A new wave of firsts in NASCAR’s revised schedule

With NASCAR set to embark on its first wave of the revised 2020 racing schedule this weekend, a second wave has been revealed that will follow suit at the conclusion of May. Compared to the original wave, the new one is bigger and features additional twists from the sanctioning body’s original approach to this year’s schedule.

In a continuous effort to make up the two-month hiatus of racing amid the Coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR revealed the next five Cup races that will occur following the May 27 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Also revealed were the upcoming five Xfinity Series races, two Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races and one ARCA Menards Series race. Tracks that includes Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway have racing dates established after originally being postponed. From the upcoming tracks that are featured in the revised schedule, beginning on May 30, Martinsville and Homestead will provide a first of its own in NASCAR history.

When the original 2020 schedule was revealed in March 2019, Martinsville Speedway, one of NASCAR’s ancient tracks raced on since 1949, was set in making its highly anticipated debut as a night race for the Cup Series. While the first night race at the half-mile Paper Clip track will proceed as planned, it will occur on a Wednesday night, June 10, from its original date, May 9, during Mother’s Day weekend. The last time Martinsville raced on a weekday was in 2018, when rain and snow pushed all on-track activities scheduled for Saturday and Sunday to Monday. This, however, will be Martinsville’s first time hosting a midweek race for NASCAR’s premier series. Martinsville becomes the third Cup event to race on Wednesday night this season, joining Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. This will also be the only NASCAR activity at Martinsville scheduled in June as the Whelen Modified Tour’s return to the track, scheduled on May 8, has been cancelled.

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For Homestead-Miami Speedway, as originally announced, this season will mark the first time since 2001 where NASCAR’s weekend finale will not occur at the 1.5-mile track. Prior to the pandemic, however, Homestead was set to host a triple-header on March 20-22. In NASCAR’s revised schedule, Homestead will host a quadruple-header for NASCAR’s three major touring series, a first in the sport, with two races a piece. In this occasion, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have back-to-back races at the track on the same weekend, a first in the series’ history. The Xfinity Series will run its first race at Homestead on Saturday, June 13, at the conclusion of the Truck Series race the same day before returning on Sunday, June 14, prior to the Cup Series. Saturday’s Xfinity race at Homestead will also serve as a makeup race for Iowa Speedway, originally scheduled for June 13, as NASCAR canceled its events at Iowa this season.

The three additional venues announced in NASCAR’s second scheduling phase, (Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway), will provide a first in the sport. Bristol, which is scheduled to host a doubleheader between the Xfinity and Cup Series on May 30-31, will feature a NASCAR event in May for the first time since 1983. Atlanta, which will hold a triple-header between NASCAR’s major touring series for a sixth consecutive season on June 6-7, will host NASCAR in June for the first time since 1965. Talladega, which will feature the ARCA Menards Series return to racing along with the Xfinity and Cup Series on June 20-21, will feature racing in June for the first time in the track’s history.

Overall, the second phase of the 2020 NASCAR schedule features 13 races spanning 22 days.

The announcement of the sanctioning body’s second phase of a revised schedule comes as NASCAR prepares to return to on-track racing on May 17 in its first of an 11-day span across the Carolinas, from Darlington Raceway to Charlotte Motor Speedway. All scheduled races through mid-June will air on FOX or FOX Sports 1 and occur without fans in attendance as a safety precaution amid the Coronavirus pandemic as NASCAR continues to work with public health officials in monitoring and providing a safe, healthy environment for the drivers and teams for the upcoming races.

Further announcements for the remainder of this year’s NASCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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