Sunday, October 1, 2023

Deep Opinionated Thoughts on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

NASCAR unveiled their 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule on Tuesday (Click here to read all about the changes and see the full schedule), after many had complained about a stagnant schedule for several years. As the sanctioning body has contracts in place with all of the current tracks on the schedule until he conclusion of next season, they were handcuffed on changing any tracks, but they did shuffle up the order of things which may add some extra spice to the season next year.

What I like:

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  • The Daytona 500 still kicks the season off. It’s become a tradition in the sport since it took over as the first race of the season in 1982.
  • Darlington and the Bristol night race being added into the Playoffs is incredible! This now makes it where we have greater balance in the 10-race Playoff (three 1.5-mile tracks, three short tracks, three speedways under 1.5-mile and one road course). Not only that but these are two iconic races that drivers feel they must win, so to have them in the Playoffs just ups the ante.
  • Martinsville under the lights! During the race at the paper clip on Mother’s Day Weekend things will be under the lights. It should be a must watch event.
  • A two-week break in the summer to accommodate the Summer Olympics. First, kudos to NASCAR as this will get rid of weird conflicts that NBC Sports would have trying to appease both NASCAR and Olympics coverage. Secondly, we all will have a chance to hang out

What I don’t like:

  • The Brickyard 400 on July 4th weekend? It will be uncomfortably warm for the fans and the drivers more than likely. So, from that aspect I don’t like it.
  • Daytona’s iconic fourth of July race being moved to the final race of the Regular Season will make for an interesting final chance for drivers to race for a title. However, if you’re going to break a tradition, swing for the fences. I would have enjoyed the moving of this race if it was to make it the championship race.
  • Pocono’s double-header, as I’m not sure what it will mean for teams if they have a crash in a practice session early in the weekend. Do they bring four cars to this just in case? If so, do they need two hauler trucks now?
  • ISM Raceway replacing Homestead as the final race of the season. Homestead has been a great track for the Championship race each season, and this basically gives Kevin Harvick the ultimate advantage for next season’s championship with his track record at ISM Raceway.

Overall, I applaud NASCAR for the changes. It will be a nice change of pace in a schedule that had grown tiresome over the years. Hopefully with the expiration of the track contracts at the end of 2020 we will see some new, more competitive tracks on the schedule, but I really am excited to see some change.

I am also encouraged that perhaps the move of the final race for 2020 will make it a rotating race for the Championship every year. It would be incredible to see cities bid and tracks compete by making upgrades to their facilities in an effort to land the championship race.

Regardless of what 2021 holds, 2020 will be quite a bit different than 2019 from a schedule standpoint.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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