- 2009 Cup Schedule Announced, 4 "off" weeks: NASCAR announced today its national series schedules for the 2009 season, which features realigned dates for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Truck Series. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there will be a three-way date swap between Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) and Talladega Superspeedway.
• Atlanta’s second 2009 race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 6, taking the Labor Day weekend slot now held by Auto Club Speedway.
• Auto Club Speedway’s second race will be Sunday, Oct. 11 – the fourth week of the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” a slot formerly held by Talladega.
• Talladega’s second event will move to Sunday, Nov. 1, making it the seventh Chase event – the slot formerly held by Atlanta.
“The 2009 schedule reflects realigned dates that are good opportunities for everyone involved in our sport – fans, sponsors, tracks and teams," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. The season begins with a tripleheader weekend at Daytona International Speedway capped by the running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 15. In addition to that season-opening event for the Sprint Cup Series, the Truck Series starts its season on Friday night, Feb. 13, followed the next afternoon by the Nationwide Series opener. For all three series, the season will conclude with another tripleheader weekend, at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20-22.
Other key NASCAR Sprint Cup dates in 2009:
• The 31st annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona – a non-points event – will be held on Saturday, Feb. 7.
• On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 12, Richmond International Raceway will again host the “Chase cut-off” race, affording the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for NASCAR’s championship playoffs.
• New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the first races in both the “Race to the Chase” (Sunday, June 28) and the Chase (Sunday, Sept. 20).
There also will be an additional off-week for NASCAR’s premier series in 2009, prior to the Labor Day weekend event, giving teams a final break before a 12-week stretch that will end the season. Because of the way the calendar falls, NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will have a total of four off-weeks during the 2009 season.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will have a 35-race schedule. Changes from this year include a new event at Iowa Speedway on Aug. 1, replacing Mexico City; a switch of the Atlanta Motor Speedway event from March to September; and moving the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event in Montreal to Sunday, Aug. 30.
The NASCAR Truck Series in 2009 again will have 25 races, with one realigned date: The series’ late-season race at Atlanta will be replaced by a night event at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, Aug. 28.(NASCAR PR)(8-19-2008)
- AMS at night? Chicago gets truck race? NASCAR will run under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2009, The Associated Press has learned. There's more: The new night race is expected to be run on Labor Day weekend. Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR officials are planning to announce a schedule change Tuesday that will include the night race announcement, said a racing official who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the change had not been made public. Atlanta's place on the racing calendar also could move. There has been speculation Atlanta Motor Speedway will be part of a three-way trade of race dates for next year's Sprint Cup schedule that also involves the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and Talladega Superspeedway. Atlanta would receive the 2009 Labor Day weekend race that's happening this season in California. Fontana would receive Talladega's fall race, while Talladega would receive Atlanta's fall race, set for late October this year. Meanwhile, there also is speculation the Iowa Speedway will gain a spot in the Nationwide Series schedule and the Chicagoland Speedway will add a Craftsman Truck Series date.(Associated Press)(8-19-2008)
- Press Conference: there is a scheduled NASCAR Teleconference Tuesday where the 2009 Schedules are expected to be released. The press conference is scheduled for 1pm/et, scheduled attendees are: NASCAR President Mike Helton, Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark, Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker, Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey, Iowa Speedway President Jerry Jauron and Chicagoland Speedway President Matt Alexander.(8-19-2008)
- Texas race dates stay the same in 2009: Texas Motor Speedway's 2009 race schedule will mirror this season's line-up with two races each in NASCAR's three top-tier series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck - and one visit by the IndyCar Series, speedway president Eddie Gossage announced Monday. The Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 (April 5), IndyCar Series Bombardier Learjet 550k (June 6) and Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 (Nov. 8) once again serve as the marquee events of the season and anchor 11 days of racing action.(Texas Motor Speedway PR)(8-18-2008)
- New Spring Date for Bristol: Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jeff Byrd got what he wished, hoped for and wanted. So did track owner Bruton Smith. Byrd and Smith – the heart and brains of BMS – have spent months working behind the scenes with NASCAR to move the dates of spring races here farther back on the calendar. The work has paid dividends. The Bristol Herald Courier has learned that NASCAR will officially move the Sprint Cup and Nationwide spring races back to the weekend of March 20-22.
