Next season, the NASCAR Cup Series will kick off the 2024 calendar with the third consecutive Busch Light Clash inside the famed Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
To add even more pizazz to the spectacle, the NASCAR Mexico Series will host a race on the same day as the heat races and main event for the Clash. While the 2023 season still rolls on in the midst of the playoffs, Cup drivers are already looking forward to sharing the stage with an international series.
“I think that’s a massive platform for those guys, and I think it’s really, really cool to showcase for them, but also for the fans that come out to the track,” 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace said. “So all around, that’s a good weekend for us. Excited to see how it all unfolds.”
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Before going full-time in the Cup Series in 2018, Wallace drove for Rev Racing, a developmental team for drivers at the regional level and in the ARCA Menards Series and Craftsman Truck Series.
Rev has also been a landing spot for a handful of drivers from the Mexico Series, such as Daniel Suárez and, currently, Andrés Pérez de Lara.
Two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch has an alliance with Rev Racing through his Kyle Busch Motorsports team, currently in its final season in the Truck Series before handing the reins over to Spire Motorsports following a sale. Not only is he looking forward to spotlighting the series, but Busch also noted his familiarity with the talent that continues to rise up the ranks from the Mexico Series.
“I think that’s cool. I think we had a little bit of that crossover a couple years ago at Phoenix; they were there,” Busch said. “Other than that, yeah, we haven’t seen much of the Mexico Series. I know Daniel Suárez spent a lot of time there in that series, and there’s a few other drivers that are coming up through the ranks that have been in that series. One of those guys at Rev Racing with Max Siegel’s team in the ARCA Series and also Max Gutierrez is another one that’s there, so yeah, there’s some notable names that I’ve heard come through there, so it’d be nice to get them some more recognition on a bigger stage.”
Before hoisting the 2016 Xfinity title and becoming a Cup Series winner in 2022, Suárez was a 10-time winner in the Mexico Series between 2012-2014, with three of those victories coming at Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, which played host to the Xfinity Series from 2005-2008.
Busch won at Mexico in 2008, while two other current Cup playoff drivers — Martin Truex Jr. (2005) and Denny Hamlin (2006) — also nabbed victories at the road course.
RFK Racing co-owner Brad Keselowski also competed in two of those Xfinity Series races, scoring an eighth-place finish in 2008. He emphasized the importance of change within NASCAR and bringing new ideas to the table.
“It’s different, and I appreciate the efforts that the sport is making to keep things fresh, but not just the schedule,” Keselowski said. “I think there’s always limits to what’s too far and what’s not too far. Sometimes, you don’t find those out until you live them, but that seems like a very reasonable thing to try.”
The Mexico Series event at the Clash will consist of 20 drivers. Pérez de Lara, Rubén García Jr., Salvador de Alba, Germán Quiroga, Max Gutiérrez, Alex De Alba (Challenge Series) and Ruben Rovelo (Championship Provisional 1) are among those who have already secured their spot in the race. Two of the guaranteed spots will be determined by a fan vote and a guest driver, who will be announced at a later date.
Kyle Larson said he will be paying attention to the event and stressed the importance of showing the fans the different brands of NASCAR that aren’t just the national series, which include the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Pinty’s Series (Canada), and Brasil Sprint Race that debuted this year.
“I obviously think it’s really good for the sport to show the diversity of the brand of NASCAR,” Larson said. “I also think it’s good for those drivers to showcase their brands and talents as well because I couldn’t name you a single driver from that series right now.
“We can tell when drivers have talent, and so can team owners. I think there’s a good opportunity for drivers to showcase their abilities, and who knows, it might propel them on down the road a little bit better, so I think it’s great, and it should be a good show.”