With Wednesday’s announcement of the 2022 Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series schedules, all three NASCAR national series have revealed their schedules for next season.
Part of that drive has included entering new markets. Next season’s Cup schedule includes the NASCAR Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and a race at World Wide Technology Raceway outside St. Louis.
NASCAR surely hopes those markets will take to Cup like Nashville and Road America did earlier this season. The inaugural Cup races at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway and the 4-mile Wisconsin road course drew big crowds that delivered a great atmosphere.
“To have a sold-out crowd (at Nashville), so much energy around that event, I think it really speaks to the decisions that were made, again, how many fans we have in that Nashville area,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation, said on Sept. 15. “Same thing goes for Road America, as an example. A ton of great fans out there.
“I don’t know if it is eye-opening, but one of the neatest things to see is kind of the reception we’ve had from the fan base and from the industry for a lot of these changes we’ve made within the schedule.”
More changes await across the NASCAR national series in 2022. Let’s take a look…
WHICH TRACKS ARE IN? WHICH TRACKS ARE OUT?
- IN: World Wide Technology Raceway – The 1.25-mile oval near St. Louis, once on the brink of extinction a decade ago, completes its comeback with its first Cup race on June 5, 2022.
- IN: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – The historic stadium will host the exhibition Clash on Feb. 6, 2022, two weeks before the season officially begins Feb. 20 at the Daytona 500.
- OUT: Daytona International Speedway road course – The 3.61-mile circuit has hosted NASCAR tripleheader weekends (Cup, Xfinity, Truck) for the past two seasons, but was “tabled” for 2022 according to Kennedy on Wednesday. He noted that future NASCAR national series races on the circuit was “something that we’ll definitely take a look at.”
- OUT: Pocono Raceway’s doubleheader – The Tricky Triangle hosted Cup doubleheaders in June the past two seasons but will be down to a lone Cup race next season (July 24).
- IN: Portland International Raceway – The 1.964-mile road course will host its first Xfinity race on June 4, 2022. Kennedy said about Portland’s addition: “We’ve seen a lot of growth from a fan perspective in the Pacific Northwest. It’s important for us to get back there and do it in a meaningful way with Green Savoree (Racing Promotions) and the rest of the teams out there.”
- OUT: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Portland replaces Mid-Ohio, which has held Xfinity Series races since 2013. But the undulating road course won’t be without NASCAR next season (see below).
Camping World Truck Series
- IN: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis – The .686-mile bullring is returning to a NASCAR national series schedule for the first time since 2011.
- IN: Sonoma Raceway – When the Truck Series last raced here in 1998, it was still largely based around short tracks and Sonoma Raceway was still Sears Point. Times have changed.
- IN: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – With Mid-Ohio heading for the Truck schedule, you can bet ThorSport Racing, based an hour and a half north in Sandusky, Ohio, has circled this race in red.
- OUT: Watkins Glen International – The Glen hosted this year’s Truck regular season finale, but with falling off the Truck schedule entirely, Pocono will take over that role in 2022.
- OUT: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – COVID-related logistics issues led to the cancellation of this race in 2020 and 2021. It’s those same issues Kennedy cited as a reason for CTMP not being on the 2022 schedule, while adding that NASCAR has kept in touch with the track’s management.
The three Cup playoff elimination races will stay at Bristol Motor Speedway (Round of 16), the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Round of 12), and Martinsville Speedway (Round of 8) next season. But getting to those elimination races will be different.
- Round of 16: Kansas Speedway replaces Richmond Raceway as the second race of the opening round. Richmond’s second Cup race moves to mid-August, joining the final stretch of the regular season.
- Round of 12: Texas Motor Speedway replaces Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the opening race of the second round.
- Round of 8: In a corresponding move, Las Vegas replaces Texas as the opening race of the third round. From Vegas, the playoffs will head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, which replaces Kansas as the second race of the third round.
The Texas-Vegas date swap and addition of Homestead-Miami also impacts the Xfinity Series playoffs.
- Round of 12: Texas replaces Las Vegas as the opening race of the first round.
- Round of 8: Las Vegas replaces Texas as the opening race of the second round. Homestead-Miami replaces Kansas as the second race in that round.
Camping World Truck Series
The Truck Series playoffs are getting a major overhaul. Only the Round of 8 race at Talladega Superspeedway and the championship race at Phoenix Raceway will be left unchanged.
Additionally, the playoffs will start nearly a month earlier. Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis will host the opener on July 29, 2022. World Wide Technology Raceway hosted this year’s opener on Aug. 20.
- Round of 10: The opening round will be completely different. Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis will lead off. Richmond will host the second race. Then comes Kansas, which replaces Bristol as the first elimination race.
- Round of 8: Bristol moves one spot down the calendar to become the opening race of the second round. Following the second race at Talladega, Homestead-Miami will host the second and final elimination race before Phoenix.
- Ben Kennedy on Truck playoff changes: “I think having two short tracks with Lucas Oil and Richmond, along with a mile-and-a-half track, will bring some diversity to that first portion of the playoffs. Then going from Bristol to Talladega to Miami, which always puts on a fantastic race, I think it will be a really great and interesting part of that next round of playoffs before we go to the championship at Phoenix.”
2022 TRIPLEHEADER WEEKENDS
Next season, 17 weekends will feature the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series in points-paying races:
- Feb. 18-20 – Daytona International Speedway
- March 4-6 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- March 19-20 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
- March 26-27 – Circuit of the Americas (Austin, Tex.)
- Apr. 7-9 – Martinsville Speedway
- May 6-8 – Darlington Raceway
- May 27-29 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
- June 4-5 – WWT Raceway (Cup, Truck) and Portland Int’l Raceway (Xfinity)
- June 24-26 – Nashville Superspeedway
- July 9-10 – Atlanta Motor Speedway (Cup, Xfinity) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Truck)
- July 23-24 – Pocono Raceway
- July 29-31 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Cup, Xfinity) and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Truck)
- Sept. 9-11 – Kansas Speedway
- Sept. 15-17 – Bristol Motor Speedway
- Oct. 1-2 – Talladega Superspeedway
- Oct. 22-23 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
- Nov. 4-6 – Phoenix Raceway
Additionally, the May 20-22 weekend at Texas Motor Speedway will include the exhibition NASCAR All-Star Race for select Cup Series drivers, as well as points-paying races for the Xfinity and Truck Series.
EVOLUTION OF THE CUP SCHEDULE
Let’s go back to 2017. At that point, many elements of the Cup schedule felt sacrosanct.
The majority of venues hosted two races. Daytona had Speedweeks and the 4th of July. Sonoma and Watkins Glen were the lone road courses. Mother’s Day and Easter were spent at home.
In the five years since, all of those elements have been swept aside.
The 2022 Cup schedule includes nine tracks that will host two races: A newly reconfigured Atlanta, Richmond, Daytona, Darlington, Kansas, Talladega, Las Vegas, Martinsville and Phoenix. During the 2017 season, 13 tracks hosted two races.
Next year’s run-up to the Daytona 500 will be a mere five days with the Clash’s move to Los Angeles. Daytona moved its summer date from the 4th of July weekend to the regular season finale back in 2020.
And while the Daytona road course won’t be visited in 2022, that still leaves a healthy six road races on the schedule.
This past year at Darlington, the Cup Series raced on Mother’s Day for the first time since 2007. Next year, they’ll end an even longer absence when it comes to Easter.
The Bristol dirt race – that wasn’t on the 2017 schedule, either – will be the first Cup race on Easter since Rusty Wallace won at Richmond on March 26, 1989.