“It’s the first weekend of spring,” Byrd said. The primary reason Byrd and Smith have worked to push back the dates is their inability to control one of mankind’s longtime foes – the weather. Persistent rain and cold temperatures plagued qualifying for and the running of this year’s Food City 500 and Sharpie Mini 300, which were held March 14-16. And while the date change for the NASCAR spring races at BMS is only one week later in the calendar year, it marks a huge step forward for Byrd and Smith. “Bristol is so great within its own right,” Smith said. “I mean, if you’re trying to make a decision on whether to go to Bristol or Daytona [Motor Speedway], you quickly make the decision to go to Bristol. If you went to Daytona right now and interviewed people, if you interviewed people at NASCAR, they’ll say the one speedway they want to go to is Bristol.” Meanwhile, Byrd, who has recently questioned whether Bristol Motor Speedway will be able to reach 54 straight sellouts next March, has said that sunshine and warmer weather will go a long way in helping BMS stay on top of the NASCAR world.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-18-2008)
- Iowa NNS race? Schedules release Tues? Iowa Speedway chief executive officer Stan Clement promised big news and excitement but few details regarding a news conference planned for Tuesday at the track. But Clement, reached Saturday night by the Des Moines Sunday Register, confirmed the facility's designer, Rusty Wallace, would be in town for the event. He also said NASCAR will release its 2009 schedules for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series the same day.(Des Moines Register)(8-17-2008)
- NASCAR officials hope to announce the 2009 Cup schedule by the end of this month [August]. Don't look for any new venues, and don't expect to see any track lose one of its races. But it's possible we'll see some trades made with speedway dates, including the Labor Day weekend race going from Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in Fontana, Calif., to Atlanta. Speedway Motorsports Inc., International Speedway Corp. and NASCAR still are trying to work out all the logistics of moving fall dates among Atlanta, Talladega and ACS. SMI, which owns Atlanta Motor Speedway, would get the Labor Day weekend race, and ACS would get a race inside the Chase. Talladega would take Atlanta's late October event, and ACS would take Talladega's early October race. Both ACS and Talladega are owned by ISC. A triple-swap like this is difficult because it has a ripple effect on other events, schedules and sponsors. But most of the teams are in favor of this because it's a more reasonable travel schedule with cooler weather conditions at Fontana.(ESPN.com)(8-12-2008)
- Bristol Wants New Date Too: From a Bristol Motor Speedway Newsletter by Speedway President & General Manager Jeff Byrd "We have told you on many occasions that we have asked NASCAR for a later spring Sprint Cup race date. They have consistently told us that they would take that request under consideration but to date, they have not been able to change the schedule to get us out of March. We are currently talking with NASCAR about our 2009 sanctioning body agreement. While nothing definitive has been decided, we do not want you to assume that the 2009 spring race date will be the same weekend as this year's Food City 500. I urge you to wait a while before you make travel plans, book hotel rooms or make other arrangements that you might have to change. To reiterate, we do not know if we will have a different race date or not at this point in time. We will give you continued progress reports on the status of the negotiations and will announce next year's schedule as soon as NASCAR gives us their approval.(BMS)(6-21-2008)
- NASCAR: No Sprint Cup race at Kentucky next year: Despite the pleas of Kentucky Speedway's prospective new owner, a NASCAR official says there will be no Sprint Cup race at the track next year. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Saturday that the 2009 Sprint Cup series schedule won't include a stop at the 1.5-mile tri-oval located about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati. "There will not be a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Kentucky on the 2009 schedule," Poston said before the Nationwide Series Meijer 300. Speedway Motorsports Inc. is in the process of purchasing the northern Kentucky track from the current ownership group led by businessman Jerry Carrol. SMI chairman Bruton Smith toured the track with Carrol on Saturday and told reporters he remained optimistic about landing a coveted Cup date next year if the current ownership group drops an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway. "If the lawsuit, if the present owners see fit to change that, the chance of getting the event next year would go up greatly and I think we could get that done," Smith said. Carrol, however, said his group has no plans to drop the lawsuit. SMI could choose to move a Cup date from one of its seven NASCAR-sanctioned tracks to the speedway, an option Smith did not rule out.(ESPN.com/AP)(6-15-2008)
