NASCAR shaked up Cup Series schedule for 2020
NASCAR unveiled the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series calendar, bringing many notable changes and new locations to the schedule both for the regular season and Playoffs. The most notable changes are new venues for the Championship Race and the regular season finale.
The ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, will host the season’s finale instead of Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the season-ending event was organized every year since 2002. The last race of the 26-race regular season will move from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which gets a slot on July 4 weekend, to Daytona International Speedway. It means that Daytona will host both the first and the last race of the regular season.
The 1-mile ISM Raceway at Phoenix recently completed a $178 million renovation project and now it’s ready to host the most important race of the NASCAR season. ISM Raceway has hosted the Round of 8 finale since the introduction of the NASCAR Playoffs elimination format in 2014, and it has served as the penultimate race of the season every year since 2005.
The 10-race Playoffs will be opened at historic Darlington Raceway, with Richmond Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway as other two venues in the Round of 16. The Charlotte road course remains an elimination race after its thrilling debut last year but in the Round of 12 instead of the Round of 16. The Round of 8 finale will take place at Martinsville Speedway, the shortest and oldest track in 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,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
Among other changes on the calendar is the first doubleheader weekend in the NASCAR modern era. Pocono Raceway will host two Cup Series races on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28. Such a change also ensures the season could end one week earlier on November 8.