NASCAR released its 2016 Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series schedules Monday and also announced it has reached five-year agreements with 23 tracks.
That’s significant news because NASCAR has usually worked on a year-to-year basis with its tracks. This allows NASCAR to lock in tracks for the next five years, but not necessarily dates, which will be set each year.
“Among the goals that we set out to accomplish with our track partners was to provide consistency for race fans and the industry stakeholders,” NASCAR vice-president executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said in a statement. “We feel like we have a nice balance of that for 2016. The stability of five-year agreements positions us well to deliver fans with schedules as early as possible over the next several years. This is a new approach for our industry, and one that benefits everyone: fans, tracks, teams, drivers, (original-equipment manufacturers), media and partners.”
The 2016 Cup season will begin as usual in Daytona Beach, Fla., with Speed Weeks, which include the Sprint Unlimited (Feb. 13), Daytona 500 qualifying (Feb. 14) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 18).
Race dates at Charlotte Motor Speedway are May 21 (All-Star race), May 29 (Coca-Cola 600) and Oct. 9 (Bank of America 500).
The Chase will remain at the same 10 tracks and in the same order, beginning with Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 and wrapping up at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20.
“NASCAR and the tracks take seriously our collective responsibility to the fans and each stakeholder to ensure the sport is healthy, strong and growing, so we can deliver great racing to the fans for many decades to come,” O’Donnell said.
NASCAR said the Cup and Xfinity schedules are subject to change.
There were a few changes to both the Cup and Xfinity schedules (NASCAR’s Truck series will be released later) from this season and years past:
▪ Pocono (Pa.) Raceway will host its first Xfinity race June 4, joining the Cup series for a doubleheader weekend.
▪ Richmond (Va.) International Raceway’s spring Cup race moves to Sunday afternoon (April 24) from its usual Saturday night spot.
▪ Dover (Del.) International Speedway’s spring race moves up to May 15, the week before Charlotte’s race weeks.
▪ Daytona’s July race moves back to a Saturday night (July 2) from this year’s Sunday night event. It will be NBC’s first race of the season.
▪ Michigan International Speedway’s August race moves to later in the month (Aug. 28) to accomodate the Summer Olympics on NBC.
2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
Feb. 13: Daytona International Speedway (Sprint Unlimited)
Feb. 14: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500 Qualifying)
Feb. 18: Daytona International Speedway (Duel)
Feb. 21: Daytona 500
Feb. 28: Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 6: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 13: Phoenix International Raceway
March 20: Auto Club Speedway
April 3: Martinsville Speedway
April 9: Texas Motor Speedway
April 17: Bristol Motor Speedway
April 24: Richmond International Raceway
May 1: Talladega Superspeedway
May 7: Kansas Speedway
May 15: Dover International Speedway
May 21: Charlotte Motor Speedway (NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race)
May 29: Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 5: Pocono Raceway
June 12: Michigan International Speedway
June 26: Sonoma Raceway
July 2: Daytona International Speedway
July 9: Kentucky Speedway
July 17: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 24: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 31: Pocono Raceway
Aug. 7: Watkins Glen International
Aug. 20: Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 28: Michigan International Speedway
Sept. 4: Darlington Raceway
Sept. 10: Richmond International Raceway
CHASE FOR SPRINT CUP
Sept. 18: Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 25: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Oct. 2: Dover International Speedway
Oct. 8: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Oct. 16: Kansas Speedway
Oct. 23: Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 30: Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 6: Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 13: Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 20: Homestead-Miami Speedway