Monday, March 4, 2024

2024 NASCAR schedules revealed

NASCAR’s 2020s schedule shake-ups are continuing for another year as the 2024 NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Craftsman Truck Series feature various changes that, while perhaps not as wide-scale as in recent years, are still major ranging from the return of Iowa Speedway to configuration swaps for Bristol Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Cup and Truck Series’ Bristol Dirt race has been dropped after a three-year experiment and will return to being on the concrete. Likewise, Indianapolis has stopped flirting with the infield road course as the Cup and Xfinity Series race on the 2.5-mile oval again. With the Truck Series dropping Knoxville Raceway after 2022, NASCAR’s national series no longer have dirt races for the first time since 2012.

“We’re certainly open to dirt racing, whether it be with our Cup Series, Xfinity Series or Craftsman Truck Series. Something we’re going to continue to consider,” said NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy. “That said, I think after we’ve seen racing on the dirt at Bristol play out for the past few years and hearing some of the fan feedback, we felt like it was an opportunity for us to shake things up a bit, move back to the concrete surface in the spring, and move back to all asphalt and concrete tracks for ’24.

“I think that said, as we think about what the future looks like, dirt racing does have a unique place in motorsports. You think of a lot of our drivers, they came from dirt racing. You think of some of the best racing that I’ve personally seen, it’s on dirt. Do I think there’s going to be a dirt race sometime in the future? I think so. What that track looks like or what the time is, we’ll see, but it’s something we’re going to keep our pulse on for sure. I think similar to some of these unique styles of tracks like street courses, if it does come back on the schedule, I don’t think it’s going to be something where we have fifteen different dirt tracks. I think it might be one or two that we’d have throughout the year and really make it something special.”

Perhaps the largest change is the addition of Iowa Speedway to the Cup calendar. The track, owned by NASCAR, had long been considered a potential Cup host site as it welcomed Xfinity and Trucks only to be dropped from both schedules due to COVID-19 in 2020.

Some schedule rumours that ultimately did not come to fruition include the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval being dropped for the oval layout, the return of Rockingham Speedway after a restoration effort, and the addition of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The latter, which currently hosts Formula One’s Canadian Grand Prix, was an Xfinity track from 2008 through 2012 and was teased as NASCAR continued expanding its track diversity as officials have long mulled adding an international date.

“As we think about international venues in general, we still are bullish about finding our way either north of the border, whether that be in Montreal or Toronto or another market, or south of the border down into Mexico,” Kennedy explained. “As we’ve mentioned in the past, we want to bring our NASCAR Cup Series there at some point. We think it’s important for us to get outside of the United States with our series in some way, shape or form, so that’s something we’re going to keep our pulse on as we think about 2025 and beyond.”

In the meantime, the NASCAR México Series will support the Cup Series for the first time by appearing at the season-opening Busch Light Clash exhibition at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Date-wise, the Cup Series playoffs will be pushed back a week, making Darlington Raceway the last race of the regular season rather than Daytona International Speedway. The playoffs will now begin at Atlanta Motor Speedway before heading to Watkins Glen International, which joins the postseason while Texas Motor Speedway is swapped out and will now have its lone race in April.

Atlanta’s addition means the playoffs will have two superspeedway-based tracks. Its presence coupled with Watkins Glen and Bristol in the Round of 16 was designed to “test the variability of our drivers and their skills”, as Kennedy put it.

At the Xfinity level, Bristol and Kansas trade places such that the former will once again be the regular season finale. Portland International Raceway is the only standalone race as Road America is off the schedule for the first time since 2009, though the latter’s absence has been attributed to NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics and is believed to be a one-off disappearance.

The Olympics, which are exclusively covered by NBC much like the Cup and Xfinity Series’ second halves, heavily factored into delaying the schedule release as NASCAR sought to put the pieces together. Due to the Paris Games, the Cup Series has a two-week summer break between Indianapolis and Richmond. NASCAR’s current television contract with FOX and NBC also expires after 2024, though only The CW has been confirmed as a broadcaster for 2025 onwards as the exclusive network for the Xfinity Series.

“I know that ’25 is going to look different,” Kennedy commented. “Naturally, we’ll be in our new media rights agreement, so it won’t be an Olympic year, so I think the schedule overall will have a lot of variability to it as we think about ’25.

