Ok, I’ll admit it. After much thought, the NASCAR schedule is unbelievably stale.
I said it.
Do we need a change? Yes
When will we get it? According to NASCAR President Steve Phelps, 2021.
Will it be the drastic changes we want? Absolutely not.
And that’s a damn shame.
“We’re looking at everything,” Phelps says as the most drastic changes we can look forward to is a shuffling of dates and subtracting one double for another…yawn.
We have new life and excitement at Rockingham and Nashville. With those tracks eyeing a return into NASCAR, fans get a “we’ll see.” I understand that money has a lot to do with scheduling, and this industry can be a pay-to-play league. Some tracks can only imagine putting up the money to try and sanction a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. I’m afraid when the announcement officially comes for these tracks that it will be with a “cup half empty” attitude. I’m worried that NASCAR will only announce that the truck or Xfinity series will return and not the big boys that we have been dreaming of.
So I’ve developed a schedule with some stipulations:
Must use tracks that are currently on the calendar, seeing as they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon
Must use the same amount of races as the current schedule has now.
Tracks added to the schedule must be in the U.S.
So without further ado, my glorious and painstakingly crafted Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule using 2019 dates:
*tracks in italics are new tracks to the schedule
Daytona International Speedway -Feb 17th (Season Opener)
Atlanta Moter Speedway -Feb 24th
ISM Raceway -Mar 3rd
Las Vegas Motor Speedway -Mar 10th
Auto Club Speedway -Mar 17th
The first five races of the schedule are excellent, in my opinion. Of course, we have to start with the Daytona 500, but getting the west coast swing out of the way early in the season is excellent for logistical reasons. Also, each of these tracks allows for teams to test their cars against different aero dependencies early into the season.
Sebring International Raceway -Mar 24th
Pocono Raceway -Mar 31th
Michigan International Speedway -Apr 7th
Kansas Speedway -Apr 13th
Sonoma Raceway -Apr28
That’s right! I have added Sebring to the NASCAR schedule. I have been an advocate for more road course racing in NASCAR for two reasons: the racing is AWESOME and potentially more manufacturer participation. Just going around in circles is not going to do it, NASCAR needs to embrace the technological changes that manufacturers are looking for with their investment to the sport. Adding a track like Sebring and any other road courses may do just that.
The Milwaukee Mile Speedway -May 5th
Road Atlanta -May 11th
All-Star Race at Charlotte -May 18
Charlotte Motor Speedway -May 26th (Memorial Day)
Talladega Superspeedway -Jun 2nd
Texas Motor Speedway- Jun 9th
The Milwaukee Mile is a track that has been in limbo, as finding regular series to race at the track has been difficult. I would love to see NASCAR give this track a legitimate shot at hosting an event and maybe bring it back to its glory days of old. I know the Xfinity series and trucks have been there on occasion, but it isn’t the same as having the big boys roll into town.
Road Atlanta would give NASCAR fans in Georgia another race. More importantly, we’d get to see these cars navigate through one of the greatest series of esses on the planet.
A Street Course -Jun 23rd
Gateway Motorsports Park -Jun 30th
Bristol Motor Speedway -Jul 6th (Night Independence Race)
Eldora- Jul 13th (Mud-Summer Classic)
Mid-Ohio -Jul 21st
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe NASCAR is the only major race series that doesn’t have a street course on their schedule. This problem needs to change. We can talk about the endless amounts of challenges that they possess, but the essential factor for me is that these courses can be made anywhere. Think about the new markets, the new excitement, and the different possibilities for NASCAR.
Bristol is special. The night race is unique. A night race at Bristol on the Fourth of July and you’ve got my attention.
Eldora has done a fabulous job hosting their annual truck race and I don’t see any reason why they can’t do that on the biggest stage.
Mid-Ohio is an iconic track for an iconic series.
Watkins Glen -Jul 28th
New Hampshire Motor Speedway -Aug 4th
Road America – Aug 11th
Pikes Peak International -Aug 17th
Darlington Raceway -Sep 1st (Labor Day)
VIRginia International Raceway -Sep 8th
For Road America, see the explanation for Mid-Ohio.
Furniture Row Racing has closed its doors, but that doesn’t mean NASCAR has to escape the state of Colorado. It is a shame Furniture Row Racing never got to race in their backyard but maybe going to Pikes Peak will inspire more out of market teams to compete and eventually win.
VIRginia International Raceway has been a testing track for NASCAR teams to test their road racing programs, so they have experience at this track. Also, NASCAR has firmly planted roots in Virginia by having raced at Richmond and Martinsville; this race would be a great addition.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway -Sep 15th
Dover International Speedway -Sep 21st
Martinsville Speedway (Night) -Sep 29th
Indy and The Brickyard 400 will kick start the first race of the playoffs while Martinsville will be an exciting way to end the first round of the playoffs. Tempers flaring under the lights would be a great spectacle.
Chicagoland Speedway -Oct 6
Barber Motorsports Park -Oct 13
Iowa Speedway-Oct 20th
I know taking away the second race at Talladega isn’t exactly fashionable but hear me out. According to the map app on my computer, the distance between Talladega and Barber Motorsports Park is only 40 minutes apart. I’m not taking away a playoff race from those deep within Earnhardt country but just moving it down the road a little way. If you haven’t seen a race a Barber, I would highly recommend it.
Richmond Raceway -Oct 27th
Kentucky Speedway -Nov 3rd
Rockingham Speedway -Nov 10th
Yes. As I’ve said before, I am excited for Rockingham to come back to the schedule. Can you think of a better way for this track to host an event and not be the last race before the final four? Two short tracks this round will add to the drama while Kentucky will give playoff teams the last chance to shore up their mile and a half programs.
Homestead-Miami Speedway -Nov 17th
I like the idea of ending the season full-circle by ending where we began in Florida. The finales at Homestead have been fantastic. The Carl Edwards wreck in 2016 that gave Jimmie Johnson a chance for his 7th title. Kyle Busch was defining all odds in 2015, or 2011 when a win for Tony Stewart meant that he was the champion. This track, since it’s reconfiguration, has produced great racing and I don’t anticipate it stopping anytime soon.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of doubles on the schedule. I want the variety. I want these challenges; I want what many believe to be the best drivers on the planet to prove their actual capabilities on a wide range of circuits.
Maybe a schedule like this could open up more doors for NASCAR, provide new opportunities to drivers, and grab some further attention for fans from all forms of motorsports.
And one more thing, do we honestly need an all-star race?