- France not ready to add Kentucky to Cup schedule: NASCAR isn't as anxious to put a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway as Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith is. "It's not a market that we've said is highly desirable," NASCAR chairman Brian France said before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "It's well served. We'll look at things as we get down the road, but right now he doesn't own it and we've got to deal with the owners that do have it and we have Nationwide events and Truck races, so we're working on that with them right now." Smith has agreed to purchase Kentucky Speedway with the contention that he can get a Sprint Cup date for the 1.5-mile track that he went so far as to file a lawsuit against International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR to get a date. He said on Thursday he wanted a date for 2009, something NASCAR says won't happen. He has 90 days to finalize the deal. France is concerned another Cup race in the Southeast, which already hosts more than half of the schedule, will further over-saturate the market. NASCAR spent the past few years trying to alleviate that saturation, closing North Wilkesboro and North Carolina Speedway that once hosted two Cup events each and taking one date from Darlington. "The schedule is getting completed and we have no intentions right now of getting a Sprint Cup race there for 2009," he said. "That's all we can say right now. We don't have any intentions of doing that." France said Smith has not informed him of his plans, which many speculate includes buying Pocono or Dover, closing those tracks and giving the Cup dates to Kentucky and Las Vegas. "I don't know about that," France said of the speculation. "Those are speedways that have their events. They're doing fairly well. When something changes in the ownership structure we'll deal with that." There also has been speculation that Atlanta, Talladega and California are swapping dates in the fall of 2009. That would give Atlanta the Labor Day weekend race, California the Talladega weekend and Talladega the Atlanta weekend. Sources said that likely will happen. "We're working on a number of things," Smith said. "That's one of the reasons it's too late in the game for us to be looking into any other realignment options, not the least of which is that SMI doesn't own Kentucky right now. We're trying to get our schedule out earlier than we have in a while and there could be some dates that move around a little bit, not from speedway to speedway, just in scheduling. [We] might be able to work on a different weekend for one track or another that has been trying to do that for a long time."(ESPN.com)(5-27-2008)
- California race to move rumor returns: Speculation is mounting that NASCAR's Labor Day race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana could be moved to October, starting next year. The track has struggled to sell all of its 92,000 seats on Labor Day weekend partly because of the weekend's typically hot temperatures, and has petitioned NASCAR for another date. One proposal being weighed is a three-track swap, in which Fontana would receive Talladega Superspeedway's date in October, Atlanta Motor Speedway would get the Labor Day race and Talladega would receive Atlanta's fall date in October. That would put the California race in the middle of the 10-race Chase for the Cup that decides NASCAR's premier championship. But NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body is still meeting with officials for all tracks and that next year's schedule "is still being determined." NASCAR hopes to announce the schedule by September, he added. Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker said "nothing has been decided yet" and that the three-track swap idea "is one of several scenarios that I have heard are being discussed." She also said "it's possible that [Labor Day] date will remain the same" next year but is hopeful of moving the race. "Everyone is in agreement that a later date for the second [Fontana] race is in the best interests of the sport," Zucker said. Her track also stages a Cup race in late February.(Los Angeles Times)(5-25-2008)
- NASCAR: Too late to add Cup race to Kentucky: NASCAR officials said Friday not to expect a Sprint Cup Series date at Kentucky Speedway in 2009. "I don't see any scenario where there could be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky in 2009, regardless of ownership," NASCAR communications director Ramsey Poston said.
