Pala Casino Spa Resort — a Southern California tribal gaming venue — will serve as the title sponsor for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
That race will be held next February and will be the second tilt of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, following the Daytona 500. Pala made the announcement on Sunday — the final day of the 2022 NASCAR season.
As a casino that greatly appreciated competitive racing, Pala is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pala Casino 400 race in Fontana, and this historic final race at the Auto Club Speedway,” said Pala Casino spokesperson Coley McAvoy in a statement.
The race is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. Auto Club Speedway is a two-mile oval and has hosted at least one Cup Series race annually since 1977 with the exception being 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was home to two races for NASCAR’s top series for a few years, but tepid attendance and boring racing prompted a reduction to one race.
The venue is slated to be turned into a short track in a bid to foster more exciting racing and there’s ongoing speculation regarding the track’s place on the 2024 schedule.
Pala Also Sponsoring Driver
Pala will also become the latest gaming entity to sponsor a driver as it will be the primary sponsor of Chris Buescher for the February 2023 race.
Buescher wheels the No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK Racing). He finished 21st in points this year, notching one victory, three top fives and 10 top tens in 34 starts. The “new partnership” with the driver was highlighted by Pala in the statement, but the tribal casino operator didn’t elaborate on whether that relationship will extend to other 2023 races.
The 2022 edition of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway was sponsored by Wise Power. Chevy driver Kyle Larson took the checkered flag while Buescher finished 35th after getting into a wreck.
Pala is home to 2,000 slot and video machines and 78 table games as well as nine restaurants and a pair of lounges.
NASCAR Continues Casino Gaming Embrace
NASCAR has a history, albeit recent, of cozying up to casino gaming sponsors. The 2022 schedule include three Cup Series sponsored by casinos.
The The South Point 400 took place last month in Las Vegas. FireKeepers Casino — a tribal gaming venue — sponsored the August race at Michigan International Speedway, while Penn Entertainment’s Hollywood Casino was the title sponsor of the September race at Kansas Speedway. Officially, that race was renamed the “Hollywood Casino 400 presented by Barstool Sportsbook.”
Those three gaming entities are back for the 2023 season, pushing the number of races sponsored by casinos to at least four with the addition of Pala. That number could grow as several races are currently without title sponsors, according to the NASCAR schedule.
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