NASCAR makes radical changes to schedule for 2020

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NASCAR makes radical changes to schedule for 2020
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Mar 26, 2019, 8:14 PM

There are no new race tracks, but NASCAR vastly reshuffled its 2020 Cup Series schedule, including a new season finale.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil with his Championship trophy
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Shell Pennzoil celebrates his Championship
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry SKITTLES and Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang ITsavvy restart
Overall view of the race action
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Axalta and Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hooters
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express, celebration, burnout
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Fastenal, Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel leads
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros
Regan Smith, Leavine Family Racing, Chevrolet Camaro WRL General Contractors

For the first time since 2001, the Cup series champion will be decided at a track other than Homestead-Miami Speedway as the championship finale moves to ISM Raceway near Phoenix. The season will also end on Nov. 8, about two weeks earlier than usual.

The 2020 Cup season will begin at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16, but after that it includes significant date movement including a three-race West Coast swing that begins immediately after the Daytona opener.

Daytona will be followed by Las Vegas, Auto Club Speedway, ISM Raceway and the Homestead race date will slide in on March 22.

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Other changes during the 26-race regular season include the move of the first race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway from March to May 9 (a night race); Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race will now take place on July 4 weekend and Pocono will host a doubleheader of Cup races on June 27-28, instead of two separate race weekends during the summer months.

Daytona’s second date will move to Aug. 29 as it will host the regular season finale – the final chance for drivers to win their way into the playoffs.

“The fans and the industry as a whole have been vocal about the desire for sweeping changes to the schedule, and the 2020 slate is a reflection of our efforts to execute against that feedback,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.

“These changes are a result of unprecedented consensus-building with our race tracks and broadcast partners; something we look to continue into 2021 and beyond.”

In addition to the new season finale, the playoffs will also see a change with Darlington (S.C.) Raceway now hosting the playoff opener on Sept. 6. Las Vegas, which has been hosting the playoff opener since last season, will drop to the first race of the second round on Sept. 27.

And NASCAR will also add another short track to the playoffs, as the Bristol Night Race moves to Sept. 19, the cutoff race of the first round.

With Phoenix’s move to the season finale, Martinsville’s fall race will become the cutoff race of the semifinal round of the playoffs on Nov. 1.

2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule

DATE

RACE/TRACK

Sunday, Feb. 9

The Clash

Thursday, Feb. 13

Duel at Daytona

Sunday, Feb. 16

Daytona 500

Sunday, Feb. 23

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 1

Auto Club Speedway

Sunday, March 8

ISM Raceway

Sunday, March 15

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 22

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sunday, March 29

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 5

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 19

Richmond Raceway

Sunday, April 26

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, May 3

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 9

Martinsville Speedway

Saturday, May 16

All-Star Race, Charlotte

Sunday, May 24

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, May 31

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, June 7

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, June 14

Sonoma Raceway

Sunday, June 21

Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27

Pocono Raceway

Sunday June 28

Pocono Raceway

Sunday July 5

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday July 11

Kentucky Speedway

Sunday, July 19

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 16

Watkins Glen International

Sunday, Aug. 23

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 29

Daytona International Speedway

--

PLAYOFFS BEGIN

Sunday, Sept. 6

Darlington Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 12

Richmond Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 19

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, Sept. 27

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 4

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, Oct. 11

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 18

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 25

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 1

Martinsville Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 8

ISM Raceway

 

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter
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