It is different: The NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum. It is this weekend. Joey Logano won the first ever event last year over Ross Chastain. Christopher Bell came in third. It is a manufactured track crammed inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It may be cool for some fans, but not all. Poll many and results would prove they would prefer the Busch Light Clash be held at an established track where the racing is more competitive. It does give thirsty west coast NASCAR fans another event to witness. Once it is over, all eyes turn to Daytona and the Great American Race at the historic Daytona International Speedway.
Congrats to a veteran driver who still has it: Helio Castroneves! The Brazilian racer, along with teammates Simon Pagenaud, Tom Blomqvist, and Colin Braun won the Rolex 24 at Daytona. They celebrated the victory by climbing the fence (A tradition for Helio). The four drove an Acura in the Grand Touring Prototype Class in front of a large crowd for team Meyer Shank Racing. Other Daytona endurance events over the weekend featured some strong competition. In the IMSA Pilot Challenge, NASCAR drivers Harrison Burton and Zane Smith took home the top prize. Louisville's Ben Rhodes and his teammate, Hailie Deegan came in third. The races are run on the 3.5-mile Daytona road course. After the NASCAR Clash in L-A, the stars of NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and the Craftsman Truck will do battle at Daytona. The fun and excitement at Daytona also includes the ARCA 200.
"We're working to get the cars ready. We feel good about what we're bringing (To Daytona) and expect a good race" said Will Kimmel. Both Will and his father, veteran crew chief and team owner Bill Kimmel are preparing to run two cars in the ARCA 200 on Saturday February 18 (See it on Fox Sports 1). Scott Melton and Gage Rodgers will drive Fords for the Clarksville, Indiana team Will has raced in all levels of NASCAR and ARCA and is now taking a lead role behind the scenes building cars with his father. Will told us he will run several events during the year in both street stock and ARCA. Right now, his focus is on Daytona for their two racers.
We've featured Matt Kenseth over the years on Kentuckiana Motorsports. The 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion is one of the new inductees in the NASCAR Hall of Fame! Kenseth never sought attention. He let his actions to the talking, and that includes 39 wins and 20 poles. Some were the Darlington Southern 500, Charlotte Coca-Cola 600, and two wins in the Daytona 500. Part-time Kirk Shelmerdine (Who helped Dale Earnhardt Sr. get four Cup titles) and the longtime veteran, Hershel McGriff also were inductees. McGriff actually competed in a NASCAR event at the age of 90 in 2018. He won for NASCAR races way back in 1954.
Right now Jimmie Johnson is planning only to run a half-dozen NASCAR Cup Races in 2023. There's been talk he might run more. He's fresh off a long season in the Indy Car Series where he had no wins, but ran some steady races after competing his first ever full Indy Car schedule. The 7-Time NASCAR Cup Champion is now an owner of the NASCAR Cup team headed by the great Richard Petty. If Johnson comes out of Daytona with a strong finish as a driver, his team could enter him in more events. And if Johnson does well or wins early, why not run for another Cup title. If anyone can do it is Jimmie Johnson. The question, does the 47-year old really want to run a long and grueling season? One driver he'll face this year is another 47 year old, Kevin Harvick. The California native will run full-time in 2023 but go part-time next year. Harvick still has it. He showed that last season. But when he's not racing, Harvick has plenty to do. That includes being an excellent broadcaster for the sport. On top of that, Harvick recently purchased a majority interest in the Cars Tour. It is a short-track racing series in the Carolina's and surrounding states. We should add his Cars Tour partners include Jeff Burton, Justin Marks, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. We wouldn't be surprised to see these drivers racing select events for years to come. Fans love small track racing and so do drivers.
We want to thank our sponsors for having fun with us for more than two decades. Lucas Oil has been a huge backer of all we do, whether it be the TV show, on radio, fan events, and more! You can improve the performance of your car or truck by adding Lucas Oil products into the tank or engine. It Works! Other supporters: PNC Bank (Sponsor of Scott Dixon's Indy Car Series Car), Sportsdrome Speedway (Celebrating more than 75 years of Racing!), locally owned Bright Pest Control and Bright Retail in Louisville, (Offering Do-It-Yourself Professional Pest Products with a retail store), and Knox Ford in Radcliff, Kentucky) (It also has a sister dealership, Tri-County Ford in Oldham County, KY). KMS friends also include: VoiceTel Kentucky (Offering telephone service for $25.00 a line, and that includes all taxes and fees), Temco Roofing, Jim Ellis/Attorney At Law, ICA Dumpsters, Kentucky Raceway Ministries, Nimlok Kentucky, Dynamic Healthcare, Lyndon Mower Repair, and Kentucky Medicare Plans (Serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana with Health and Medicare plans). We also thank our media connections in all series, especially NASCAR and with NASCAR Media for helping us bring the sport to the fans!
We also urge you to visit: www.protecttheharvest.com . Learn about America's amazing farmers, ranchers, and those who work in animal agriculture. The Lucas Oil backed initiative has been a longtime supporter of those who work and love the outdoors.
Enjoy the racing!