Kentucky Speedway founder Jerry Carroll said in a phone interview Friday that he is unhappy with the decision and had contacted his attorneys to fight it. "This is what bullies do and it's been going on too long," Carroll said. "They've showed their hand again. If they want to break us and want to run us out of business, get more creative." Bruton Smith, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner, announced Thursday that he had purchased the Kentucky track, located halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville, with the intention of having a Cup race there next season. Poston said there had been no formal request made from Speedway Motorsports for a date. In addition, Poston said, NASCAR is well into the sanctioning process for the 2009 season and hopes to release the schedule in the near future. "We're hoping to be able to release the schedule earlier than ever so the tracks can promote their races sooner," Poston said. Though Poston chose not to comment on the matter, sources close to NASCAR said NASCAR and SMI officials held a sanction meeting Friday, and SMI didn't so much as mention Kentucky -- because they don't yet own the track, and won't formally until late summer at the earliest. "In terms of next year, after we looked through it, it's just not really an option," Poston said. According to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Smith has not yet completed the speedway purchase, in which he agreed to pay $78.3 million for the track that cost $152 million to build. There is a 90-day window in which Smith can walk away from the deal.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-24-2008)
- NASCAR - No Guarantee of a Cup Race for Kentucky: A NASCAR spokesman said Thursday that just because Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman and CEO O. Bruton Smith wants a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at his newly acquired Kentucky Speedway is no guarantee he’ll get one – in 2009 or after. Smith announced Thursday that SMI had inked a deal to purchase the speedway, which is located half an hour from Cincinnati, and he expected it would host a Cup race next year. And to think that it might in 2009, may be wishful thinking, according to NASCAR Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston. “There are certainly some hurdles there,” Poston said of Smith’s hopes to get a Cup date next season. In the past, NASCAR has refused to grant Kentucky a Cup race, citing, among other factors, its proximity to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Chicago Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway. With the Southeast and Midwest already saturated, NASCAR has said Kentucky holds little appeal for a Cup race. NASCAR traditionally announces its final schedule in mid-summer and by now is deep into negotiating sanctioning agreements with tracks for next year. If SMI wants to move a race to Kentucky next year, it must submit a plan to NASCAR saying where it would be willing to give up a race at one of its other tracks.(SPEEDtv)(5-23-2008)
- Two SMI presidents deny tracks may lose race dates: The presidents of two Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks firmly dismissed the notions that their facilities could lose Sprint Cup dates in order to provide Kentucky Speedway with one. New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway have been mentioned as tracks that could lose a race, but NHIS President Jerry Gappens and AMS President Ed Clark shot down the idea that SMI Chairman Bruton Smith would ever do that. In fact, both presidents said they are planning to finalize sanctioning agreements with NASCAR on Friday morning for two races each in 2009. "Bruton has not given me any, any indication at all that he's looking to change anything," Gappens said. "...I don't think this will have any impact. I think there's more to the puzzle that he's got to finish completing to do some of the things he's thinking." Clark vehemently denied that his track, which has struggled with attendance recently, would have a date moved elsewhere. "I'm tired of people bringing that up, because I get so sick of answering it, I'm about to scream," he said. "You can go ask Bruton, you can ask me – there is no chance. It is not going to happen."(SceneDaily)(5-23-2008)
- Deal to swap [California/Atlanta] race dates near, Smith suggests: Bruton Smith worked the room in the media center Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, confirming he has proposed swapping his Atlanta track’s October date for the Labor Day weekend slot at Auto Club Speedway in California. “It is the thing to do,” said Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. “I hope that we will have an answer on that in the very near future.”(Charlotte Observer)(3-1-2008)
- Calif and Atlanta to switch dates? UPDATE: Rowdy.com reports: "According to our good buddy David Poole, we might find ourselves watching the Labor Day race in Atlanta. There is talk of California and Atlanta switching dates with Cali getting the October Chase race and Atlanta getting Labor Day."(Rowdy.com)(2-22-2008)
UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark said Friday that the track has had no discussions with Auto Club Speedway of Southern California about swapping each track's respective fall race date. "I don't know where that's coming from," Clark said. "We'd certainly have to take a look at it and have to talk with our fans and employees and get their views on it. We'd have to at least look at it. If it would be a win-win deal for both sides, it would make sense."(Macon Telegraph)(2-23-2008) .