NASCAR released its telecast times for the 2011 season, primarily preserving the earlier and consistent start times established in 2010. Regular season points races in the Eastern and Central regions of the country will begin at 1:00 pm/et; West Coast events will begin at 3:00 pm/et; and night races will begin at 7:30 pm/et (Note: NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, will start at 6:00 pm/et on May 29).
In addition, NASCAR announced new start times for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with six of the first seven races beginning at 2:00 pm/et and the last three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beginning at 3:00 pm/et. The 52nd annual Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only night race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and will begin at 7:30 pm/et.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races will again be seen on either FOX, TNT, ESPN or ABC.
“The 2011 broadcast schedule strikes the right balance between keeping the start times in familiar slots and highlighting the races down the stretch, building more excitement at the end of the season,” said Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group. “Continuing to raise the profile of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup was also on the top of our list and we believe these new start times for those 10 races will help do just that.”
The preseason non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be on FOX (8:10 pm/et on Feb. 12). In addition, two other non-points events – the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (2:00 pm/et on Feb. 17) and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30 pm/et on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), will be on SPEED.
FOX will have the first 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races, beginning with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, 1:00 pm/et) and ending with the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at that track this year.
TNT will have the next six events, beginning with the Pocono 500 at 1:00 pm/et on June 12 at Pocono Raceway and ending with New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s first of two races on July 17 at 1:00 pm/et. In addition, TNT will have the inaugural Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 9 at 7:30 pm/et.
ESPN and ABC will carry the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. ABC will telecast three races, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup “cutoff race” – the Richmond 400 on Sept. 10 at 7:30 pm/et.
ESPN will telecast 14 races, including the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 at 2:00 pm/et and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20 at 3:00 pm/et.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast 33 of the 34 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2011. ESPN2 opens the season with the DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 pm/et on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. ESPN2 will also telecast the season finale Ford 300 on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (4:30 pm/et).
SPEED will air one NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2011 with the 24th running of the Bubba Burger 250 from Richmond International Raceway on April 29 at 7:30 pm/et.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to SPEED for a ninth consecutive season. As was the case last year, SPEED will show the entire 25-race schedule, opening with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 18 at 8:00 pm/et at Daytona.(NASCAR)(2-7-2011)
NASCAR Announces 2011 Schedules: NASCAR announced the 2011 schedule for its three national series, highlighted by several key changes for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“The adjustments and realignment of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will make for an exciting race season next year,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “The revised schedule provides better situated dates for the tracks, a more challenging lineup for the drivers and ultimately more intrigue for the fans.”
One of those changes comes early, as the second race of the season will be held at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 27, a week after the season-opening Daytona 500. PIR replaces Auto Club Speedway in Week 2. Texas Motor Speedway fills in the vacated Phoenix spot on Saturday, April 9 for what will be an exciting night race in the Lone Star State.
Southern California’s Auto Club Speedway will now run its race date on March 27, providing the track and its fans an optimum point in the schedule.
The series’ 36-race schedule will feature two realigned events. A second Kansas Speedway date follows the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will be held on Sunday, June 5. And for the first time in a decade the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series realigns to a new track with a race at Kentucky Speedway. The Kentucky race will be held under the lights on Saturday, July 9.
The 2011 “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” – consisting of the season’s last 10 races, during which the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is decided – will begin at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Chicagoland’s previous race date was in early July, a slot that went to the realigned event at Kentucky. New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which previously had the first Chase date, will now have the second, on Sept. 25.
Also released today were the 2011 schedule for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, highlighted by a second race at Iowa and Chicagoland speedways, and the 2011 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which will see nine races moved to different dates on the calendar.
All three national series – NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – will begin their seasons at Daytona International Speedway’s “Speedweeks,” with a weekend culminated by the Daytona 500. The traditional “non-points” Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will provide fans a NASCAR Sprint Cup preview, on Saturday night, Feb. 12, followed by qualifying for the “Great American Race” to be held on Sunday, Feb. 13.
