Auto Club Speedway president Dave Allen told reporters on Saturday that the track will not host any NASCAR races in 2024 as it undergoes a major reconfiguration from its current two-mile oval layout to a new, half-mile short track layout. The reconfiguration will begin after the NASCAR Cup Series' annual visit to the Fontana, Calif. speedway on Feb. 26.
Speaking to the media at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum head of the Busch Clash, Allen stated that a 2024 race at Auto Club Speedway would not happen "even with the most aggressive timelines" for reconstruction. The track's timeline for completing its re-configuration, as well as the specific design of the re-configured speedway, has yet to be determined.
"There's been a lot of iterations of what we're designing both on-track and off-track with the new facility," Allen said. "It'll be really exciting to get to a point where we can share that, because what we're working on is really exciting. The fact that we race at a half-mile at Martinsville and a half-mile at Bristol, it'll be cool to have that half-mile especially out here on the West Coast with so much racing history here."
Auto Club Speedway, originally constructed in the mid-1990s as part of NASCAR's track-building boom, was announced as re-configuring to a short track in 2020 as the track's current asphalt neared 25 years of age and amid an industry-wide push for more short track racing. Initial plans for the re-profiled track called for long straightaways made from the existing front stretch and pit road with high-banked corners.
With Auto Club Speedway now not hosting any races next year, NASCAR is faced with the prospect of potentially not having a points-paying race in the Southern California market next year. According to the Los Angeles Times, one potential solution being discussed by NASCAR officials is to turn the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum into a points race to be moved to Auto Club's current date on the calendar after the season-opening Daytona 500.
It should be noted that other oval tracks in the area include Irwindale Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park, both of which are among the top tracks for stock cars on the West Coast and have been featured on the ARCA Menards Series West schedule. However, it is unclear whether either track is viewed as a viable location for NASCAR's top series.