Saturday, August 13, 2022

NASCAR nixing Auto Club date for February, replacing it with Daytona road course


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 16: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235 at Daytona International Speedway on August 16, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR has confirmed that the sport will not visit the Auto Club Speedway in February as originally planned, marking the first major change to the 2021 schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The sanctioning body will replace the Auto Club race in February with the Daytona Road Course, giving the Cup Series specifically three races at the World Center of Racing in February.

In addition, the Camping World Truck Series will no longer race at Homestead in February, instead moving to the Daytona road course as well.

With the Truck Series moving to the road course, that means that all three national series will race on the layout for the weekend of Feb. 19 – 21.

Following the road course weekend, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Cup Series will both conclude the extended stay in Florida when both series visit Homestead Miami Speedway on Feb. 27 and 28.

Furthermore, all three series will then head west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as previously planned during the weekend of March 5 – 7.

The 63rd annual Daytona 500, which will have a limited capacity this upcoming season, remains unchanged.

With the COVID-19 pandemic approaching its first anniversary since the World Health Organization classified the illness as a pandemic, it’s entirely possible that the schedule could see more changes in the coming weeks and months.

NASCAR has also confirmed that the proposed redevelopment of the Auto Club Speedway into a short track will also be placed on hold. The original plan had Auto Club running the traditional layout in 2021, before moving to a short track configuration in 2022.

“This will allow fans and the industry the opportunity to properly close the history books on the storied 2-mile, D-shaped oval for what could be the final race on its original surface in 2022,” according to a release from Auto Club Speedway.

FOX Sports will continue to carry all NASCAR events during February as per tradition. According to NASCAR, a complete schedule of start times and networks for the 2021 stint of FOX Broadcasting will be confirmed at a later date.

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