A few things to note with the release of the 2017 NASCAR schedules for the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series:
— Texas Motor Speedway’s spring race moves from Saturday night to Sunday, April 9. That race was scheduled for Saturday night in four of the last five years.
“Between meetings with our fan council, feedback from season-ticket holders and Texas Motor Speedway fans in general, the overall sentiment is that they preferred a Sunday race because it provided a more expansive weekend of activities,’’ said Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway.
— Times have not been set for next year’s races. That will come much later. Provided the races have similar start times as this year, there will be eight points races at night with Texas moving to Sunday afternoon. If so, that would mean that NASCAR would go from 10 points races at night in 2015 to eight in 2017.
Richmond’s spring race moved from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon this season. Much of the push by the industry that weekend was about getting children to the track. Children rode in the pickup trucks with drivers before the race during intros, and many competitors made comments about families being able to take children to a Sunday afternoon race that weekend.
— The 10 Chase tracks remain the same, but Kansas Speedway will be the final race in the second round after flipping with Talladega Superspeedway. Since eliminations were added to the Chase, Kansas Speedway has been shifted to every slot in the second round. The track was the opening race in the second round in the 2014 Chase, moved to the middle race last year and will be the cutoff race in that round next year.
— The 10 Chase tracks have remained the same since 2011.
— There are two off-weekends on the Sprint Cup schedule in 2017. There were three off weekends this season. The series will be off April 16 for Easter and Aug. 27. The August off-weekend comes between the races of Bristol (Aug. 19) and the Southern 500 (Sept. 3).
— Sprint Cup drivers who will celebrate birthdays at the track next year: Casey Mears (March 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Jimmie Johnson (Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway to open the Chase) and Chris Buescher (Oct. 29 at Martinsville Speedway),
— The Xfintiy/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader at Atlanta returns on March 4. It’s the only time next season both series will race on the same day at the same track.
— The Xfinity Series again will bunch its road courses together with three in four weeks. The series will race Aug. 5 at Watkins Glen, Aug. 12 at Mid-Ohio and Aug. 26 at Road America. Only Bristol (Aug. 18) separates those events.
— The Truck season again will have several weekends off early in the season. After opening Feb. 24 at Daytona and going to Atlanta on March 4, the series is off until April 1 at Martinsville. After that, the series doesn’t race again until May 12 at Kansas.