The 2024 Busch Light Clash for the NASCAR Cup Series took place on February 3rd. Where could the series race their exhibition in 2025?
NASCAR has held the non-points-paying race at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for three consecutive years. Joey Logano took the inaugural race in 2022 with Martin Truex Jr. winning in 2023. Denny Hamlin won Saturday night’s rescheduled Busch Light Clash.
Los Angeles has been an important market for NASCAR. With Auto Club Speedway being torn down, Sonoma Raceway is now the closest NASCAR circuit, which is over a six-hour drive from the populous city. Losing the makeshift stadium track could be a detriment, but there are many venues the sanctioning body could explore as an alternative. In an article by Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic, industry sources report a possible switch for the Busch Light Clash to Mexico City or Guadalajara “as soon as next year.”
The contract with NASCAR at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was through 2024. Additionally, it is unknown how long the Busch Light Clash will retain its sponsored title. However, it is safe to assume the namesake will continue as long as Anheuser-Busch retains its NASCAR partnership.
Ben Kennedy and company push the envelope. The NASCAR Mexico Series ran its season opener after Saturday’s Busch Light Clash on Fox Sports 2. Netflix’s NASCAR: Full Speed docuseries was released on Tuesday, January 30th. A new television deal will kick off for NASCAR in 2025. Additionally, the Cup Series will continue with its Chicago Street Course race and plans to explore an international points-paying race.
With speculation underway for what lies ahead, here are ten racetracks where the NASCAR Cup Series could hold the 2025 Busch Light Clash.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California
Torrential rain inbound to Los Angeles shifted Sunday’s exhibition race to Saturday night. The last-minute change received a mixed response, but it was required for the event to occur at a reasonable time.
Much of the same racing product was showcased: bumping, banging, spinning, and tempers. Is it the best display of what our drivers have to offer? Not really. However, the entertainment value is something to behold. Adding the NASCAR Mexico Series to the weekend of activities was an excellent move. At-track experiences are some of the best you can get. NASCAR has done an incredible job appealing to new and old fans with their makeshift venue at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. One does not want oversaturation, but one should continue something that is working.
Rotating Stadiums – Various Cities
NASCAR has seen stadium racing before. Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium and Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium no longer exist, but both venues held NASCAR races in the 1950’s. NASCAR also held events at Soldier Field in Chicago and Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, and both operate for sports today.
A rotation of stadium events could be something to give the preseason event a unique identity. The style of racing would not be varied, but it would open the opportunity to hit varied demographics and change the overall scene. The thought of stock cars racing around Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge or DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin or MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford sound like a spectacle worth watching. Size would determine what is and what is not plausible.
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida
Speedweeks at Daytona used to be something special. The Saturday night weekend before the Daytona 500 saw NASCAR run their exhibition. Campers and fans would flock in days early to enjoy the late-night showing and all the festivities leading up to the Great American Race. However, the week has become a weekend with its Clash removal and on-track consolidation.
The Busch Light Clash could return to the venue. Television rights may not allow it, but run the event on a Monday or Tuesday night instead of Saturday. Bring back the one-hour “drawing” where all partaking drivers randomly pick their starting positions. NASCAR, similar to its 2021 running, could circuit the road course to prevent torn-up racecars. It would also avoid doubling down superspeedway content.
Rockingham Speedway – Rockingham, North Carolina
Rumors about Rockingham Speedway have been rumbling for some time now. The track has taken the time to rebuild and recover after years of switched ownership and financial struggles. Large grants from Commissioners and support from NASCAR have aided the once-acclaimed venue into the opportunity of reclaiming a date.
Rockingham, North Carolina is roughly an hour and-a-half away from Charlotte headquarters. Although it would not be as beneficial for reaching new audiences, the trek would be feasible for teams, drivers, and fans. The Craftsman Truck Series does not have to race its season opener at Daytona, so make their first points-paying race the night before the “Busch Light Clash at The Rock.” Why not also have the CARS Tour race to precede the big show?
