NASCAR introduces podium, medals for Busch Light Clash

NASCAR, and stock car racing as a whole, is a bit different from other forms of racing as it eschews podiums in favour of a Victory Lane for the winner. But the sanctioning body is willing to try something new as the 2023 Busch Light Clash looms. Scheduled for 5 February, it will once again take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will do so again in 2028. Owing to the venue’s history as an Olympic site, NASCAR will introduce a podium ceremony along with gold, silver, and bronze medals for the top three finishers in the Clash’s final race.

The medals are produced by Jostens, who produces rings for the Super Bowl champions and related memorabilia for high schools. One face will feature the Busch Light Clash logo while the opposite has a graphic celebrating the Coliseum’s centennial anniversary and NASCAR’s own seventy-fifth celebration. The winner’s medal weighs 4.7 ounces (133.243 grams) and is covered in 24-karat gold.

The podium ceremony will take place underneath the Coliseum’s Olympic cauldron.

“These will be tremendous prizes for our drivers who are competing inside a venue that’s hosted two Olympic Games and is preparing for a third,” said NASCAR senior vice president for racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy. “Not only do the medals honor the rich tradition of this stadium, but they also provide a special element unique to NASCAR’s 75th anniversary.”

It may seem sacrilegious for NASCAR to have podiums and medals, even for an exhibition, but the Clash will not be the first time such as been awarded. In 1995, the top three at the two Atlanta Motor Speedway races received medals to help build up hype for Atlanta following the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Reigning champion Joey Logano won the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum in 2022. The 2023 edition will retain the previous year’s format, though with a larger field of twenty-seven from twenty-three.