NASCAR released its 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule on Tuesday, and it contains very few changes.
(Photo: Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports)
NASCAR’s 2014 schedule has very few changes from 2013
Kansas Speedway and Darlington Raceway swapped their April/May race dates
The Daytona 500 is Feb. 23
NASCAR has released its 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule — and it looks a whole lot like the 2013 version.
Aside from two previously announced changes — a date swap between Kansas Speedway and Darlington Raceway in the spring and Texas Motor Speedway’s move from a Saturday night to a Sunday afternoon to accommodate the NCAA’s Final Four — the schedule is identical to this year’s calendar.
The season still begins with the Daytona 500 (Feb. 23) and ends at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 16). The 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup remain unchanged and in the same order.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of operations, said making significant changes to the schedule was no simple task.
“It’s certainly something we look at, but it’s not as easy as just flipping the switch and moving one (race),” he said via teleconference. “There’s a lot of things that come into play with weather, TV calendars, travel.
“So it’s something that we’re taking a bigger look at every year. I think that we’re more open than we’ve ever been to looking at those things. As you look ahead to 2015, there will be some more opportunities on the horizon.”
There had been talk about major changes for this season, but 2015 — when NBC Sports joins with current partner FOX Sports to replace ESPN and TNT as NASCAR broadcasters — seems like a better opportunity for a shakeup.
“As…all the television partners come in and make a really big bet on NASCAR, we’re going to do the right thing and put events in the most successful position we believe they should be in,” O’Donnell said.
But those changes might not include more short tracks, a road course in the Chase or fewer races on the schedule, O’Donnell said. NASCAR is pleased with its current variety of tracks and is comfortable with a 36-race schedule, he said.
One noteworthy change for next season: NASCAR’s track-drying system, the Air Titan, will be at every race. The Air Titan can reduce the time it takes to dry a track in the event of inclement weather.
Several tracks had the Air Titan on site this season, but it was too expensive for others. This year’s Chase kicked off at Chicagoland Speedway and was delayed nearly seven hours, starting late because of rain and then enduring a five-hour, 10-minute red flag as the storm washed over and the old track drying system was deployed.
Next year, the Air Titan will be part of the sanctioning agreement signed by every track.
“We look forward to showcasing that — hopefully minimally, because we’d like to see the sun shine for each of our events,” O’Donnell said.
DRIVER CHANGES: Truex out of 56 car after 2013
STANDINGS: Chase for the Sprint Cup
Here’s the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule (changes in bold):
•Feb. 15: Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway (exhibition … Saturday night)
•Feb. 23: Daytona 500
•March 2: Phoenix International Raceway
•March 9: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
•March 16: Bristol Motor Speedway
•March 23: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.)
•March 30: Martinsville Speedway
•April 6: Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday instead of Saturday)
•April 12: Darlington Raceway (Saturday night … traded dates with Kansas)
•April 20: OFF (Easter)
•April 26: Richmond International Raceway (Saturday night)
•May 4: Talladega Superspeedway
•May 10: Kansas Speedway (Saturday night … traded dates with Darlington)
•May 17: Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Saturday night)
•May 25: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sunday night)
•June 1: Dover International Speedway
•June 8: Pocono Raceway
•June 15: Michigan International Speedway
•June 22: Sonoma Raceway
•June 28: Kentucky Speedway (Saturday night)
•July 5: Daytona International Speedway (Saturday night)
•July 13: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
•July 20: OFF
•July 27: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
•Aug. 3: Pocono Raceway
•Aug. 10: Watkins Glen International
•Aug. 17: Michigan International Speedway
•Aug. 23: Bristol Motor Speedway (Saturday night)
•Aug. 31: Atlanta Motor Speedway (Sunday night)
•Sept. 6: Richmond International Raceway (Saturday night)
CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP
•Sept. 14: Chicagoland Speedway
•Sept. 21: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
•Sept. 28: Dover International Speedway
•Oct. 5: Kansas Speedway
•Oct. 11: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Saturday night)
•Oct. 19: Talladega Superspeedway
•Oct. 26: Martinsville Speedway
•Nov. 2: Texas Motor Speedway
•Nov. 9: Phoenix International Raceway
•Nov. 16: Homestead-Miami Speedway