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Tracks Gained and Tracks Lost on the NASCAR Schedule in the 2020s

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

If one thing has been certain about the NASCAR schedule throughout the 2020s, it’s that there has been constant change. Tracks have come and gone from the schedule as the decade has progressed, and, today, we have compiled all of the tracks that have been gained or lost from the schedule throughout the years.

  • Tracks eligible for this list are any race tracks that were on the original schedule for at least. one season through the entire decade of the 2020s that no longer hosts the Cup Series or tracks that were new to the sport during this time frame. Tracks that were consistently a part of the schedule before 2020 are ineligible.
  • This article will show fans exactly how much change has happened to the NASCAR schedule throughout the years. There have been plenty of gains, but, there have been some major losses as well.
  • Fans are very passionate about the schedule. Whether that is tracks to bring back to the schedule or tracks to drop.

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Tracks Lost

Chicagoland Speedway (Last Race: 2019)

Chicagoland Speedway was originally on the 2020 schedule, but, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the race. NASCAR never returned to the 1.5-mile facility, and fans were disappointed. While the track was seen as a cookie-cutter, some solid races in previous years made fans feel the track was entering a “Golden Age”. However, NASCAR was not done with the market.

Kentucky Speedway (Last Race: 2020)

Kentucky Speedway had one last hurrah in 2020 during the pandemic with a 4-wide battle for the win on the last lap. However, a recent reconfiguration made the track unpopular amongst the fans, so, NASCAR moved on. Kentucky Speedway now serves as a car storage lot, and any hopes of NASCAR returning seem to be quenched.

Daytona Road Course (Last Race: 2021)

The Daytona Road Course was originally added as a replacement for Sonoma on the pandemic-revised 2020 schedule, but, NASCAR decided to return to the track in 2021. However, hosting 3 races at the same venue proved to be too redundant, and, with the recent influx of other road courses like Road America and Circuit of the Americas, the Daytona Road Course just did not serve a purpose.

Road America (Last Race: 2022)

Road America was a popular addition to the calendar as a replacement for Chicagoland Speedway in 2021. An estimated crowd of over 100,000 fans turned out for the first Cup Series race there in over 60 years, but, the return was short-lived. With the Chicago Street Race joining the schedule in 2023, NASCAR did not see the purpose of returning the Cup Series to Road America.

Auto Club Speedway (Last Race: 2023)

NASCAR announced they had sold much of Auto Club Speedway’s land in 2020 with plans to reconfigure the facility into a short track. In 2023, the sale had finally closed, and NASCAR was forced to host their last race at the 2.0-mile facility. Motorsports fans were sad to see the track go as it had hosted good races, and it was where the fastest lap in auto racing history was turned by Gil DeFerran in 2000.

Bristol Dirt (Last Race: 2023)

In 2021, NASCAR decided to return to dirt by turning Bristol Motor Speedway into a dirt track. The move was highly controversial as some liked NASCAR diversifying, but, others were not happy that NASCAR took a date away from a very popular track to do so. In 2024, the spring race at Bristol will be back on the concrete, but, Bristol Dirt had some interesting moments.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (Last Race: 2023)

To spice up the show at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR elected to race on the infield road course instead of the Indianapolis oval. However, fans and drivers felt racing on the road course was not the same as racing on the oval, and the racing product at the track was hit-or-miss. Many grew weary of the first-turn pileups on restarts.

Tracks Gained

Circuit of the Americas (First Race: 2021)

After years of Eddie Gossage kicking and screaming for no NASCAR race at COTA, NASCAR finally went to COTA in 2021. The first race was marred by weather, but, the next two races were very well-received by fans. Given that this is one of the newest purpose-built road courses in the United States, it’s a no-brainer for NASCAR to keep coming back.

Nashville Superspeedway (First Race: 2021)

While NASCAR and SMI have been courting the Nashville Fairgrounds for some time, in 2021, they did the next best thing. Nashville had welcomed NASCAR with open arms by hosting the NASCAR Awards in 2019, so, NASCAR gave them a race in 2021. Fans have shown great support for the race with 2 sellouts in 3 years.

LA Coliseum (First Race: 2022)

In 2022, NASCAR did something unorthodox wth their season-opening Clash. They built a 0.25-mile race track on top of the USC football field at the LA Coliseum. While the future of the venue hosting NASCAR is uncertain, many have applauded NASCAR for thinking outside of the box.

Gateway (First Race: 2022)

In 2022, the NASCAR Cup Series made its long-awaited debut at World Wide Technology Raceway just outside of St. Louis. Much like Nashville, the local market has supported the race well with great crowds in both seasons. 2024 is the final year of the original 3-year contract between NASCAR and the facility, however, so, we will see if NASCAR stays.

North Wilkesboro Speedway (First Race: 2023)

After 26 years of sitting dormant, one of NASCAR’s original tracks came back to life in 2022, and NASCAR made its return in 2023 with the All-Star Race. While the main event itself was not great, the preliminary events, atmosphere, and nostalgic moments made this one of the best weekends of the year. Could North Wilkesboro host a points race in the future?

Chicago Street Race (First Race: 2023)

In 2023, NASCAR hosted its first street race on the streets of Chicago. While the first race was marred by weather, a surprise winner and incredible race made it a major success for NASCAR. It’s uncertain what the future of the event looks like given the current political landscape of the city, but, NASCAR hosting a street race was a major win.

Iowa Speedway (First Race: 2024)

In 2024, the NASCAR Cup Series makes its debut at Iowa Speedway. The track previously hosted the Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series, but, NASCAR left there for a few years. A successful IndyCar weekend piqued the interest of NASCAR, and the Cup Series will be in Iowa this June.

The schedule has been changing a lot in recent years. One can only wonder what those changes will be in 2025.

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