NASCAR: The 5 tracks added to the 2021 schedule

NASCAR (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR) /

The 36-race 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule has been confirmed, and five tracks are on it that were not on the 2020 schedule.

NASCAR confirmed the 36-race 2021 Cup Series schedule on Wednesday afternoon, and it featured several changes when compared with several recent schedules, including the original 2020 schedule from before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

In total, there are five tracks that are on the 2021 championship schedule that were not on the original 2020 schedule. In fact, all five have either never been on the schedule or not been on it for several decades.

Bristol Motor Speedway is by no means an addition to the 2021 calendar; it has hosted two races annually since 1961. However, for the race that is scheduled to be contested on Sunday, March 28, the four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) high-banked oval will be covered in dirt.

More from NASCAR Cup Series

The regular paved track is still scheduled to host a race on Saturday, September 18 in the opening round, the round of 16, of the four-round, 10-race playoffs.

The Cup Series has not run a race on a dirt track since 1970 when a race was contested at State Fairgrounds Speedway.

Of the four other tracks added to the 2021 schedule, three are road courses and one is an oval. The first of the three road courses is Circuit of the Americas, which has never hosted a Cup Series race but is slated to do so on Sunday, May 23.

Three-time champion Tony Stewart drove a stock car around the the 20-turn, 3.427-mile (5.515-kilometer) road course in Austin, Texas last year and said that NASCAR going there would be “realistic” and “very easy”.

The other oval added to the schedule is Nashville Superspeedway, which has hosted NASCAR races before, but never a Cup Series race. The four-turn, 1.333-mile (2.145-kilometer) oval in Lebanon, Tennessee last hosted NASCAR races in 2011 when it hosted two Xfinity Series races and two Truck Series races. Sunday, June 20 is the track’s 2021 race date.

The other two road courses added to the schedule are Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which are scheduled to host races on Sunday, July 4 and Sunday, August 15, respectively.

Road America has hosted an annual Xfinity Series race since 2010 but has hosted just one Cup Series race all-time, with that one race having been run all the way back in 1956. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course hosted an Xfinity Series race for the first time this year, and that is what led to its inclusion on the Cup Series schedule for the first time.

The addition of the 14-turn, 4.048-mile (6.515-kilometer) road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and the 13-turn, 2.439-mile (3.925-kilometer) road course in Speedway, Indiana coupled with the addition of Circuit of the Americas brings the 2021 road course total to six, twice what it was previously.

Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval are all on the schedule as well.

Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International were only abandoned in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The latter’s replacement, the Daytona International Speedway road course, is set to host the Busch Clash, which is not a points-paying race, on Tuesday, February 9.

Next. Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time. dark

Other tracks did gain dates as well, but they had already been on the schedule. The two tracks set to move from one race to two are Atlanta Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway. The former’s races are scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 21 and Sunday, July 11 while the latter’s races are scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 9 and Sunday, September 5.