Kevin Harvick’s Kern Raceway – Bakersfield, California
Last year, Kern Raceway entered new ownership. The track was renamed with Kevin Harvick leading the title, a Bakersfield native who has gone down as one of the greatest racers in NASCAR history. In addition, Harvick has joined FOX as a commentator for the 2024 season. As part of the new TV deal, FOX will continue to host the Busch Light Clash exhibition.
Why not stay out West, but take the Cup Series to an actual short track? Kern Raceway is closer than Laguna Seca to Los Angeles. Instead of building and tearing down a temporary track, put the saved costs towards infrastructure and entertainment. The trickiest part of a venue like Kern Raceway would be accommodating a large amount of traffic, but it is worth giving it a go. See about bringing in the ARCA Menards Series West and a returning NASCAR Mexico Series race.
Laguna Seca Raceway – Salinas, California
Laguna Seca is deemed one of the world’s most iconic racing venues. The two-plus mile road course is situated two hours south of San Francisco and under five hours from Los Angeles. Its location along the Pacific coastline makes the track and area a highly-designated stop in the United States.
Keeping NASCAR’s season opener on the West Coast is an important step for retaining its market. It would also be a new seed for Laguna Seca as the track would add a Series to its roster of IMSA, IndyCar, and Trans-Am. Road courses are not the typical appeal when it comes to current fans, but the Next-Gen car could make for an exciting showing.
South Boston Speedway – South Boston, Virginia
An underrated gem for racing fans lies deep in the southside region of Virginia. South Boston Speedway has held races for all three of NASCAR’s top three Series. Many greats of motorsports have driven the sub-half-mile oval. The track continues to produce some of the best short-track racing one can find.
Similar to Kern Raceway, this suggestion may not be able to accommodate a Cup Series race. Nonetheless, the option has made this list as a consideration. Take the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Craftsman Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series, and Mexico Series Champions and add them to the field. South Boston is a short drive from Charlotte as well as the capital cities of Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia. Shed some light on a track that helped grow the sport to what it is today.
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway – Nashville, Tennessee
Unlike the aforementioned successes of South Boston Speedway, the short track of Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway has been in jeopardy of one day being torn down. The longing battle with track and racing personnel versus city officials continues, but racing is still in the green for now.
Speedway Motorsports (SMI) owns nearby tracks including Bristol Motor Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway. NASCAR and SMI’s push for the track’s revitalization means there is a goal of some sort to make an event happen. Why not start the 2025 calendar year in the Music City? I am perfectly okay with having two races in Nashville on the schedule is entirely fine. Festivities to celebrate the start of the Cup Series season could take place downtown.
Eldora Speedway – New Weston, Ohio
The Cup Series saw three races contested on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway from 2021 to 2023. This style of racing has been a large part of NASCAR and racing history, although paving over the historic half-mile was frowned upon by many. The concept, however, is not as bad as some make it out to be.
A Busch Light Clash on a dirt track would be the epitome of NASCAR entertainment. Eldora Speedway, a historic dirt track venue since the 1950s, hosts highly-touted events for USAC, World of Outlaws, and other organizations. A special joint event titled “Prelude to the Dream” was held from 2005 to 2012, and the Craftsman Truck Series raced at Eldora Speedway from 2013 to 2019. If Track Owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR can reach an agreement, this would be an awesome way to kick off the season.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – Mexico City, Mexico
Australia and Japan held NASCAR Cup Series exhibition races in the 1980s and 1990s. Scheduled races for the NASCAR Xfinity Series have been held in both Mexico City and Canada. An international move for the Cup Series will likely be returning to the Series soon, and as mentioned earlier, it could be as soon as next year.
Many want the international race to be points-paying. This will happen in the next few years, but I think it will come in the form of an exhibition first. Many track options are on the table, but it sounds like Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will be the destination. The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced the circuit from 2005 to 2008. Traveling to the heavily populated city will have its safety concerns, but the race would be of great importance for the Series. Once again, have the Mexico Series race on the same day.
Where would you like to see the Busch Light Clash run in 2025? Tweet us your response @LWOSMotorsport or leave a comment below. Stay tuned here at LWOS Motorsports for NASCAR news, results, updates, and more.