The NASCAR tracks in California continue to offer a profound contribution to the development of NASCAR as an epic sporting enterprise. 17 tracks in California have hosted NASCAR events, but only the first three on our list are currently in use by NASCAR. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum makes its debut as a NASCAR host in 2022, bringing the total number of California NASCAR race tracks to 18 (1).
NASCAR recently released the new 2022 schedule, and seasonals like ourselves are very excited by some of the new and unexpected changes affecting California race tracks. According to Forbes magazine, NASCAR is making a “bold move” by switching out the traditional opening exhibition race, known as The Clash, from Daytona Beach to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (2). The Clash opens the racing season at this California NASCAR track in February 2022.
Ben Kennedy, a NASCAR Senior Vice President, describes the Los Angeles, California, fan base as the largest in the nation. Fans are also excited about the newly released 2022 racing schedules as the legendary California NASCAR track, the Auto Club Speedway- also in Los Angeles- returns to the Cup schedule for 2022 after a hiatus in 2021 caused by health restrictions (3).
Check out our complete list of California NASCAR tracks for some historic fan facts and more of the latest NASCAR news (4) (5).
All three active NASCAR tracks in California offer unique audience experiences. NASCAR is courting brand new fans, and based on California’s fan base history, this is the state to charm and bedazzle crowds and gain audience numbers. With a new track, new cars and new debut procedures, NASCAR is showing the love for California fans. Attendance is almost guaranteed to increase for the 2022 season (6).
The Auto Club Speedway is a 2-mile super-speedway owned by NASCAR. Recent NASCAR news reveals plans to transform the Auto Club Speedway into a short track soon.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a short track, one quarter of a mile long. As we mentioned, it will be the new host of the NASCAR Cup series. This will be the very first time that the Coliseum has hosted a NASCAR event, and The Clash will also feature the much-anticipated debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car. The LA Memorial Coliseum is a historic venue known for hosting the first Super Bowl, as well as the Olympics.
Speedway Motorsports. Sonoma Raceway offers a complete entertainment experience with camping and many vendors. NASCAR returns to the Sonoma track in June 2022. Jeff Gordon had five famous wins at Sonoma Raceway. As a road course, Sonoma offers fans the opportunity to see right turns and has a winding pathway as opposed to the more traditional oval circuit.
There are 15 other tracks in California that have hosted NASCAR races since their inception and debut in 1947. In its earliest years, NASCAR held racing events at small venues, including local fairgrounds, as there were no tracks yet built for testing car speed and driver ability. There was no way to predict at the time how popular racing would become as a sport worldwide, and no way to predict how successful a sports enterprise NASCAR would become (7) (8). The list below lists every track in California that has ever hosted a NASCAR event. Some are still actively hosting other events, including other sports. Others have been transformed into shopping malls or successful California business districts. Others have returned to dust and meadow. A day trip to visit any or all of them would offer a sports experience rich in racing history.
- Riverside International Raceway- Edgemont
- Mesa Marin Raceway- Bakersfield
- Saugus Speedway- Santa Clarita
- Santa Clara County Fairgrounds- San Jose
- Merced Fairgrounds- Merced
- Capital Speedway- Sacramento
- Willow Springs Speedway- Lancaster
- Redwood Acres Raceway- Eureka
- Oakland Coliseum (RingCentral Coliseum)- Oakland
- Marchbanks Speedway (Hanford Motor Speedway)- San Joaquin Valley
- Ascot Park (Los Angeles Speedway)- Los Angeles
- Bay Meadows Racetrack- San Mateo
- Carrell Speedway-
- California State Fairgrounds-
- Ontario Motor Speedway-
California NASCAR tracks are revving up for an exciting season of racing in 2022. Whether you are a seasonal or a fan who is brand new to the sport, there are new venues, new vehicles and fresh approaches to old favorites to explore with NASCAR this year.
Be sure to check the newly released race schedule and see what races are close to you. The three venues on the current NASCAR schedule each offer a different experience. Sonoma offers right turns and a camping experience that can seem like a carnival. The Auto Club Speedway offers the adrenaline rush of the super-speedway. Keep in mind that this track will transform soon to offer a short-track experience.
If you are lucky enough to be within traveling distance of LA in February, The Clash exhibition is a historic event that no race fan will want to miss. This season promises to showcase California race tracks making NASCAR history.
- Cherwa, John. “NASCAR Announces 2022 Schedule, With Early Race in Fontana.” Los Angeles Times. September 15, 2021.https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2021-09-15/nascar-announces-2022-schedule-with-week-2-race-in-fontana
- Engle, Greg. “NASCAR Making Bold Move With Exhibition Race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.” Forbes. September 15, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregengle/2021/09/15/nascar-making-bold-move-with-exhibition-race-at-los-angeles-memorial-coliseum/?sh=7ad9663a4e24
- Engle, Greg. “NASCAR Making Bold Move.”
- Wilhelm, Chase. “The 17 Tracks NASCAR Has Visited in California Through the Years.” March 23, 2017. Fox Sports. https://www.foxsports.com/nascar/gallery/the-17-tracks-nascar-has-visited-in-california-through-the-years-032317
- “List of NASCAR Tracks.” https://www.nascar.com/tracks/
- Triplett, Mike. ” New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara Now Advising NASCAR on Growing Fan Base.” ESPN. June 20, 2021. https://www.espn.com/racing/story/_/id/32214061/nascar-adds-gateway-returns-homestead-playoffs-2022
- Martin, Ken. “Nascar Has History Racing at Stadium Venues.” NASCAR. September 14, 2021. https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2021/09/14/nascar-has-history-at-stadium-venues-as-it-readies-for-l-a-coliseum-exhibition-opener/
- Wihelm, Chase. “The 17 Tracks NASCAR Has Visited in California.”
- Featured image by Sonoma Raceway