NASCAR Cup Series teams face an incredible series of challenges as the regular season winds down.
Last week’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 will feel like a walk in the park after NASCAR’s top division gets through the rest of August. Sunday’s one day show at the "Magic Mile" was just the appetizer to the main course that lies ahead, which includes two doubleheader weekends at Michigan and Dover, a first-ever race on Daytona’s road course and a return engagement at "The World Center of Racing" to end the regular season on the iconic 2.5-mile tri-oval.
In fact, the seven Cup Series races that will be completed in August ties the mark set the same month back in 1971. So if it seems that NASCAR is busy these days there’s a reason – it is.
See Also: MRN August Broadcast Schedule
It’s no surprise NASCAR’s schedule was going to be aggressive once the sport returned to action after the COVID-19 pandemic forced hiatus in March. The sport plans to make up all the races lost during the shutdown and the inclusion of doubleheaders and midweek races have so far made it possible.
Now that other sports are returning to action, it’s a reminder of how important it was for NASCAR to get back on track when it did in the safest manner possible.
"That was really, really big for NASCAR to be the first sport back on TV and I think we got the benefit of it from being watched on TV a lot," said Christopher Bell. "It was really cool and I’m really glad that NASCAR took that chance and took a hold of that opportunity to be the first sport back. I hope that we were able to build our fan base and we got some new fans watching and hopefully they continue to watch."
There will definitely be a great deal for fans to watch in the coming weeks with the hectic schedule in place that includes the unique experience of racing twice in Daytona and two distinctly different layouts. Stock cars have never competed on the track’s road course used annually for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and other sports car races.
"It’s going to be interesting to go to a road course that none of us have been to, I guess some of us have, but none of us have been to in Cup car anyway and not even the teams," Bell said. "That’s going to be a change of pace and then throw in no practice as well. It’s going to be very, very different and I’m excited for the challenge.
"It’s just fun to be able to go out to the races and you don’t know who’s going to be good and who’s going to be bad with no practice. You just have to go out there and figure it out."
Then the series returns just two weeks later to end the regular season for the first time on the 2.5-mile oval track. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 will determine the final grid of drivers that make the playoffs and contend for the championship starting Labor Day weekend in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
"I’d like to be locked in before then," joked Jimmie Johnson, who is vying for a playoff spot and an opportunity to run for an eighth Cup title in his final full-time season. "But certainly with the variables of racing at Daytona throwing playoff implications into the mix should make that night even more interesting."
Take a deep breath everyone because the rest of August promises to be busy, hectic and yes interesting.