- 2017 NASCAR schedules released: NASCAR announced the 2017 schedules for its three national series, giving fans and stakeholders a significant head start in planning for next season’s thrilling slate. A credit to unprecedented industry collaboration, specifically the five-year sanctioning agreement between NASCAR and its tracks, the sanctioning body finalized its 2017 schedules months ahead of previous years’ release. The result: Three unique schedules featuring race tracks that have hosted record-setting races already this season, with the majority of the slate still remaining.
A notable change in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule includes a date swap between a track that just hosted one of the most competitive races in its history, and one that will showcase the lower downforce competition package this coming weekend. Talladega Superspeedway, which last Sunday had the second-highest total of green flag passes for the lead ever recorded (213), will become the second race in the Round of 12 in 2017 (Oct. 15). Kansas Speedway will now become the third and final race in that round (Oct. 22).
Texas Motor Speedway’s spring Cup race shifts to Sunday (April 9), a move expected to produce great racing action like that seen after Richmond International Raceway switched to a Sunday race for the 2016 season. Other changes in the NASCAR Cup schedule include Dover International Speedway’s spring date move to June 4, a week after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28). Michigan International Speedway’s second race will return to its traditional early August slot, on Aug. 13.
The NASCAR Cup Series 2017 schedule opens with The Great American Race, the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. The season culminates with the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series will kick off at Daytona on Feb. 25, and crown its champion at Homestead on Saturday, November 18. Its schedule features four standalone events – Iowa Speedway (July 29), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 12), Road America (Aug. 26) and Kentucky Speedway, the first event in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase (Sept. 23). For the second consecutive season, Iowa will host a NASCAR XFINITY Series-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series companion weekend on June 23-24.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season at Daytona on Feb. 24, and culminates at Homestead on Nov. 17. Five standalone races are included among the 2017 lineup: Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 17), Eldora Speedway (July 19), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Aug. 27) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 30). The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase once again begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 23).(NASCAR)
2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule;
2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule and
Camping World Truck Series schedule.(5-5-2017)
- 2017 Series schedules expected Thursday UPDATE: NASCAR will hold a meeting Thursday at Kansas Speedway involving members of the media, track officials and others to unveil the 2017 Cup Series schedule, sources have confirmed. The schedule’s release, which is the earliest in recent history, is expected to include a few shifts in where race dates fall on the calendar, the source said. So far, looking at the calendar and comparing the schedule from 2016 to 2017, the most notable change could be a return of the race at Dover International Speedway to a date after the Coca-Cola 600. Otherwise, there would be no off-weekend before June. Although some tracks have already released information on when they will host next year’s NASCAR events others have not. For example, Daytona International Speedway, which will hold the season-opener Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, 2017, is a week later on the calendar next year than it was in 2016. That will affect when teams get an off-weekend following the West Coast Swing. Additionally, some tracks have requested race date changes in the past in hopes of boosting attendance.(Kickin The Tires)(5-3-2016)
UPDATE: NASCAR has scheduled a press conference for 2:00pm/et at Kansas Speedway with Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, to discuss the schedules. Expect them to be released by that time.
AND: According to multiple track sources, NBC Sports has learned the second round of the 2017 playoffs will be changed with Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway swapping spots. That will make Kansas the cutoff race for the winnowing of the championship field from the 12 to eight drivers and should allay much of the consternation about Talladega being the determining race. For the second consecutive season, Charlotte Motor Speedway still will open the second round of the 2017 Chase on Oct. 8, followed by Talladega on Oct. 15 and Kansas on Oct. 22. There aren’t any other major changes expected when the 2017 national series schedules are unveiled Thursday by NASCAR.(NBC Sports)(5-5-2016)
- New rules package contributing to closer races: NASCAR drivers and fans alike have heralded the quality of racing this season, and there are plenty of statistics to reinforce their empirical observations. Seven of the first nine races featured victory margins of less than one second, the exceptions being Atlanta, which ended under caution after 28 lead changes, and Texas, where Kyle Busch pulled away to win by 3.904 seconds after 17 lead changes. The seven races decided by less than a second are the most through nine events since the introduction of electronic timing and scoring.
Three races this year have set records for green-flag passes for the lead, a loop data statistic that includes intra-lap passes: Atlanta (44), Auto Club Speedway (51) and Bristol (40).
The 10th race of the season, Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, featured 213 green-flag passes for the lead, the second most since the inception of loop data in 2005 and only the second time that number has topped 200. The record of 219 was set at Talladega in October 2013.