All three series will end their seasons with another tradition – Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Nov. 18-20. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will consist of 34 races, all featuring the new car that is being run a total of four times this season. Iowa Speedway, which joined the schedule in 2009, receives a second date in 2011. The series will visit the Newton, Iowa, facility for the first time on Sunday, May 22 and return on Saturday, Aug. 6.
A new date has been added at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, June 4. The series returns on Saturday, Sept. 17 as part of a NASCAR national series tripleheader featuring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, Sept. 18 and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday, Sept. 16.
Last season’s successful inaugural event at the Road America road course in Wisconsin returns in 2011 on Saturday, June 25, the weekend before the Friday, July 1 race at Daytona International Speedway. A previous stand-alone event at Kentucky Speedway now will be part of the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup/NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend on Friday, July 8.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be paired with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on three weekends, at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, April 23 and Saturday, July 23 and at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on Saturday, July 30. The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will consist of 25 races, one of which will be announced at a future date. Phoenix International Raceway, which traditionally hosted the penultimate race in November, will host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday, Feb. 25. Darlington Raceway, which returned to the schedule in 2010 after an absence of six years, moves from August to Saturday, March 12. Michigan International Speedway’s truck race, previously held in June, will accompany its late-summer NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, Aug. 20. Two additional date shifts in the fall have stand-alone events at Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, moving a month later on the schedule. The series races at Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 1 followed by Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 15.(NASCAR)(8-18-2010)
Indy to run on 7/31: nothing announced, but on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Brickyard 400 page, the 2011 racedate is shown as July 31, 2011. A week later then in 2010. Looks like the final 2011 off weekend will be July 23-24th and the 2nd Pocono race on 8/7. All 2011 race dates have been announced except the Brickyard 400, two Pocono race and two Talladega races, but by basically looking at the 2011 schedule as it stands, pretty easy to place those race dates. See more on my 2011 Sprint Cup Schedule page. Supposedly NASCAR is to announced the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule sometime today, August 18, 2010, but nothing yet as of 3:30pm/et.(8-18-2010)
Richmond announces 2011 race dates: Richmond International Raceway officials announce America's Premier Short Track will once again host two doubleheader weekends, including the Spring season opener, as well as "One Last Race to Make The Chase" in September. And for the eighth consecutive year, the September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race - scheduled for Saturday, September 10 - will set the field for next year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(RIR)(8-16-2010)
Michigan announces 2011 race dates: Michigan International Speedway will hosts its 84th and 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2011, track officials announced Friday. The track's opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in 2011 will be a return to Father's Day on June 19. The series will visit Michigan later that summer on August 21.(MIS)(8-14-2010)
Martinsville Cup Races Both Week Later In 2011: Martinsville Speedway will again host two NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2011, but both races will be a week later than in recent years. NASCAR announced that the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 is scheduled for Sunday, April 3 while the TUMS Fast Relief 500 will be held on Sunday, October 30. “There was quite a bit of shuffling in the schedule for next year and we are really pleased with the new dates NASCAR has for us,” said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell. “Our spring date is a little further into spring and our second date still falls at a very comfortable time in this part of Virginia. We think that both of our 2011 dates are great for our fans and should provide two great weekends.”(Martinsville PR)(8-13-2010)
Watkins Glen race to move back a week in 2011: The excitement level surrounding the 25th consecutive running of NASCAR at The Glen is still climbing high and fans can already start making their plans for the 2011 event weekend. Watkins Glen International officials confirmed today that Juan Pablo Montoya will defend his title at The Soul of American Road Racing one week later in 2011, August 11-14. The announcement comes on the heels of a highly successful Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, including increased overall weekend attendance at the historic road course compared to 2009.(WGI)(8-12-2010)
