The NASCAR Cup Series schedule for 2020 is notable simply because of the massive changes that have been made and will continue to be made. Multiple races have moved dates for 2020, creating a scheduling shakeup that is sure to impact how the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion is decided.
The biggest change as it pertains to the Cup Series playoffs, many say, is the fact that Daytona’s second date on the schedule is now the last race of the regular season. Such an unpredictable and wide-open event being the last chance for teams to make the playoffs is a formula for made-for-TV chaos.
Among the other big changes, which are detailed below: Pocono Raceway hosts a doubleheader in June — one race on Saturday and one on Sunday. Homestead-Miami Speedway no longer hosts the championship race; now Phoenix Raceway gets that honor. The Bristol night race is now a playoff race. The Brickyard 400 is now the series’ July 4th weekend showcase.
“The fans and the industry as a whole have been vocal about the desire for sweeping changes to the schedule, and the 2020 slate is a reflection of our efforts to execute against that feedback,” NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said when the schedule was announced last March. “These changes are the result of unprecedented consensus-building with our race tracks and broadcast partners; something we look to continue into 2021 and beyond.”
Below is the complete NASCAR Cup Series schedule for 2020, including start times, TV channels, radio stations and the winners of each race.
NASCAR schedule 2020
NASCAR schedule 2020: Playoff races
NASCAR race schedule changes for 2020
Below are the major changes for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule compared to prior seasons.
— Phoenix Raceway hosts the championship race, marking the first time since 2002 that the Cup Series will finish its season somewhere other than Homestead-Miami Speedway.
— Homestead’s Cup Series date moves to the spring (March 22), making the Dixie Vodka 400 the sixth race of the season rather than the last.
— For the first time in the modern era, the Cup Series has a doubleheader on the schedule. Pocono Raceway hosts the Kids Free 325 on Saturday, June 27 and the Worry-Free Weather Guarantee 350 on Sunday, June 28.
— The Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, which had been an early July staple on the Cup Series schedule, is now the regular-season finale. It’s scheduled for Aug. 29.
— The Southern 500 at Darlington, one of the most prestigious races on the schedule, is now the first race of the playoffs. It’s scheduled for Sept. 6.
— The famous Bristol night race, which previously had been run in August, is now a playoff race scheduled for Sept. 19. It will be the first cut-off race of the postseason.
— The Brickyard 400 moves up to July 4th weekend, replacing Daytona at that point of the schedule.
— The first night race of the season is … Martinsville? The short track that recently installed lights gets its first ever 8 p.m. ET start time on May 9.
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