NASCAR Cup Series: 2020 schedule released, features many changes

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule was revealed earlier today, and it features many differences when compared to this year’s schedule.

Only six of the 36 races on the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series schedule have been completed, but the 2020 schedule has been revealed. While this schedule features 36 races, the same 36 races that are on this year’s schedule, there have been a boatload of changes made to the schedule itself, especially when it comes to the playoffs.

Several races throughout the season swapped dates with other races, but there are a few changes that are more notable than others.

First of all, there are three off weekends, just like there are throughout the course of the 2019 season, but the season is scheduled to end one week earlier despite the fact that it is scheduled to start on the same week.

This is the case because of the fact that the two races at Pocono Raceway are now scheduled to take place on the same weekend as opposed to two different weekends, with one scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 27 and the other scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 28. These races are both scheduled to be full-length races, marking the first Cup Series weekend doubleheader in the modern era.

The off weekends on the 2020 schedule include one off weekend for Easter and two consecutive off weekends in the summer. There is one off weekend for Easter during the 2019 season and there are two off weekends in the summer during the 2019 season as well, but the off weekends during the summer of this season are not consecutive off weekends.

Additionally, the regular season is scheduled to end with the season’s second race at Daytona International Speedway as opposed to the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races have swapped dates.

The playoffs received the biggest overhaul. The round of 16 is now scheduled to consist of a race at Darlington Raceway, which was previously contested in the regular season, a race at Richmond Raceway and a race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which was also previously contested in the regular season.

The two former round of 16 playoff races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval were moved to the round of 12, joining the race at Talladega Superspeedway, which is the only round of 12 race that is scheduled to continue to be a round of 12 race.

Meanwhile, only one of the two other former round of 12 races are scheduled to continue to be playoff races. This race, the race at Kansas Speedway, is scheduled to be the round of 8 opener as opposed to the round of 12 finale like it had been. The other former round of 12 race at Dover International Speedway was moved to the regular season as its penultimate race.

Two of the former round of 8 races, the races at Texas Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, are scheduled to continue to be round of 8 races. The race at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled to continue to be the second race of the round of 8 while the race at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to be the round of 8 finale as opposed to the round of 8 opener like it had been.

The most notable change to the playoffs is the fact that the race at ISM Raceway, which was the round of 8 finale, is scheduled to become the season finale. Meanwhile, the former season finale, the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was moved to early in the regular season.

Here is what NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell had to say about the matter, according to NASCAR.

“The fans and the industry as a whole have been vocal about the desire for sweeping changes to the schedule, and the 2020 slate is a reflection of our efforts to execute against that feedback. These changes are the result of unprecedented consensus-building with our race tracks and broadcast partners; something we look to continue into 2021 and beyond.”

Here is the full 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Sunday, February 9 – Daytona 500 – Qualifying
Sunday, February 9 – The Clash at Daytona
Thursday, February 13 – Duels at Daytona
Sunday, February 16 – Daytona 500
Sunday, February 23 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 1 – Auto Club Speedway
Sunday, March 8 – ISM Raceway
Sunday, March 15 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 22 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Sunday, March 29 – Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, April 5 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, April 19 – Richmond Raceway
Sunday, April 26 – Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, May 3 – Dover International Speedway
Saturday, May 9 – Martinsville Speedway
Saturday, May 16 – All-Star Open at Charlotte
Saturday, May 16 – All-Star Race at Charlotte
Sunday, May 24 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sunday, May 31 – Kansas Speedway
Sunday, June 7 – Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, June 14 – Sonoma Raceway
Sunday, June 21 – Chicagoland Speedway
Saturday, June 27 – Pocono Raceway
Sunday, June 28 – Pocono Raceway
Sunday, July 5 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saturday, July 11 – Kentucky Speedway
Sunday, July 19 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, August 9 – Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, August 16 – Watkins Glen International
Sunday, August 23 – Dover International Speedway
Saturday, August 29 – Daytona International Speedway
Sunday, September 6 – Darlington Raceway
Saturday, September 12 – Richmond Raceway
Saturday, September 19 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, September 27 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, October 4 – Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, October 11 – Charlotte Motor Speedway (Roval)
Sunday, October 18 – Kansas Speedway
Sunday, October 25 – Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, November 1 – Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, November 8 – ISM Raceway

To compare the 2020 schedule to the 2019 schedule, click here.

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What are your thoughts on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule? Do you believe the changes made to the schedule from this season to next season will end up working out? With only six of the 36 races on this year’s schedule having been completed, there are still about 10 and a half months before the 2020 season is scheduled to get underway next February, so there is still plenty of time to digest all of these changes.

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