By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
On a rainy Saturday morning at the Los Angeles Coliseum some twenty-five young people from the Carson Boys and Girls Club gathered to learn more about the ins and outs of NASCAR’s new adventure that will take place at one of the world’s best known venues.
The BUSH LIGHT CLASH will open NASCARS CUP SERIES at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Feb. 6. It will be the first of its kind exhibition race happening on a newly built quarter mile asphalt track now covering the football field. The Club members had a chance to walk the actual track where in a few weeks some of the greatest drivers like in the world Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, Kurt Bush and last years CUP winner Kyle Larson will be driving on.
“I’m excited already, I can tell this is going to be something different,” said Larson on a recent visit to the iconic building.
Nascar is on a mission of inclusiveness and diversity. Bringing in youth is a way of inclusion and an introduction for those who may not have an opportunity to get a behind the scene look at the inside of racing.
“Our goal is to introduce our members to bigger and better opportunities outside of everyday contact,” said Maria Valdovinos and eight-year mentor at the B&G Club. “Some of our members have never left Carson NASCAR has created some big with this”.
Many were intrigued by the massive work done to prepare for this event.
“You can estimate the speed, but when you hear the number of how fast the cars go it’s amazing,” said Irene a B&G Club member who will return on race day.. This was the 17-year-olds first visit to the Coliseum. “I have only been to local football games this will be my first car race,” she added.
It’s the first time a pre-season clash has been held outside the Daytona Speedway.
This is best structure because it already had a track a quarter mile track built in,” said Marty Flagger of NASCAR.
“We had room to put in a safety wall that has steel and plastics. There were major collaborations with the Coliseum
To make this project work.”
New Valley Construction of Phoenix, Arizona is handling the transition from football field to racing oval. The track will be temporary and used only for that weekend.
There is plywood and plastics that are laid on the football field to protect the surface and then six inches of base dirt are on the top. There is no pit area because there will be several short heat races.
“We had to make sure the gravel below was limited and does not effect the football surface, we want it easier to get back in playing condition.”
The project took a Wear house full of material including 9,200 cubic yards of base material, 3,840 yards of track walls,1400 feet of safer barrier also 130,000 feet of visqueen and plywood. There also were modified changes the famous entry tunnel.
All this wowed TAJ, “I can tell it took a lot of prep and engineering,” said the 17 year-old. “You really have to be accurate.” TAJ has a dream of getting his Doctorate degree someday, both his parent work in the Mental Health field.
One visitor who gained something was Eric. “I didn’t know all this went on for a race. Its mind blowing, I want to see how the drivers maneuver the turns.”
ADD BUSH LIGHT CLASH: Also happening Ice Cube will perform during the race break of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 6. His performance, which will be shown live on FOX, enhances an already star-studded lineup of racing and entertainment set for the sport’s season-opening exhibition inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum…“Ice Cube is more than a rapper, actor and entertainer,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president for strategy and innovation. “He’s an icon who has risen to the top in all of his endeavors. We’re honored to have him perform at this first-of-its-kind event in the heart of Los Angeles.” Moreover, Ice Cube is also a business leader in professional sports as the founder of the Big3 basketball league. He’s also no stranger to NASCAR, attending the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.