Bristol announces 2001 race dates: NASCAR's two Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Bristol Motor Speedway will remain in March and August in 2011, with the August date moving back one week. Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR's most popular track, returns to its customary August race date, the weekend prior to the Labor Day holiday, Aug. 26-27. NASCAR kicks off the BMS spring weekend with Ford Fan Friday March 18, followed by the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series event March 19, and the Food City 500 Sprint Cup race March 20.(BMS)(8-11-2010)
New Hampshire announces two race weekends for 2011: With anticipated crowds exceeding the Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series games, and even the Stanley Cup Playoffs , New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the three the biggest sporting events in New England during its 2011 racing season. For the 15th consecutive season, the “Magic Mile” will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends. Moving from its recent late-June date, NASCAR’s elite series makes its season debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 17 for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its second trip to the “Granite State” on Sunday, September 25, as the SYLVANIA 300 lights up the competition for the second race in the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.” In addition to the two Sprint Cup Series races at NHMS, a “New Breed of Speed,” invades the track when the IZOD IndyCar Series returns after a 13-year hiatus. On August 14 Dario Franchetti, Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, and all of the IZOD IndyCar Series stars will bring close wheel-to-wheel action and speeds reaching up to 200 miles per hour. Gappens also announced that there will not be a price increase for NASCAR events in 2011.(NHMS)(8-11-2010)
Infineon NASCAR Date Moves Back to Final Weekend in June for 2011: Infineon Raceway will return to its more traditional date for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in 2011. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place, June 24-26, the final weekend in June. The race had been held on Father's Day each of the last two years.(Infineon PR)(8-11-2010)
Kentucky Speedway to host Cup race: Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith announced that Kentucky Speedway will play host to its inaugural 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 9, 2011. The Sparta, Ky., venue will become the 23rd motorsports facility on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule and the first facility to be added to the national tour since Chicagoland Speedway made its debut July 15, 2001 and Kansas Speedway staged its first series race on Sept. 29, 2001.(Kentucky PR)(8-10-2010)
Las Vegas race weekend returns to first week of March: Las Vegas’s annual NASCAR Weekend will return to its traditional March weekend in 2011. The annual NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be held March 4-6, 2011. Earlier this year, the event was held on the final weekend in February due to a quirk in the calendar. “In reality, it’s on the same weekend as the 2010 event, but our race fans have been used to coming here on the first weekend in March, so it’s good to be back on those dates,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “We’ve been blessed with great weather on this weekend the past few years, and we look forward to having another great weekend with a packed house in 2011.”(LVMS)(8-10-2010)
Auto Club Speedway will have one race for 2011: Auto Club Speedway will host one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend - March 25-27 - returning to its traditional spot on the schedule beginning in 2011. Speedway officials also continue to work in earnest to add events to the Speedway's race schedule in an effort to diversify on-track activity for the 2011 year. "Moving our Auto Club 500 event from February to March provides us the opportunity to show off the area's beautiful 'Chamber of Commerce' weather," said Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker. "Our staff and the thousands of Southern California loyal race fans look forward to the return of NASCAR's most talented drivers in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series as well as Southern California's own four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.(ACS)(8-10-2010)
Kansas announces two race dates for 2011: Kansas Speedway and International Speedway Corporation announced that NASCAR has approved ISC’s request for realignment and beginning in 2011, Kansas Speedway will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend will be held June 4-5 and the second event weekend will be the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Oct. 8-9.(Kansas Speedway)(8-10-2010)
