RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – As the last few races of the NASCAR season sit upon the horizon, the sport is already looking ahead to the 2016 campaign for its flagship national series. Monday, NASCAR officials announced their schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series, where some changes are also on the horizon.
Among those changes, the Spring races at Richmond International Raceway are moving by one day, with the Sprint Cup Series running on Sunday and the XFINITY Series companion event moving to Saturday.
According to track officials, all events at RIR in April of 2016 will be run in the daytime, a change from this season and the recent past as the track had hosted all of its races, both spring and fall events, under the lights.
“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,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer in statement Monday. “The live event experience always will be important to creating a lifetime fan in NASCAR.
“Among the goals that we set out to accomplish with our track partners was to provide consistency for race fans and the industry stakeholders. 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, OEMs, media and partners.”
NASCAR will kick off the 2016 season against the new backdrop of a completely reimagined Daytona International Speedway. DAYTONA Rising, the speedway’s $400 million redevelopment project, will be complete when both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series launch at Daytona Speedweeks. The 2016 DAYTONA 500 will be held on February 21 and will air live on FOX.
After the DAYTONA 500, NASCAR events will be held the following week at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Both series then will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway for the return of NASCAR Goes West.
“We learned that NASCAR Goes West worked very well in keeping momentum and interest for NASCAR in these markets,” O’Donnell said. “The tracks put a lot of effort behind making it successful and we think it can continue to have a positive impact as it gains traction from being an annual effort. The efficiency of conducting three consecutive events also is helpful to the teams and industry.”
Among the changes to the 2016 schedule:
· Pocono Raceway will host its first NASCAR XFINITY Series event in June, with that series joining the Sprint Cup Series for a companion event at the famed three-turn track.
· The first series stop at Dover International Speedway will move earlier in the schedule, to be held prior to the May events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
· NBC will usher in its 2016 race schedule in July at Daytona with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event moving back to a Saturday evening event.
· The August Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan will move to later in the month.
In addition, NASCAR announced agreements with 23 tracks to field NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the next five years. Additionally, 24 tracks will host NASCAR XFINITY Series races through 2020. With that, it is unlikely that the tracks that make up the series’ schedules will change in the next five years.
2016 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES SCHEDULE
*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE*
2/13 Daytona International Speedway (Sprint Unlimited)
2/14 Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500 Qualifying)
2/18 Daytona International Speedway (Duel)
2/21 Daytona 500
2/28 Atlanta Motor Speedway
3/6 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/13 Phoenix International Raceway
3/20 Auto Club Speedway
4/3 Martinsville Speedway
4/9 Texas Motor Speedway
4/17 Bristol Motor Speedway
4/24 Richmond International Raceway
5/1 Talladega Superspeedway
5/7 Kansas Speedway
5/15 Dover International Speedway
5/21 Charlotte Motor Speedway (NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race)
5/29 Charlotte Motor Speedway
6/5 Pocono Raceway
6/12 Michigan International Speedway
6/26 Sonoma Raceway
7/2 Daytona International Speedway
7/9 Kentucky Speedway
7/17 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
7/24 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
7/31 Pocono Raceway
8/7 Watkins Glen International
8/20 Bristol Motor Speedway
8/28 Michigan International Speedway
9/4 Darlington Raceway
9/10 Richmond International Raceway
2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup Schedule
9/18 Chicagoland Speedway
9/25 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
10/2 Dover International Speedway
10/8 Charlotte Motor Speedway
10/16 Kansas Speedway
10/23 Talladega Superspeedway
10/30 Martinsville Speedway
11/6 Texas Motor Speedway
11/13 Phoenix International Raceway
11/20 Homestead-Miami Speedway
For a full look at the schedules, click here.
Copyright 2015 by Hermes Publications | Content by NASCAR Media Services