“[…] As you think about the layout of the schedule, a lot of that is driven from our conversations with them and programming and times, whether it’s an afternoon race, a primetime race, a Saturday night race, where a lot of our windows are. They certainly have a very big voice at the table. That said, we also have a lot of voices to hear from, so our fans are probably number one on that list. Broadcast partners are high on the list. Our teams and drivers are high on the list. Our partners are high on the list. There are a lot of folks that are certainly weighing in as we think about these scheduling changes, and it’s incumbent upon us to take in all that data and information and feedback, try to make the best calculated decisions as we think about rolling out the next schedule.”

The Truck Series will only have one road course race at Circuit of the Americas as Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been dropped.

For the fifth year in a row, all three series will conclude their seasons with NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

Cup Series

# Track Date
Ex. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Clash) 4 February
Ex. Daytona International Speedway (Duels) 15 February
1 Daytona International Speedway 18 February
2 Atlanta Motor Speedway 25 February
3 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 3 March
4 Phoenix Raceway 10 March
5 Bristol Motor Speedway 17 March
6 Circuit of the Americas 24 March
7 Richmond Raceway 31 March
8 Martinsville Speedway 7 April
9 Texas Motor Speedway 14 April
10 Talladega Superspeedway 21 April
11 Dover Motor Speedway 28 April
12 Kansas Speedway 5 May
13 Darlington Raceway 12 May
Ex. North Wilkesboro Speedway (All-Star Race) 19 May
14 Charlotte Motor Speedway 26 May
15 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway 2 June
16 Sonoma Raceway 9 June
17 Iowa Speedway 16 June
18 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 23 June
19 Nashville Superspeedway 30 June
20 Chicago Street Race 7 July
21 Pocono Raceway 14 July
22 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 21 July
23 Richmond Raceway 11 August
24 Michigan International Speedway 18 August
25 Daytona International Speedway 24 August
26 Darlington Raceway 1 September
27 Atlanta Motor Speedway 8 September
28 Watkins Glen International 15 September
29 Bristol Motor Speedway 21 September
30 Kansas Speedway 29 September
31 Talladega Superspeedway 6 October
32 Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval 13 October
33 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 20 October
34 Homestead-Miami Speedway 27 October
35 Martinsville Speedway 3 November
36 Phoenix Raceway 10 November

Xfinity Series

# Track Date
1 Daytona International Speedway 17 February
2 Atlanta Motor Speedway 24 February
3 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 2 March
4 Phoenix Raceway 9 March
5 Circuit of the Americas 23 March
6 Richmond Raceway 30 March
7 Martinsville Speedway 6 April
8 Texas Motor Speedway 13 April
9 Talladega Superspeedway 20 April
10 Dover Motor Speedway 27 April
11 Darlington Raceway 11 May
12 Charlotte Motor Speedway 25 May
13 Portland International Raceway 1 June
14 Sonoma Raceway 8 June
15 Iowa Speedway 15 June
16 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 22 June
17 Nashville Superspeedway 29 June
18 Chicago Street Race 6 July
19 Pocono Raceway 13 July
20 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 20 July
21 Michigan International Speedway 17 August
22 Daytona International Speedway 23 August
23 Darlington Raceway 31 August
24 Atlanta Motor Speedway 7 September
25 Watkins Glen International 14 September
26 Bristol Motor Speedway 20 September
27 Kansas Speedway 28 September
28 Talladega Superspeedway 5 October
29 Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval 12 October
30 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 19 October
31 Homestead-Miami Speedway 26 October
32 Martinsville Speedway 2 November
33 Phoenix Raceway 9 November

Craftsman Truck Series

# Track Date
1 Daytona International Speedway 16 February
2 Atlanta Motor Speedway 24 February
3 Las Vegas Motor Speedway 1 March
4 Bristol Motor Speedway 16 March
5 Circuit of the Americas 23 March
6 Martinsville Speedway 5 April
7 Texas Motor Speedway 12 April
8 Kansas Speedway 4 May
9 Darlington Raceway 10 May
10 North Wilkesboro Speedway 18 May
11 Charlotte Motor Speedway 24 May
12 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway 1 June
13 Nashville Superspeedway 28 June
14 Pocono Raceway 12 July
15 Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park 19 July
16 Richmond Raceway 10 August
17 Milwaukee Mile 25 August
18 Bristol Motor Speedway 19 September
19 Kansas Speedway 27 September
20 Talladega Superspeedway 4 October
21 Homestead-Miami Speedway 26 September
22 Martinsville Speedway 1 Nobember
23 Phoenix Raceway 8 November