NASCAR reveals schedule through end of Cup regular season

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NASCAR has revealed its updated schedule through the end of the Cup regular season, plus dates for the Xfinity, Trucks and the ARCA Menards series.

The stretch of announced races begins Aug. 7 and ends on Aug. 30.

The Cup Series schedule includes doubleheaders at Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 8-9) and Dover International Speedway (Aug. 22 – 23) and two visits to Daytona International Speedway.

While the Cup regular season will end on Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval (Aug. 29), the first visit to the track will be for a race on Daytona’s road course (Aug. 16), which replaces the originally scheduled race at Watkins Glen International that was canceled because of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in New York.

All three national series and ARCA will hold races on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.

“Daytona International Speedway has a storied history like no other in motorsports,” track president Chip Wile said in a release. “The sport of NASCAR gets to add a surprise chapter of road course racing to the venue’s legacy. Throughout the years, we have had many memorable moments with sports cars and motorcycles, but now NASCAR will take center stage on the road course at the World Center of Racing.”

Complete details on the road-course weekend, including fan attendance, are being finalized and will be announced in the near future.

These will be the first NASCAR points races held on Daytona’s road course. The Cup Series originally was set to debut on the road course with next year’s Busch Clash.

This will be the first season without a NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International since the Cup Series returned there in 1986 after a 21-year absence.

The layout of the Daytona road course.“This is an unprecedented time in the history of our nation and Watkins Glen International,” WGI President Michael Printup said in a release. “The dynamic situation we are all confronting is impacting our daily lives and activities in unimaginable ways. While we are disappointed we will not experience NASCAR in New York this year, as we look broadly at the current pandemic in our country and around the world, we must focus first on everyone’s safety and well-being as NASCAR seeks the best way to continue delivering a remarkable on-track product week after week.”

The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Daytona (Aug. 16) has been realigned from Iowa Speedway. The Truck Series also will not race at Eldora Speedway (originally scheduled for July 30) and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (originally scheduled for Sept. 6). Those races will be realigned to dates and locations to be determined.

“As a community, racers and race fans need to heed the advice of our local doctors and nurses: practice social distancing; wear a cloth face covering, bandana or mask; wash your hands; and keep sanitizer at the ready,” Roger Slack, general manager of Eldora Speedway, said in a release. “The virus knows no county line or state border and it’s on all of us to do our part to stop the spread. Until we do so, Eldora and a lot of speedways are going to sit empty.”

The Xfinity Series will not race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (originally scheduled for May 30) and Michigan (originally scheduled for June 6). Those races will be realigned to dates and locations to be determined.

The Truck Series race at Gateway at WWT Raceway on Aug. 30 will be part of a same-day doubleheader with IndyCar. Fans will be allowed to attend the event.

Below is the full schedule slate announced by NASCAR.

(ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN)

Aug. 7 at Michigan: Truck race (6 p.m. on FS1)

Aug. 8 at Road America: Xfinity race (Noon on NBCSN)

Aug. 8 at Michigan: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 9 at Michigan: ARCA race (1 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 9 at Michigan: Cup race (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Aug. 14 at Daytona road course: ARCA race (5 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 15 at Daytona road course: Xfinity race (3 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 16 at Daytona road course: Truck race (Noon on FS1)

Aug. 16 at Daytona road course: Cup race (3 p.m. on NBC)

Aug. 21 at Dover: ARCA race (2 p.m. on Trackpass)

Aug. 21 at Dover: Truck race (5 p.m. on FS1)

Aug. 22 at Dover: Xfinity race (12:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 22 at Dover: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 23 at Dover: Xfinity race (1 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 23 at Dover: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 28 at Daytona: Xfinity race (7:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 29 at WWT Raceway: ARCA race (6 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 29 at Daytona: Cup regular season finale (7:30 p.m. on NBC)

Aug. 30 at WWT Raceway: Truck race (Noon on FS1)

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

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“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Though Castroneves is out, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Mayweather’s The Money Team Racing still is considering IndyCar driver Conor Daly for its seat.

Fire at Reaume Brothers Racing shop injures three

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A Thursday fire at the Reaume Brothers Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, injured three individuals, according to Mooresville (North Carolina) Fire-Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the shop, which is scheduled to field entries for driver Mason Massey in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire department extinguished the blaze quickly. The department stated on its Facebook page that one individual was transported to Lake Norman Regional hospital for smoke inhalation, and another was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. with burn injuries. A third was treated and released.

The Mooresville Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department said the shop sustained “significant fire damage.”

In a tweet, the team said it is determining the extent of damage to the building. “More importantly,” it said, “a few of our team members did sustain injuries during the fire and are being transported for medical treatment.”

Trackhouse, RFK Racing, Front Row Motorsports sign sponsorship deals

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Trackhouse Racing, RFK Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced sponsorship deals Thursday morning.

Trackhouse said WWEX, a Dallas-based global logistics group, will increase its sponsorship presence with the team this year, serving as the primary sponsor in 21 races for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

WWEX will appear on Chastain’s Chevrolets in 19 races and will sponsor Suarez twice. The organization was a Trackhouse sponsor in 11 events in 2022, which was a breakout season for both Chastain and Suarez.

RFK announced that Solomon Plumbing, which joined the team last season, will expand its presence this season and in future years. The Michigan-based company will serve as the primary sponsor for several races on driver Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Ford.

MORE: Chase Briscoe signs contract extension with Stewart-Haas

Solomon specializes in plumbing and fire services for new development and construction. It initially sponsored Keselowski last season in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports has signed Quincy Compressor, a Bay Minette, Ala.-based compressor manufacturer, as a sponsor for four races.

Quincy will sponsor Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team in three events and Michael McDowell‘s No. 34 team in one race.

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to contract extension

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Chase Briscoe has signed a multiyear contract extension to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Thursday.

The length of the deal was not announced.

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Briscoe is entering his third Cup season with the team. He won his first series race last year, taking the checkered flag at Phoenix last March. That victory put him in the playoffs. He finished the season ninth in the standings. 

“It’s huge to have stability, with my team and my partner,” Briscoe said in a statement from the team. “It just gives you more confidence. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I want to be for a long time. It’s the place I’ve known longer than anywhere else in my NASCAR career.

“I remember getting signed by Ford in 2017 and I told people, ‘You know, if I could pick one place to be, it would be Stewart- Haas Racing. And if I could drive one car, it would be the 14 car. That would be the ultimate dream.’ And now, here I am.

“SHR has such a great group of people, from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series, and they’ve all just guided me in the right direction. From drivers to crew chiefs to crew members, they’ve always had my back, and that’s been a huge help – just having people believe in you.”

The 28-year-old Briscoe has been with SHR since 2018. He split a limited Xfinity schedule that season between what is now RFK Racing and SHR. He ran full time with SHR in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and ’20 before moving to Cup in 2021.

“Chase has made the most of every opportunity and the proof is in the results. Keeping him at SHR was a priority and we’re proud to have him in our racecars for many more years to come,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, in a statement from the team. 

Briscoe’s signing comes two weeks after teammate Kevin Harvick announced that this will be his final season in Cup. 

The Cup season begins Feb. 5 with the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before going to Daytona for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.