NASCAR: Full 2024 Cup Series schedule prediction

Richmond Raceway, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Richmond Raceway, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

NASCAR is set to release the 2024 Cup Series schedule within the next few weeks, and the calendar could see plenty of changes.

The release of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is always a topic of great excitement, debate, and speculation among drivers and fans alike. From new tracks to race date swaps to everything in between, there are always changes, and the 2024 schedule will be no exception.

Several unique factors will help shape the 2024 schedule and where the major changes will likely occur. Some of these changes are largely rumors at the moment, while others are all but certain.

Predicting the full 36-race schedule is never easy. However, in the weeks leading up to the release, separating the rumors into either fact or fiction often becomes a much simpler task, and this year, that has been the case once again.

With some of these dominoes having already fallen into place, what will the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule look like?

NOTE: Significant changes listed in italics.

Regular Season

Exhibition: Sunday, February 4 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Clash)

Race 1: Sunday, February 18 – Daytona International Speedway (66th Daytona 500)

Race 2: Sunday, February 25, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Race 3: Sunday, March 3, Phoenix Raceway

Race 4: Sunday, March 10, Sonoma Raceway

Race 5: Sunday, March 17, Atlanta Motor Speedway

Race 6: Sunday, March 24, Circuit of the Americas

Race 7: Sunday, March 31, Texas Motor Speedway 

Race 8: Sunday, April 7, North Wilkesboro Speedway

Race 9: Sunday, April 14, Martinsville Speedway

Race 10: Sunday, April 21, Talladega Superspeedway

Race 11: Sunday, April 28, Dover Motor Speedway

Race 12: Sunday, May 5, Kansas Speedway

Race 13: Sunday, May 12, Darlington Raceway

All-Star Race: Saturday, May 18, Rockingham Speedway

Race 14: Sunday, May 26, Charlotte Motor Speedway (Coca-Cola 600)

Race 15: Sunday, June 2, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Race 16: Sunday, June 9, Michigan International Speedway

Race 17: Sunday, June 16, New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Race 18: Sunday, June 23, Nashville Superspeedway

Race 19: Sunday, June 30, Chicago Street Course

Race 20: Sunday, July 7, Atlanta Motor Speedway

Race 21: Sunday July 14, Pocono Raceway

Race 22: Wednesday, July 17, Richmond Raceway

Race 23: Sunday, July 21, Richmond Raceway

Race 24: Sunday, August 11, Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval (Brickyard 400)

Race 25: Sunday, August 18, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal)

Race 26: Saturday, August 24, Daytona International Speedway

Playoffs – Round of 16

Race 27: Sunday, September 1, Darlington Raceway (Southern 500)

Race 28: Sunday, September 8, Kansas Speedway

Race 29: Saturday, September 14, Bristol Motor Speedway

Playoffs – Round of 12

Race 30: Sunday, September 22, Watkins Glen International

Race 31: Sunday, September 29, Talladega Superspeedway

Race 32: Sunday, October 6, Charlotte Motor Speedway oval

Playoffs – Round of 8

Race 33: Sunday, October 13, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Race 34: Sunday, October 20, Homestead-Miami Speedway

Race 35: Sunday, October 27, Martinsville Speedway

Championship 4

Race 36: Sunday, November 3, Phoenix Raceway

2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule: Rolling through the projected changes

There is a significant number of changes across the board in this particular schedule, including new tracks, date swaps, and some slight changes to the playoff calendar.

The first wave of changes begins in week two of the regular season. NASCAR has confirmed that Auto Club Speedway will not be on the schedule in 2024, with the track will likely be converted into a short track in the near future.

As a result, NASCAR’s early-season “West Coast Swing” will see significant changes, with Las Vegas Motor Speedway moving to the second race of the year and Sonoma Raceway moving to the final weekend of the trip west to keep it at three weekends in length.

Las Vegas is no stranger to hosting early season races, but Sonoma has traditionally hosted races in mid-June. With significant changes to both the “West Coast Swing” and the summer schedule, Sonoma will likely slot into March instead of June.