Phoenix announces 2011 race dates: Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced that the track has been awarded two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends in 2011, marking seven consecutive seasons for PIR to host a pair of nationally-televised event weekends featuring the brightest stars in NASCAR. Phoenix will maintain two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends in the face of widespread schedule realignment that saw multiple race dates moved amongst multiple facilities. As part of the NASCAR's schedule realignment, Phoenix International Raceway's SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 will move from April to February 27 - just one week after NASCAR's largest event, the Daytona 500. PIR will look to capitalize on the season-opening excitement of Daytona with a new Sunday day-race format, allowing fans to take in the 500 km race in Phoenix with a more traditional local start time of 1 p.m. The SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 will be televised nationally on FOX. Phoenix will continue to host the semi-final race in NASCAR's playoffs - the Chase for the Sprint Cup - on November 13. The Kobalt Tools 500, a race in which fans have come to expect heavy championship implications, also starts at 1 p.m. locally and will be televised nationally on ESPN. NASCAR will conclude its season the following week at Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida.(PIR)(8-10-2010)
Chicago to host first Chase race in 2011: Chicagoland Speedway will celebrate its 10th year of operation in undisputed style – square in the national media spotlight as the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Chicagoland Speedway’s NASCAR weekend, historically held in early July, will now take place in the fall – Sept. 16-18, 2011. The move places Chicago front and center as the world’s best drivers compete for the most coveted championship in professional motorsports. Next year also marks the return of Pole Day, the qualifying day popular among families with young children. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday of race weekend. The Nationwide Series will compete on Saturday, with the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during the day scheduled on Sunday.(Chicagoland PR)(8-9-2010)
Latest 2011 schedule speculation: With the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule set to be released in the next couple of weeks, it is expected Chicagoland will open the Chase For The Sprint Cup, Auto Club Speedway apparently will lose one of its Cup races to Kansas and Kentucky will have a Saturday night date in July, according to sources who are familiar with the tentative schedule. Kansas will have a date in June for its regular-season Sprint Cup event. According to sources familiar with the tentative schedule:
• New Hampshire, which has been the weekend prior to the Independence Day race at Daytona, will have its first date go to mid-July. Kansas could go in that June slot or possibly a week earlier on Father's Day weekend with Infineon a week later. Kansas also could go in the first week of June and the Pocono race could be moved to later in the month.
• There is a shuffle of dates in the first seven weeks with Phoenix moving to the second race of the schedule and Auto Club Speedway going to the last weekend in March between Bristol and Martinsville.
• The other regular-season shuffles come mostly in June with the addition of Kansas and then July. Getting Chicagoland's July date the week after Daytona will be Kentucky, which will have a Saturday night Cup race July 9 as part of a Nationwide-Cup weekend. It was previously announced Atlanta would lose its March date, and that race is going to Kentucky, which has a news conference set for Tuesday.
• The rest of the schedule should be pretty much the same, except with Chicagoland opening the Chase in mid-September, followed by New Hampshire and Dover and then Kansas - the three tracks that have opened the Chase in recent years. Chicagoland has a news conference scheduled for Monday to formally announce its getting the first race of the Chase.(Scene Daily), for more info on how the schedule is shaping up, see my 2001 Sprint Cup schedule page.(8-9-2010)
2011 Schedule released Aug. 18? Latest schedule rumors: Multiple sources have told SPEED.com that Chicagoland Speedway will host the opening race to the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup, with New Hampshire Motor Speedway moving back to the second Chase race. Contacted for comment, Chicagoland officials neither confirmed nor denied its 2011 slot in the Chase. Elsewhere, the other dominoes have begun to fall for the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule, which sources tell SPEED.com will be released Aug. 18. Atlanta officials confirmed Thursday what had long been rumored - that it will host just one NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend next year. Kentucky Speedway officials, meanwhile, have a press conference scheduled next week to announce that they will host a Cup race for the first time next season, likely getting a July date at the expense of Atlanta. Of course, Atlanta's traditional first race date is in March, indicating that there will be quite a bit of schedule juggling to come. But if Chicagoland's race moves to September and the Chase, that would free up a mid-July date for Kentucky to host its Cup race. Atlanta losing a date is a done deal. Kentucky Speedway picking up one is also a done deal. Kansas Speedway is nearly certain to get a second date, likely at the expense of Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, or perhaps Martinsville Speedway. Among the other possibilities for 2011:
• At least one of Texas's two races would be run at night. Texas will make its announcement Aug. 17 at the House of Blues in Dallas. A media release issued Thursday said the track would "reveal dramatic changes," and that France would be in attendance for the event.
