NASCAR announced some major changes to its already ‘different than usual’ schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. The 2021 schedule, which already had six road courses, will now have a seventh with another race at the Daytona International Speedway’s Road Course in February.
The track that suffers is the Auto Club Speedway in California. It was supposed to host the Cup and Xfinity Series races on February 27 and 28. However, the Daytona road course will not host the races that weekend. The Daytona races, for all three national series, will take place the weekend before, from February 19-21.
As a result, the Daytona road course races follow the Daytona 500, scheduled for February 14. The Homestead-Miami Speedway originally had the February 19-21 window, but will now host its Cup and Xfinity Series races on February 27 and 28.
The coronavirus pandemic forced several changes to the 2020 NASCAR schedule as well. These changes for the 2021 season were also a result of uncertainty in the California area because of the pandemic.
This move also makes the Busch Clash more important, as it will be held on the same track, just days before the points race. Many view the Busch Clash, which is an exhibition race, as a way to warm up for the start of the series, for those eligible to run it. However, this time, the race will give the participants a good look at what they can expect in the points race.
Earlier, the first road course race of the season was scheduled in May at the Circuit of the Americas. Now, the teams will have to prepare road course-specific cars a lot earlier than originally required.
The Daytona road course held its first NASCAR race earlier this year. All three national series ran there in August. The 2021 race makes it seven road course races on the calendar, which is 20% of the entire Cup Series schedule.
The Auto Club Speedway will miss out on a NASCAR race for the first time in 24 years. Earlier, the track announced plans to reconfigure its 2-mile oval into a half-mile short track. They confirmed that plans are still in place for the same, but that will not take place until the end of the 2022 race there.
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