By all accounts, the new lower-downforce competition package NASCAR has implemented this season has made a huge difference. Another contributing factor is the job Goodyear has done in matching tires chosen for particular tracks with the lower-downforce rules package. Drivers and crew chiefs have long advocated for greater fall-off throughout a fuel run, and the racing this year has enhanced that aspect of competition. The new package also has reduced the effect of "aero-push," which in the past inhibited drivers’ ability to approach and pass a slightly slower car.(NASCAR Wire Service)(5-5-2016)
- Current top 10 in Sprint Fan Vote revealed: The Sprint Fan Vote is underway, and now, we have updates on (perhaps) your favorite driver. There’s still plenty of time left to vote but, so far, the top-10 vote-getters are as follows, in alphabetical order: #47-AJ Allmendinger, #6-Trevor Bayne, #21-Ryan Blaney, #15-Clint Bowyer, #83-Matt DiBenedetto, #24-Chase Elliott, #42-Kyle Larson, #13-Casey Mears, #10-Danica Patrick and Brian Vickers. Patrick, who won the Sprint Fan Vote last year and in 2013, is the first two-time Sprint Fan Vote winner. Elliott and Blaney are the current leaders in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competition. Fans are able to vote daily by downloading the NASCAR Mobile App or visiting www.nascar.com/SprintFanVote. Votes that are shared on Facebook or Twitter will count for double. Fans have until 5:00pm/et May 20 to cast their votes. NASCAR will announce the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote in Victory Lane after the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 20. The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is scheduled for May 21.(NASCAR.com)(5-5-2016)
- Allstate Peterbilt Group makes first appearance on #46: Allstate Peterbilt Group, the upper Midwest’s largest truck dealer group and a longtime partner of Michael Annett dating back to his time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, will adorn the #46 Chevrolet SS this weekend. It was last featured on Annett’s car last fall at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(HScott Motorsports), see images of the car on the #46 team paint schemes page.(5-5-2016)
- Kansas Goodyear Tire Notes: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will run a completely different tire set-up than those in the Camping World Truck Series at Kansas this week . . . this is the first time Sprint Cup teams have run either of these two tire codes . . . compared to what was run at Kansas last year, the tires on both sides feature a construction change to bring Kansas in line with other speedways . . . this left-side tire code (D-4656) features a compound change to give the cars more grip . . . this right-side tire code (D-4662) is one of Goodyear’s multi-zone tread tires, with two different compounds on the same tire – the compound on the inboard two inches (Endurance Zone) being the same as the full tread run at Kansas last year, and the compound on the outboard 10 inches (Traction Zone) being more tractive to give more grip . . . this tire combination came out of a Goodyear test at Kansas last September 14-15 . . . drivers participating in that test were Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr. and J.J. Yeley . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Kansas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear), see more nots, tire codes, set limits and more on the Kansas Race Info page.
- Kansas Driver Notes & Facts:
ï¿½ 124 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas; 95 in more than one.
ï¿½ Five drivers have started all 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway – Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
ï¿½ Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Kansas Speedway with a 10.308.
ï¿½ Four drivers all-time have made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Kansas Speedway: Erik Jones (5/09/2015), Ryan Blaney (5/10/2014), Austin Dillon (10/09/2011) and Denny Hamlin (10/09/2005).
ï¿½ 12 different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway, led by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson with three each.
ï¿½ Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are the only two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that have posted consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway: Gordon (2001 and 2002 – the first two NSCS events at Kansas) and Kenseth (fall of 2012, spring of 2013).
ï¿½ Jeff Gordon is the only driver to win at Kansas in his first appearance.
ï¿½ Kevin Harvick competed at Kansas Speedway 15 times before winning in the fall of 2013; the longest span of any the nine active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas.
ï¿½ Kevin Harvick (15) and Matt Kenseth (13) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Kansas Speedway.
ï¿½ Kurt Busch leads the series with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 20.
ï¿½ Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with two each.
ï¿½ Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with 11; followed by Jimmie Johnson with eight and Greg Biffle with seven.
ï¿½ Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 16; followed by Jeff Gordon (14), Carl Edwards (12) and Matt Kenseth (11).
ï¿½ Jimmie Johnson (9.055) is the only active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver with an average finishing position at Kansas Speedway inside the top 10.
ï¿½ Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has competed at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
ï¿½ Paul Menard has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway without posting a DNF (14).
ï¿½ Matt Kenseth leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 655 laps led in 20 starts.