• Phoenix would have an earlier slot on the schedule, perhaps moving up to as early as the second race of the year. Contacted by SPEED.com.
• A spokesperson for Dover confirmed that that track will have two Cup races next year, although no dates were announced.
• Although Las Vegas Motor Speedway has lobbied hard for a second date, specifically to host the season-ending race, the 2011 Sprint Cup season is expected to once again conclude at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(SPEEDtv)(8-6-2010)
UPDATE: Auto Club Speedway will lose its slot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup next season, sources have confirmed to SPEED.com. This year, ACS is race No. 4 in the Chase as well as host of the second race of NASCAR’s regular season in February. But next year, the track will have only one race, with Phoenix International Raceway taking the week following the Daytona 500 and ACS moving sometime later in the season, possibly in March or April.(SPEEDtv)(8-6-2010)
Atlanta announces one race for 2011: Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced the facility's 2011 event schedule will include one NASCAR racing weekend on September 2-4. One of the original NASCAR superspeedways, the track has hosted two of NASCAR's premier event weekends for 50 years, including the upcoming Emory Healthcare 500 slated for Sunday night, Sept. 5. "Atlanta Motor speedway has provided top-quality racing entertainment to spectators from across the nation and around the world for 50 years," said speedway president, Ed Clark. "While our schedule will change, our commitment to the racing fans who have been the heart and soul of Atlanta Motor Speedway through these years will be stronger than ever. Our entire staff will be even more driven to produce the top annual sporting event in Georgia for many years to come."(AMS)(8-5-2010)
Looks like Kentucky will get a Cup race: Kentucky Speedway will get a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2011, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The 1.5-mile tri-oval halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati will host NASCAR's top series in early July. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. A news conference is scheduled at the track Aug. 10. Kentucky already hosts NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series events, as well as an IndyCar race. Plans are already in place to expand seating from 65,000 to around 100,000. SMI will likely have to move a race from one of its other tracks to Kentucky. Smith has consistently played coy about his intentions, but during a Cup visit to New Hampshire in June, he didn't exactly endorse the prospect of continuing to have two Cup races a year in New England. While the second race traditionally kicks off the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, the June race could easily be bumped off the schedule. NASCAR is expected to announce its 2011 schedule by Labor Day.(Associated Press)(8-2-2010)
Kentucky Speedway to make announcement: Kentucky Speedway’s owner hinted Friday that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race would be held next year at the Gallatin County track. A “big press conference” is planned Aug. 10 at Kentucky Speedway, said Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. He would not go so far as to say the event would include news of a 2011 Cup race, but that it “deals with all of that.”
“Don’t try to get me to hold that press conference now, OK?” Smith said. “But we’ll have a lot of things to announce when we’re there (about) a lot of the changes that we’re making.” Smith expects 500 people at the news conference, including Gov. Steve Beshear and three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip. A spokeswoman for Beshear said the governor’s schedule for that week was not yet available. Jerry Carroll, the track’s former chairman, and a consultant for SMI, will be there. “If Bruton Smith is coming all the way up here, and the governor is coming all the way up here, they’re not going to tell people bad news. So figure it from there,” Carroll said.
