2014 Sprint Cup Schedule Released
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on October 15, 2013 | 11:47 A.M. EST
For the 33rd consecutive year, the Daytona 500 will open the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. (Photo: Getty Images)
NASCAR’s 2014 Sprint Cup schedule, released Tuesday, is similar to this year’s schedule with a fewminor changes.
The 2014 season features 36 points races. The season will begin Feb. 23 with the Daytona 500 and end Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Chase remains the same it beginning Sept. 14 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The two non-points races will be the Sprint Unlimited Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway and the Sprint All-Star Race on May 17 at Charlotte.
The biggest change is the previously announced date swap between Kansas Speedway and Darlington Raceway. Kansas Speedway’s spring date moves to May 10 - Mother’s Day weekend - and will be a night race. Darlington Raceway’s Bojangles Southern 500 moves to April 12 and will remain a night race.
Martinsville Speedway’s spring race moves a week earlier to March 30 next season. Also, Texas Motor Speedway’s spring race on April 6 will be a Sunday afternoon race. It was a Saturday night race this year. The change is because the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament will be in nearby Arlington, Texas, that weekend.
NASCAR also announced that the Air Titan drying system will be available at every NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend next season. The Air Titan was only at tracks this season that agreed to pay for it.
“We all know that the time it takes to dry the track, the impact it's had on either those watching in the stands or on TV,’’ said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations. “That was the main reason (NASCAR Chairman) Brian France tasked the R&D center to come up with a solution to reduce that timeframe.’’
After the Daytona 500, the Cup schedule features races in March at Phoenix (March 2), Las Vegas (March 9), Bristol (March 16), Auto Club Speedway (March 23) and Martinsville (March 30).
In April, the Cup series goes to Texas (April 6), Darlington (April 12) and Richmond (April 26).
In May, the Cup series races features Talladega (May 4), Kansas (May 10), the All-Star race (May 17 at Charlotte) and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (May 25).
June’s races are: Dover (June 1), Pocono (June 8), Michigan (June 15), Sonoma (June 22) and Kentucky (June 28).
The series returns to Daytona July 5 and is followed by races at New Hampshire (July 13) and Indianapolis (July 27).
The Cup series returns to Pocono Aug. 3, followed by races at Watkins Glen (Aug. 10), Michigan (Aug. 17), Bristol (Aug. 23) and Atlanta (Aug. 31)
In September, races will be at Richmond (Sept. 6.), Chicagoland (Sept. 14), New Hampshire (Sept. 21) and Dover (Sept. 28).
October races are Kansas (Oct. 5), Charlotte (Oct. 11),Talladega (Oct. 19) and Martinsville (Oct.26).
The season ends in November with races at Texas (Nov. 2), Phoenix (Nov. 9) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 16).
While some fans would like to see the schedule altered dramatically, Steve O’Donnell says it’s not that easy.
“It's certainly something we look at, but it's not as easy as just flipping the switch and moving one,’’ he said of changing dates. “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. When we talk about Nationwide and Truck, we did take some I wouldn't call them risks, but we went to some new venues in terms of Eldora, back in Canada. Those are going to be important to us across all national series as we go forward.’’
The NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedules could be released by the end of this week.