Roger Diez: NASCAR opens season at L.A. Coliseum

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

Congratulations to Meyer-Shank Racing for its win at the Rolex 24 last weekend, the second in a row for the team. Tom Blomqvist set pole time the previous weekend and brought the Acura ARX-06 home first after a hard-fought race.

The new GTP class had stellar initial outing, demonstrating speed and reliability. After 24 hours of racing, four of the nine GTP entries finished on the lead lap with the Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing a close second followed by the two Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs. Blomqvist shared the win with co-drivers Simon Pagenaud, Colin Braun, and Helio Castroneves who scored his third consecutive Rolex 24 Victory.


The LMP2 class also had four cars on the same lap, with the win decided by inches on a last-lap pass. They were 22 circuits back from the faster GTP machines. The LMP3 winner finished four laps clear of its nearest rival, 58 laps behind the overall winner. Aston Martin Vantage GT3 machines scored a 1-2 finish in the GTD class, both 54 laps in arrears, and the first GTD Pro finisher, the Weathertech Mercedes AMG GT3, split the pair of Aston Martins.

Up next for the series is the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17-18.


This weekend the NASCAR Cup kicks off its 2023 season with the Busch Lite Clash in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It’s the second year for the purpose-built quarter-mile asphalt oval, the shortest track the series will race on.

All 36 charter teams are on the roster for Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions. Sunday’s heat races and last chance qualifying races will set the field of 27 cars for the evening’s main event. Practice sessions will be split into three groups of 12 cars each to keep congestion to a minimum and qualifying will consist of single car runs.

The fastest qualifier will take pole position for Sunday’s first heat race, second fastest will have pole for heat two, third fastest pole for heat three, and so on. The top five finishers in each heat will transfer to the main with the heat one winner taking pole, heat two winner starting alongside, and on down through 20th place. Drivers not transferring to the heats will run two last chance qualifying races with the top three finishers in each transferring to 21st through 26th starting spots in the main.

The 27th and final starter will be the driver with the most 2022 points who has not already made the main. So last year’s Clash winner and Cup champion Joey Logano is guaranteed a starting spot no matter what he does in the preliminary races.


Fox Sports 1 will carry Saturday’s events, with practice airing at 3 p.m. and qualifying at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday’s activities will air on FOX with heat races at 2, 2:15, 2:30, and 2:45. The last chance qualifiers air at 3:10 and 3:35 with the 150 lap Clash starting at 5 p.m., following a concert and driver introductions.


NASCAR recently announced some changes to the rules package for 2023. There will be no caution at the end of stages for road course events and the restart zone has been expanded by 50% for the first five races. The lost wheel rules now provide for lap penalties and reduced suspensions for crew members and NASCAR will penalize moves like Ross Chastain’s wall-riding win at Martinsville on a “case by case” basis.

Also, racing will continue with rain tires and windshield wipers at tracks of mile or less in length in case of rain.

Finally, drivers must no longer be in the top 30 in points to qualify for the playoffs if they are otherwise qualified.


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