At the end of March, another wave of changes will appear on the schedule, with Texas Motor Speedway moving out of the playoffs and hosting the seventh race of the season on Sunday, March 31. Up until 2020, Texas had hosted two Cup Series race weekends, and the first was almost always run on this weekend March or early April as the seventh race of the year.

The following weekend, one of the biggest and most anticipated changes on the schedule takes place as North Wilkesboro Speedway hosts a points race for the first time since 1996.

This year, North Wilkesboro hosted the All-Star Race, and ever since that weekend, rumors about a points race at the track have been aplenty. With the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race weekend up in the air and possibly set to be shelved, it opens up a slot for North Wilkesboro to host a full Cup Series weekend.

North Wilkesboro gaining a points race leads to the next big schedule change in May during All-Star Weekend. In 2024, Rockingham Speedway will return to the schedule and host the All-Star Race, exactly 20 years after it hosted its most recent Cup Series event.

Like North Wilkesboro, Rockingham will get its “audition” for the Cup Series with the All-Star Race, and should things go smoothly, the track could find itself with a points race in 2025.

Early June will see a race date swap, with Michigan International Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosting the 16th and 17th races of the year, respectively.

Both of these tracks have hosted June race weekends in the past, with Michigan having hosted one for more than five straight decades from 1969 to 2019 before schedule changes in 2020 and 2021 ultimately bumped it down to just one race weekend in August.

The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are scheduled for Friday, July 26 to Sunday, August 11, and as has been the case in years past, NASCAR will have back-to-back off weekends due to NBC covering the Olympics from start to finish.

As a result, NASCAR will face a bit of a schedule crunch and will likely need to run a doubleheader weekend at some point in the season to ensure that the overall duration of the season doesn’t change significantly.

While there are several tracks that could host a doubleheader weekend, Richmond Raceway has been the one rumored.

A Richmond doubleheader weekend would solve the growing complaint regarding the recent lack of a night race at the venue, something which had traditionally been synonymous with Richmond. A mid-week Wednesday night race followed by a Sunday daytime race would allow for both a night race and day race.

Two more significant schedule changes appear immediately following the Olympics break. The first change is all but a given at this point, and it is one with which many fans are already familiar. 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and all signs point to the race returning to the oval for the crown jewel Brickyard 400 weekend.

The rumors regarding the return of the Indianapolis oval have been discussed ever since the move to the road course was made back in 2021. Following this year’s road course weekend, several drivers participated in oval test at the track, further fueling the rumors about a potential return.

The prestige of winning at Indianapolis is well-documented, and the return to the hallowed oval will be anticipated by many in the garage.

The following weekend would see another significant change to the schedule: the addition of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The Montreal race would mark the first international race for the Cup Series since 1998, when NASCAR ran an exhibition race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. However, the first Cup Series race in Canada since 1958 would be a points race.

The addition of the Montreal track to the schedule has been rumored for quite some time now, with the race effectively being the replacement for the Auto Club race and moving to the summer. With NASCAR making it known that they are looking into adding international races to the schedule, this move is a perfect way for the series to build its international footprint.

The remainder of the regular season doesn’t see any more changes, but the second round of the playoffs sees some substantial ones.

The latest rumors have Watkins Glen International moving out of the regular season and into the playoffs. The race will likely serve as the opening race of the round of 12 in late September while the weather is still favorable in the area.

And Watkins Glen would be the only road course playoff race, as just two weeks later, the final significant change of the season sees the Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend move from the Roval back to the traditional oval, a move which has been rumored for much of the season and would be very popular among fans.

Prior to 2018, the Charlotte playoff race had been contested on the oval, and generally speaking, the race was run on Saturday night, with the exception of the final few years.

All in all, the changes allow for the addition of several new/returning tracks, such as Montreal, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, and the Indianapolis oval. On the flip side, tracks and events such as the Bristol dirt race, Charlotte Roval, Auto Club, and the Indianapolis road course will be removed from the schedule.

On top of this, Richmond will host its first ever doubleheader, featuring the first midweek Cup Series race since 2020.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series win list. dark

These moves will help to create a more diverse schedule and add even more excitement and anticipation for the season as a whole.