Earlier this month, NASCAR CEO Brian France said SMI and ISC had submitted requests to NASCAR to move races in 2011. ISC wants a second Cup date for its Kansas Speedway. On Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, France said the 2011 Cup schedule would include changes and that it was within a week or two of being completed. Kentucky Speedway would be the first new venue on the Cup schedule since Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway were introduced in 2001.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(7-31-2010)
2011 schedule changes will be "impactful": NASCAR appears ready to give its 2011 Sprint Cup schedule a facelift. CEO Brian France said before Sunday's race at Indianapolis that stock car's top series is in the "final throes" of completing next year's Cup slate and that it could feature some "impactful" changes. International Speedway Corp. is asking for a second race in Kansas, while Speedway Motorsports Inc. wants Las Vegas to get a second Cup date. SMI is also hoping to bring a Cup race to its 1.5-mile track in northern Kentucky.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)
AND: NASCAR's 2010 Sprint Cup schedule is expected to have a considerably different look next season, including the site of the season finale. Some changes are expected in response to requests from major track owners International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., but several other race dates are believed to be in play. Several sources told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com on Sunday that changes being contemplated include the season's final race, now held at Miami-Homestead. That ISC-owned track could get the second race of the 2011 season. Auto Club Speedway currently occupies that spot on the schedule. The sources said two tracks figure in the options being considered to replace Homestead as host of the season's final race weekend: Las Vegas and Daytona. A Las Vegas finale could make it more convenient for fans, teams, media and others to attend NASCAR's season-ending awards events. Those events, held in New York City for years, moved to the desert gambling-and-resort city for the first time last year. A season finale at Daytona would add a second restrictor-plate race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(Charlotte Observer)(7-26-2010)
Scheduled changes, 3 tracks loses? 3 gain dates?: SPEED's Bob Dillner reported on the July 11th SPEED Report that rumors have Auto Club Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway with second race dates going to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway getting a Sprint Cup race. No word how this will shake up the Sprint Cup schedule, can be figured out a few different ways. Look for Atlanta Motor Speedway to keep it's Labor Day weekend date and doubtful Las Vegas would get a summer date with the heat there.(7-13-2010)
Darlington's NASCAR agreement is late: Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning isn’t sure how possible changes to next year’s Sprint Cup schedule would affect the track’s race date. The track’s Cup date has been Mother’s Day weekend since 2005 and the track has had success with it. The first four races sold out. “I feel like the date has worked very well for us,” Browning said. “And we don’t have reason to believe the date will be changed, but those kind of decisions are made over my head.” Browning said he hasn’t received the sanctioning agreements, which say when the track’s date will be. In the past, Browning usually has had them by now. NASCAR president Brian France said last week International Speedway Corporation, Darlington’s parent company, and Speedway Motorsports Inc. both have petitioned NAS-CAR to have dates realigned. ISC wants a second date for Kansas Speedway and SMI has wanted a Cup date for Kentucky the last few years. The company also wants a second date for Las Vegas. The schedule is likely to be released sometime near Labor Day. Browning said he hopes to stay with the Mother’s Day weekend date, but would prepare to promote whatever date is given to the track.(Morning News)(7-11-2010)
Some 2011 schedule speculation: UPDATE: It appears more likely than ever the 2011 Sprint Cup slate will have a much different look than it has in recent seasons. NASCAR acknowledged both SMI and ISC have requested realignment date changes for next year, and there are reports Kentucky and a second date for Las Vegas will be part of the SMI plan, at the expense of races in New Hampshire and Atlanta, and Kansas will gain a second NASCAR weekend when Auto Club Speedway gets stripped of its February date.(CBS Sports)(7-5-2010)
UPDATE: Topics being discussed include shuffling the last 11 dates of the season so different venues could promote Chase races on a revolving basis. Another issue is geography and bouncing between coasts. While the Sprint Cup schedule is likely not to be shortened any time soon, the Nationwide schedule is under review. And by 2012, some Truck and NNS dates could move to weeknight shows. Certainly, the six tracks that have been mentioned as possible candidates for realignment include Kansas, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New Hampshire and Kentucky. At this point, it's up to the track owners to determine what they're willing to give up to make something happen. From an attendance standpoint, Fontana and Atlanta could both stand to lose a race. Time will tell whether Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith is serious about taking a date from New Hampshire - the only track that serves the New England area. The Fontana spring date is likely to fall, but what to put in its place? Phoenix is likely to move to an earlier date. One thing is for certain, Homestead-Miami Speedway stands to lose a chunk of change if the season finale is moved from that track. Ford has a contract to be the title sponsor through 2014 - but only if it's the last race of the season. An alternative placement for Las Vegas could be in the kick off position for the Chase, replacing the first race of the playoffs, which is currently being held in New Hampshire.(Fox Sports) to see what tracks have already confirmed their dates for next year, check out my 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 'tentative' Schedule page.(7-6-2010)
