Denny Hamlin backs ending NASCAR’s meaningful presence in the huge Southern California market in favor of Chase Elliott’s home state

Denny Hamlin has been one of the most active voices in the Cup garage that demands drastic changes within the sport to make it better.


Denny Hamlin backs ending NASCAR’s meaningful presence in the huge Southern California market in favor of Chase Elliott’s home state

Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott

Joe Gibbs Racing’s No:11 Toyota Camry driver Denny Hamlin has propped a big change with LA Clash at the Colosseum following the North Wilkesboro All-Star race. He wants NASCAR to shift the Busch light clash to a short track closer to Daytona. The sports organization started hosting the unofficial season opener in LA in 2022, and the first two editions of the event have been a moderate success.

A decision regarding the track return in 2024 is yet to be made. After the race, NASCAR pointed out that the decision about the future will consider the racing communities opinion. Now 23Xi co-owner and JGR driver Hamlin in his Action Detrimental podcast, said that the exhibition race is a big financial burden to the teams and added that the back and for travel is too much.

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The Clash in general just doesn’t make financial sense for the race teams. That’s just a fact. It didn’t make sense before. But now that we have to go to the West Coast, it definitely doesn’t make sense and not only on the financial side. (On) the personnel side, it really hurts our race teams. For two weeks, it is a tough travel back and forth and then you gotta go to Daytona. It’s just really a strain on our guys to be honest with you,” Hamlin said.

He proposed having a short race, not in North Wilkesboro, but on a track in Chase Elliott’s home state Georgia or Ross Chastain’s Florida. Hamlin said, “There’s a lot of really great short tracks in the southeast in the Georgia/Florida area that we could run The Clash at and not be such a crazy pull for us,” Hamlin said. “Now, again, is it a market like LA? Probably not. But every year you keep doing it (in LA) is gonna lose its luster a little bit. … I’m in favor of moving things around,”.

In case you missed it: Dale Earnhardt Jr. blame himself for poor All-Star race, gives concerning verdict on short-track’s future

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Why the Clash is significant to NASCAR and Southern California

LA Clash at the Colosseum 2022
LA Clash at the Colosseum 2022

Even if NASCAR wants to change the race from LA, leaving South California is a tough decision for the organization. The Busch Light Clash might be the only major NASCAR Cup event in the region in the 2024 season if NASCAR doesn’t make any drastic changes to the schedule.

The region is one of the biggest markets for NASCAR is exploring and is expected to be one of the prominent fan bases of the sport. The sanctioning body is in this unique situation because of the infrastructure project underway at Auto Club, Fontana.

While NASCAR needs to cater to its fan base, it’s also important to ensure those efforts are fruitful. Having the annual exhibition race at the same place might diminish the fan’s interest soon. So as Hamlin said, they should hold the event in different tracks each time.

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