Schedule Madness


Every year at this time we start to hear more rumors over what will happen with the next season’s schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It’s hard sometimes to decifer what rumor has truth to it and which one is simply what people want.

This year’s rumors, from Mike Mulhern, include Homestead moving from the final race spot and Phoenix taking over the finale. Sonoma being moved into the 10 race Chase, and another road course in Road America taking one of Dover’s spots on the schedule. And the final idea is Darlington and Atlanta flipping dates, which would put the Southern 500 back on Labor Day weekend.

I like some of the moves, I disagree with some, so I thought about putting together my “dream” schedule. As someone who thinks about the teams and drivers I’d actual cut some races completely off the 36 race schedule with hopes to get it down to 30. The problem with that is NASCAR won’t do it and I was having a hard time figuring out how to cut and add new venues.

I’ve excluded the exhibition races, although I’d really like NASCAR to scrap them completely or move them to a Wednesday or Thursday before the main race (Daytona 500/Coca-Cola 600) and/or make it a special race. For the Shootout use the Daytona road course or small oval they used for the Battle at the Beach. For the All-Star race use the dirt track across the street from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Obviously any schedule should start with Daytona and the Daytona 500. Next since it’s early March at this point you really need to either be in the South or the West, and I like the West Coast swing to start the year so let’s go to Phoenix and then Auto Club.

Next I’m a traditionalist and I love when the schedule had a block of short track races, really got the drivers’ blood boiling each week, so Bristol, Martinsville, and adding Iowa to the mix. Texas, Kansas, Richmond, Talladega all stay the same from this year. I’ll take their talked about twist of moving Atlanta to Mother’s day weekend, then Charlotte, Dover, Pocono, and Michigan.

I would have Road America take Sonoma’s June spot, then Kentucky, and Daytona for the fourth of July. New Hampshire would be next then I’d want to see Chicagoland moved out of the Chase. Indianapolis would move back before Watkins Glen, with Michigan, Bristol, and Darlington closing out August.

September would lead with Dover as your finale for the regular season to help boost attendance, then have the Chase open with Richmond, a much more exciting race. From Richmond let’s go back to our roots and go to Rockingham, as a Chase race it should help attendance questions there.

We’ll swing out West for Sonoma next, because a road course needs to be in the Chase, then back East for Charlotte, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix, Homestead, and our new finale spot…Las Vegas. Having the finale in Las Vegas makes since if they’re going to keep the season ending awards show out there, just do it the week after.

My changes drop a race from New Hampshire, Pocono, and Kansas with Iowa, Rockingham, and Road America replacing them. Adding a road course and another short track to the Chase will help bolster the diversity a champion needs.

Those are my suggestions, what are yours?

Below is the full rundown, Chase races in bold:

  1. Daytona
  2. Phoenix
  3. Auto Club
  4. Bristol
  5. Martinsville
  6. Iowa
  7. Texas
  8. Kansas
  9. Richmond
  10. Talladega
  11. Atlanta
  12. Charlotte
  13. Dover
  14. Pocono
  15. Michigan
  16. Road America
  17. Kentucky
  18. Daytona
  19. New Hampshire
  20. Chicagoland
  21. Indianapolis
  22. Watkins Glen
  23. Michigan
  24. Bristol
  25. Darlington
  26. Dover
  27. Richmond
  28. Rockingham
  29. Sonoma
  30. Charlotte
  31. Talladega
  32. Martinsville
  33. Texas
  34. Phoenix
  35. Homestead
  36. Las Vegas


  1. You had my attention at eliminating the gimmick races. They had their place and helped create a buzz for the series from mid 80s through late 90s. But they’re no longer relevant and add needless costs to the teams’ budgets. I like the return of a Labor Day weekend Southern 500. But a move of Atlanta to Mother’s Day weekend puts that track on 3,2,1 life support, right? I’m OK with ending series in banquet town of Vegas or hub town of Charlotte. Texas ehh OK too I suppose. But ISC is not going to give up the $ of the final one to SMI. The Brickyard is the tricky one for me. The bloom is off the rose for fans – yet NASCAR, the teams and TV can’t let go of it. But how to make it relevant? Put it as race 1 in Chase perhaps? Or maybe just leave it in the brutal Aug sun so I can continue to ignore it. I like your cutback to 1 Pocono – as it was until 1982. Won’t happen of course but makes sense. And sadly the romanticism of Rockingham won’t be enough. Clock has struck 12M. Its not coming back. And if it does, it won’t be for the final 10.

  2. A lot of wishful thinking in my schedule. I’m torn on Indianapolis, I appreciate the history, but the races are soooooo boring.

Comments are closed.