Latest on Bruton moving race dates: Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said Friday he plans to meet with NASCAR officials soon to discuss the Sprint Cup schedule for SMI tracks in 2011. Smith did not say whether he plans to move one New Hampshire Motor Speedway date to Kentucky Motor Speedway. "Whatever we do, we'll announce sometime in the future," Smith said. "We'll be talking to NASCAR about all these things and we need to study it carefully. We want to do whatever is best for the sport. We're in this thing together. If opportunity knocks, we want to be there to open the door." Kentucky is the only SMI track that doesn't have a Cup race, something Smith wants to change. That could mean the June race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which SMI also owns, could move. NHMS also hosts the first Chase race in September. Smith will announce Sunday that the IndyCar Series will race at NHMS next season, which could replace the June Cup date at the 1-mile oval. There also was speculation that Smith might move one Atlanta Motor Speedway date to Kentucky. "No, I've never heard that," Smith said Friday. Smith said he will meet with NASCAR president Mike Helton this weekend and plans to meet with Lesa France Kennedy soon. Kennedy is the CEO of International Speedway Corp. and the sister of NASCAR chairman Brian France. Kennedy hopes to add a second Cup date next year at Kansas Speedway, an ISC facility. "I get along very well with Lesa," Smith said. "She and I have a good rapport. I will be talking to her next week, hopefully. We don't want to put off until next year what we can do this year."(ESPN)(6-25-2010)
Las Vegas proposes a 2nd Cup race to SMI: Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the closest it's been in years to getting a second annual Sprint Cup race -- or it could be just another move in the mental chess game of racing grandmaster Bruton Smith. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority two weeks ago submitted a proposal to Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) about landing a coveted race in the series' 10-race Chase for the Cup playoff as early as next year, possibly in mid-September. The additional race would complement the speedway's early spring Cup event. Rossi Ralenkotter, the LVCVA president, confirmed this week that "on-again, off-again" negotiations with Smith heated up over the past month. "We haven't hidden the fact that Las Vegas can and will support a second race," said Ralenkotter, who expects to hear back from Smith next week. The only way Las Vegas can get a second Cup event would be for Smith, SMI's founder and chairman, to move an existing race -- with NASCAR's approval -- from one of his six other tracks that host 11 Cup races. NASCAR has been steadfast in refusing to extend its schedule by adding races. An additional Cup weekend would be a windfall for Southern Nevada but costly for Loudon, N.H., or Atlanta. "As long as we can get a second race, we don't care where it comes from," Ralenkotter said. A source close to the negotiations said the LVCVA is offering to pay SMI between $5 million and $8 million to land a second Cup weekend. The authority is funded through a hotel room tax. Getting a second date for Las Vegas was Smith's top priority until December 2008 when he bought Kentucky Speedway, which does not have a Cup race. Smith, 83, made it clear he would find a Cup race for Kentucky before Las Vegas got a second one. A publicly held corporation like SMI should focus on maximizing profit, and it makes fiscal sense to move an Atlanta race to Las Vegas, where it will draw up to 40,000 more spectators. And let's not forget the LVCVA's multimillion-dollar inducement to SMI.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(6-25-2010)
2011: Kansas 2nd date? Kentucky may not go Cup? No word yet on NASCAR's 2011 tour schedule. But that new second Cup weekend proposed for Kansas City, with the opening of that new casino just outside the first turn, has some stock car racing promoters wondering – perhaps sweating out -- just where that Cup date will come from. With the NASCAR Cup tour already working 38 weeks a season, no one expects CEO Brian France to add a 39th week for Kansas. Rather that that new race will have to come at the expense of one of the France family's current International Speedway Corp. (ISC) tracks. ISC runs 19 Sprint Cup events at its 12 tracks: Daytona, California, Martinsville, Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond, Darlington, Michigan, Chicagoland, Watkins Glen, Kansas and Homestead-Miami. The ISC track losing a week for that second Kansas race? Michigan president Roger Curtis insists that it won't be his, that this track will continue to host two Cup events. Curtis, who took the reins here in 2006, has just cut the ribbon on a huge new array of pit road suites and infield-to-grandstand pedestrian tunnel, part of some $55 million in capital improvement projects, including a new scoreboard, new sound system, better infield drainage, and 23,000 more grandstand seats. (Here's Curtis talking about his 'infield project: http://bit.ly/c17XTV ) And Curtis says NASCAR officials want him next to start rebuilding the garage area itself, which really hasn't been greatly improved in years.
