal for the track to be ready to race by January 20. The hope is the project is easier to get done, this second time around. Time-lapse video from last year shows how quickly the quarter-mile course came together.
The race itself is unique, with a heat race format to determine who races in the main event. As a precursor to the Daytona 500, this race doesn’t award points. It’s all about the money, trophy and bragging rights.
“I am from Northern California, so this is a special event for me. Just happy to be here and happy to be in it and looking forward to see how it grows,” said Kyle Larson.
Practice for the race is scheduled for February 4 (TV coverage has yet to be announced).
Coverage of the heat races will air on FOX Charlotte on February 5, beginning at 5 p.m. Coverage of the main event is slated for 8 p.m.