NASCAR releases 2022 Cup schedule

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NASCAR released its 2022 Cup Series schedule Wednesday morning, adding World Wide Technology Raceway to its premier circuit.

The 1.25-mile oval, which has held NASCAR national series races since 1997 with the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, will make its Cup debut Sunday, June 5, 2022.

The track, which is located in Madison, Illinois, near St. Louis, also has been the host of the NTT IndyCar Series for the past six seasons.

The Cup Series schedule will remain at 36 races with Pocono Raceway losing a race after playing host to two annual events from 1982-2021 (the last two years as a weekend doubleheader).

The 2022 season will open Feb. 20 with the Daytona 500, two weeks after the exhibition Clash race will take place Feb. 6 on a quarter-mile oval at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

It’ll be the first appearance by the Clash outside Daytona International Speedway since its 1979 inception (it was held on the road course for the first time this year).

Other notable changes:

  • Homestead-Miami Speedway, which held the season finale from 2002-19, will return to the playoffs as the second race in the third round.
  • Richmond Raceway’s second annual race will move from the playoffs to the regular season. Both of the 0.75-mile oval’s Cup races also will be held on Sunday afternoons (after being held on Saturday nights for most of the last 33 years).
  • Kansas Speedway will move from the third to the first round of the playoffs, and Las Vegas will become the opener of the third round.
  • The Bristol Dirt Race will be moved to a prime-time start on Easter Sunday.

Here’s the 36-race schedule for the 2022 season (start times and TV networks will be announced by NASCAR at a later date):


 Date Race / Track
Sunday, Feb. 6 Clash (L.A. Memorial Coliseum)
Thursday, Feb. 17 Duel at Daytona
Sunday, Feb. 20 Daytona 500
Sunday, Feb. 27 Auto Club (Fontana, California)
Sunday, March 6 Las Vegas
Sunday, March 13 Phoenix
Sunday, March 20 Atlanta
Sunday, March 27 COTA
Sunday, April 3 Richmond
Saturday, April 9 Martinsville
Sunday, April 17 Bristol Dirt
Sunday, April 24 Talladega
Sunday, May 1 Dover
Sunday, May 8 Darlington
Sunday, May 15 Kansas
Sunday, May 22 All-Star Race (Texas)
Sunday, May 29 Charlotte
Sunday, June 5 World Wide Technology Raceway
Sunday, June 12 Sonoma
Sunday, June 26 Nashville Superspeedway
Sunday, July 3 Road America
Sunday, July 10 Atlanta
Sunday, July 17 New Hampshire
Sunday, July 24 Pocono
Sunday, July 31 Indianapolis Road Course
Sunday, Aug. 7 Michigan
Sunday, Aug. 14 Richmond
Sunday, Aug. 21 Watkins Glen
Saturday, Aug. 27 Daytona
Sunday, Sept. 4 Darlington
Sunday, Sept. 11 Kansas
Saturday, Sept. 17 Bristol
Sunday, Sept. 25 Texas
Sunday, Oct. 2 Talladega
Sunday, Oct. 9 Charlotte Roval
Sunday, Oct. 16 Las Vegas
Sunday, Oct. 23 Homestead-Miami
Sunday, Oct. 30 Martinsville
Sunday, Nov. 6 Phoenix

*–Bolded races are in the playoffs

NASCAR Awards: Scene on the red carpet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community gathered at the Music City Center to commemorate the 2022 season and celebrate Joey Logano‘s second Cup title.

The event can be seen at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Here is a look at the scene on the red carpet before Thursday night’s NASCAR Awards:

Joey Logano and Brittany Logano (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle and Samantha Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Elliott (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Alex Bowman and Crystal Marsh (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Tyler Reddick and Alexa De Leon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Daniel Suarez and Julia Piquet (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Briscoe and Marissa Briscoe (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Christopher Bell and Morgan Bell (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Dillon and Whitney Dillon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle Larson (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

William Byron and Erin Blaney (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ross Chastain and Erika Turner (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Cindric (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kurt Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Harrison Burton and Jenna Petty(Photo: Dustin Long)
Mario Andretti (Photo: Dustin Long)

Chase Elliott wins NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott won his fifth consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday.

The announcement was made during the NASCAR Awards at the Music City Center. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Elliott is one of only five drivers to win the award since 1984.

Bill Elliott won it from 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002. Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001. Darrell Waltrip won it in 1989-90. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won it from 2003-17. Chase Elliott has won it every year since.

Noah Gragson was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Xfinity Series. Hailie Deegan was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kevin Harvick to make decision on future by Daytona in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick says he’ll know by Daytona in February his plans beyond 2023.

Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after the upcoming season. 

Harvick said Thursday before the NASCAR Awards that “it could go either way at this particular point” on what he’ll do, but he affirmed that “going into Daytona, I’ll know what I’m going to do.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harvick anticipates making an announcement by then.

“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”

Harvick turns 47 on Dec. 8. Next season will be his 23rd in Cup. His debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick was selected by car owner Richard Childress to drive for Earnhardt’s team. 

Harvick has gone to win the 2014 Cup championship and 60 races at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list.

Harvick won two races last season. His victory last August at Michigan snapped a 65-race winless streak. He followed that by winning the next weekend at Richmond. 

Harvick has won at least two races in nine of the past 10 seasons. He has scored 41 of his 60 Cup wins since he turned 37 years old.

“Kevin, I think, is probably the No. 1 leader of the drivers, as he should be,” two-time Cup champion Joey Logano said Thursday. “He’s been around the longest. He’s very accomplished. He’s very smart. He’s been through the ups and downs. He’s lived it. There’s wisdom in experience. It’s great to hear his opinion on where we are as a sport.”

Harvick’s business interests include a management company that represents Cup drivers Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with other athletes. Harvick also has worked as a broadcaster on NASCAR Xfinity races for Fox Sports, earning positive reviews. 

Harvick’s son Keelan, who is 10 years old, races and has competed in karting in Europe. 

“He’s got one more race in Italy … and then we’ll start all over again,” Harvick said of his son.

Harvick went overseas after the season finale at Phoenix to watch Keelan race.

“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since he’s been making these trips,” Harvick said. “I think it’s important to have that culturing aspect of life to be comfortable to do things like that anywhere in the world.”

The NASCAR Awards program airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3 on Peacock. To sign up for Peacock, go here.

BJ McLeod, Live Fast team move to Chevrolet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Driver/owner BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports will race in Chevrolets beginning with the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Live Fast has been a Ford team.

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Live Fast is owned by McLeod, Matt Tifft and Joe Falk. Jessica McLeod, BJ’s wife, is the team’s chief operating officer.

“Our team is excited to make this transition to Chevrolet,” BJ McLeod said in a statement released by the team. “Chevrolet Camaros have proven great success on the track, and Live Fast Motorsports is looking forward to becoming a part of this advance.”

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The team will use ECR engines.

McLeod had one top-10 finish in 29 starts in the Cup Series last season.