But Bruton Smith, who runs rival Speedway Motorsports (SMI), may be backing away from pushing for a Cup weekend in 2011 at his Kentucky Speedway, which hosted Saturday night's Nationwide 300 (to a less than 72,000-capacity crowd). Smith, to move a Cup date to Kentucky, would also likely have to cut a Cup weekend from one of his seven tracks [Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Infineon, Las Vegas, New Hampshire and Texas] current tracks that host 12 races.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-14-2010)
MIS doesn't expect to lose race date: Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis has advice for fans worried about the 2-mile superspeedway losing a NASCAR Sprint Cup date in 2011: Don't worry. Rumors have ramped up that MIS is among the International Speedway Corporation tracks in jeopardy of losing a race now that it appears likely Kansas Speedway will get a second date. Curtis answered questions during a web telecast with fans Wednesday night. "That is completely false," Curtis said of the rumors. "I have been reassured by senior management at International Speedway Corporation that MIS will not be losing a date. We do sign our sanctioning agreements with NASCAR on a year-by-year basis, but I have not heard anything from NASCAR that would indicate that we are close to losing a date by their criteria. We have invested $55 million over the last few years, and we are going to invest a lot more. We are going to invest a lot more over the next three years and we are going to continue to improve things for fans." Curtis also was asked if MIS is considering putting up lights so the track could host a night race. He said don't expect that to happen any time soon. He pointed out that it would cost about $17 million to light up the track, and there are other areas that need to be addressed first.(Michigan Live)(2-25-2010)
ISC to evaluate tracks before deciding which loses race to Kansas: The chief operating officer for International Speedway Corp., Roger VanDerSnick, says the financial fortunes of Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Phoenix International Raceway and Michigan International Speedway will be evaluated in 2010 as ISC tries to decide how to shift a Sprint Cup race to Kansas Speedway in 2011. Those three tracks are among the four ISC markets hit worst by the economic downturn. The fourth is south Florida, where Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the season finales for NASCAR's three major series. "Those are our four challenging areas: Southern California, Phoenix, Michigan and Florida," VanDerSnick said. "We have a decision to make for 2011 on what date goes to Kansas? So we have a number of different models helping us drive through the decision-making process on that. Once we're close to a recommendation, we'll make a proposal to NASCAR that we want to realign a race to Kansas for that second weekend." Kansas Speedway has been waiting on approval for a casino complex that is expected to receive final approval next month by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Part of the speedway's pitch for the facility was the guarantee of a second annual Cup race, which would be on the 2011 schedule. NASCAR usually releases its annual schedules in late summer, and VanDerSnick says discussions with tracks normally begin in March and continue through spring. The first Cup races for Auto Club (Feb. 21) and Phoenix (April 10) are within or before that timeframe. Michigan's first Cup race is June 13.(USA Today)(1-18-2010)