2022 Clash format includes heats, last chance qualifiers
February’s Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be a two-day event with practice, heat races and last chance qualifiers as part of the competition format, NASCAR announced Tuesday.
Of the 40 entrants, 23 will make the field for the Clash on Sunday night, Feb. 6.
“There has already been an enormous amount of buzz around next year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, and we feel that this race format and the accompanying programming throughout the entire weekend will only build on that already established momentum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation in a release.
“The unprecedented nature of this event, coupled with the fact that our sport will be in the spotlight in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, makes this a can’t miss event when we get our 2022 season underway next February.”
Here’s a look at how the format works:
SATURDAY, FEB. 5 - Practice/single-car qualifying
- Following practice, single-lap qualifying will take place on the purpose-built quarter-mile oval inside the Coliseum.
- Qualifying runs will determine the lineups for Sunday’s heat races. The four fastest cars from Saturday’s qualifying will be on the pole for each heat race (fastest speed in Heat No. 1, second-fastest speed in Heat No. 2, etc.). The rest of the field will be filled in the same way.
SUNDAY, FEB. 6 - Heat races/LCQ/Clash
Heats (5 p.m. ET, Fox)
- Four 25-lap heat races will be run with up to 10 cars in each race. The top four finishers from each heat (16 in all) automatically advance to the Clash.
- The winner of Heat No. 1 starts on pole and the winner of Heat No. 2 lines up on the front row. The winners of Heats No. 3 and 4 will make up the second row. The remaining order of the 16 cars will be filled the same way.
Last Chance Qualifiers (5 p.m. ET, Fox)
- The 24 cars that did not advance to the Clash via the heat races will move on to compete in two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifying races.
- Starting order for each LCQ is based on the finishing order from the heat races. The remaining cars from Heats No. 1 and 3 will race in LCQ No. 1, and the remaining cars from Heats No. 2 and 4 will race in LCQ No. 2.
- The top three finishers in each LCQ will advance to the Clash and make up positions 17-22.
- The 23rd and final position goes to the highest-finishing driver in the 2021 Cup Series points standings that failed to advance to the Clash through the heat races or their LCQ race. With that, Cup champion Kyle Larson is effectively the lone driver locked into the Clash field.
Clash at the Coliseum (8 p.m. ET, FS1)
- The remaining 23 drivers kick off the 2022 Cup season in earnest with a 150-lap exhibition race.