- Bowyer driving for JR Motorsports at Chicago: Clint Bowyer will make a return to NASCAR Xfinity Series competition with JR Motorsports. Bowyer, a veteran racer and 19-time NASCAR national series winner, will drive JRM’s #88 entry at Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 17) with partnership from Morton Buildings. Based in nearby Morton, Ill., Morton Buildings specializes in constructing high-quality, long-lasting structures ranging from farm shops, equestrian facilities, hobby buildings, garages, churches, municipal buildings, airplane hangars, custom homes, commercial structures and general storage buildings. The company is now in its third year of partnership with JRM.(JR Motorsports)(5-5-2016)
- Wallace gets Dover sponsor: In a new partnership, Roush Fenway Racing’s Bubba Wallace will carry the LoudMouth Exhaust colors on his #6 Ford Mustang for the first time this season on Saturday, May 14 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway, a track that Wallace considers among his favorites. LoudMouth is based around the principles of quality and durability, with a strong belief in the importance of in-house design and development. Built with roots in the performance automotive industry, LoudMouth is in the business of creating exhaust systems for a large variety of applications from American muscle to Euro sport vehicles.(Roush Fenway), see an image of the car on the #6 team paint schemes page.(5-5-2016)
- Townley fastest in second final Truck practice: #05-John Wes Townley was fastest in the final practice for Friday night’s race at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 176.980 mph. #23-Spencer Gallagher was second, followed by #13-Cameron Hayley, #29-Tyler Reddick, #88-Matt Crafton, #4-Christopher Bell, #21-Johnny Sauter, #19-Daniel Hemric, #8-John Hunter Nemechek, and #41-Ben Rhodes. 32 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Kansas practice 3 speeds page (pdf).(5-5-2016)
- Byron fastest in second Truck practice: #9-William Byron was fastest in the second practice for the Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 176.650 mph. He was followed by #05-John Wes Townley, #88-Matt Crafton, #19-Daniel Hemric, #41-Ben Rhodes, #21-Johnny Sauter, #29-Tyler Reddick, #23-Spencer Gallagher, #00-Cole Custer, and #4-Christopher Bell. 32 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Kansas practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(5-5-2016)
- Reddick fastest in first Truck practice: #29-Tyler Reddick was fastest during opening practice at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 176.137mph. #88-Matt Crafton, #11-Matt Tifft, #05-John Wes Townley, #41-Ben Rhodes, #21-Johnny Sauter, #23-Spencer Gallagher, #4-Christopher Bell, #13-Cameron Hayley, and #9-William Byron were the top 10. 28 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Kansas practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(5-5-2016)
- New crew chief for Townley with Shelton departure: Friday night’s Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway will mark the last race for Michael Shelton as crew chief for John Wes Townley and Athenian Motorsports. Shelton and the team will part on good terms as Shelton will take a new interest outside of racing, the team added. Shelton, the 2012 championship NCWTS crew chief for James Buescher has been with the Concord, North Carolina-based team since the end of the 2014 season. Jimmy Villeneuve, the team’s current truck chief will replace Shelton while Athenian Motorsports says they are narrowing down candidates to take his current spot. Villeneuve who also has been with the team since the end of 2014 will assume his new role next week at Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the May 13 race. Shelton will start his 134th truck race as crew chief Friday night and look to give Townley his second career win. Overall, Shelton has seven wins, 34 top-fives and 72 top-10s, including five poles. For Townley, Shelton steered the Watkinsville, Georgia native to his first career win at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway last October and has collected three top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes along the way.(Catchfence.com)(5-5-2016)
- Jive on board with Townley in Kansas: John Wes Townley will sport a new look on his #05 Athenian Motorsports Chevrolet during Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 250 mile event at Kansas Speedway. After carrying the Jive Communications colors to a lead lap finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Talladega, Ala., Townley is pleased to announce he will have the Utah-based company’s logos aboard his Silverado this weekend in the Land of Oz at one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit.(Athenian Motorsports)(See an image of the truck on the #05 Team Paint Schemes page)(5-5-2016)
- Watkins Glen repave complete; would NASCAR run "the boot"? After a five-month, $12 million-plus facelift that started with the boot – and continued with the remaining 2.45-mile road course that NASCAR uses for the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series following the races last August – Watkins Glen president Michael Printup is ready for his "Wild Season" to begin. "The grip is going to be there. Unlike the oval, we won’t have multi-lanes coming out of the corner. So there’s no effect on that in terms of lines. It’s going to be fast. I’ve coined it as saying it’s going to be a wild season. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s going to be wild." There’s been speculation that the Glen might consider adding the boot to the current layout NASCAR uses and return the circuit to the full Grand Prix course. That would maximize the track at 11 turns rather than the seven the Sprint Cup tour uses for its annual romp just south of Seneca Lake in upstate New York. "Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer) said last year, ‘Maybe we should race the boot,’ but that adds another mile," Printup said. "The only thing the fans are concerned about is if you add another mile you only get to see the cars come around 60 times instead of 90. So there’s a fan engagement opportunity that we have to analyze and get some feedback on before us and NASCAR make a decision. It would be fun, it would be sexy, it would be fast. But I think the fans need to give their opinion before we decide what to do."(Motorsport)(5-5-2016)