Why There’s Going to Be ‘A Lot of Carnage’ When NASCAR Invades the Los Angeles Coliseum

The purpose-built asphalt track inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is unlike any other track NASCAR Cup cars will race on.

A quarter-mile in length and relatively flat, it’s very narrow with an “infield” that’s barely there.

BY MIKE HEMBREE/Featured photo by MEG OLIPHANT of GETTY IMAGES

In advance of the Feb. 6 Busch Light Clash, the active track that has drawn the most comparisons to the coliseum racing surface is ancient Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Goodyear ran Clash tire tests at Bowman Gray last October with retired drivers Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer turning laps.

Bowman Gray, which doubles as a football stadium, was built in 1937 and began hosting NASCAR races in 1949. Today, it’s one of the nation’s most successful weekly short tracks, running a summer schedule that features NASCAR Modifieds. The track has become famous as the “Madhouse,” its tight racing surface often producing crashes and frayed tempers.

If Bowman Gray is very similar to the coliseum track, what might drivers expect when they put hulking Cup cars on its quarter-mile compact racing surface?

“I’m afraid there’s going to be a lot of carnage,” said Burt Myers, who has raced at Bowman Gray since 1994 and owns 10 track championships. “At the same time, it’s going to be a spectacle. It will be one for the ages.”

Bowman Gray’s Modified cars are “beefed up” to withstand the hard contact that is typical at that track. The larger Cup cars likely won’t fare as well with a lot of beating and banging.

“At Bowman Gray, when you stack 25 Modifieds out there with inversions of the field and all that, there is going to be contact and bump and runs,” Myers said. “I expect no less in Los Angeles.”

If there is a fierce battle for the lead with two or three laps to go, according to Meyers, it’s almost certain that one driver will move another out of the way to win the race. “I’d put my money on finishing second or third in that case,” he said.

Tim Brown has raced at Bowman Gray for 31 years and owns 11 Modified championships, including last year’s.

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