The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule features arguably the biggest shake-up in the “Modern Era,” which began in 1972. The sanctioning body had promised changes would be made within the parameters of the current five year track agreements and delivered on the decree.
The new-look slate keeps some traditional dates in place but also ushers in some radical moves that combined have given the 2020 a very fresh look. The last checkered flag of the year will fly almost two weeks ahead of recent seasons as well.
Here’s a breakdown of next year’s schedule:
Daytona 500 (February 16) Las Vegas (February 23) Auto Club (March 1) ISM Raceway (March 8)
The year kicks off as it should with the traditional mid-February trip to Daytona for Speedweeks. But then the West Coast swing moves up post Daytona, bringing the sport to the left coast where the potential for warmer weather is much greater than staying back east.
Atlanta (March 15) Homestead (March 22) Texas (March 29)
The earlier move west slides Atlanta back to what should be a much more comfortable climate for fans in mid-March. Spring Break’s destination now becomes Homestead, which gets shifted from the season finale. Texas remains in its traditional spring spot. Three straight 1.5-mile tracks, although all with different characteristics, get the season into its “meat and potatoes.”
Bristol (April 5) Richmond (April 19) Talladega (April 26) Dover (May 3)
This quartet of tracks stays in about the same spot on the schedule as in recent years with Easter in this stretch on April 12. After two night races the last two seasons, Richmond goes back to a Sunday afternoon spring race, which could generate good racing under the right conditions of sunshine.
Martinsville (May 9) All-Star Race (May 16) Charlotte (May 24)
The lights at Martinsville will shine brightly on the Saturday night of Mother’s Day weekend, an event that will generate tremendous buzz throughout the sport. I would have liked to see Charlotte try a mid-week All-Star Race leading into the 600 weekend but the exhibition race returns to its traditional Saturday night spot one weekend before the longest Cup race of the year.
Kansas (May 31) Michigan (June 7) Sonoma (June 14) Chicagoland (June 21)
As Martinsville slides into Mother’s Day weekend, Kansas goes ahead three weeks to a Sunday afternoon position. Michigan and Sonoma are in their usual calendar territory while Chicago goes back a week from recent previous seasons.
Pocono (June 27-28) Indianapolis (July 5)
Huge changes are coming to the middle of summer. Pocono will host a pair of Cup races on Saturday and Sunday the last weekend of June. The doubleheader will also…