Scott Paddock

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NASCAR realigns dates for Chicagoland, Richmond, Sonoma

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NASCAR announced Friday that events at Chicagoland Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and the April Cup race at Richmond Raceway have been realigned because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicagoland Speedway Cup and Xfinity races have been moved to Darlington Raceway on May 17 and May 19.

Richmond Raceway’s spring Cup race has been realigned to May 20 at Darlington Raceway.

Sonoma Raceway’s Cup event moves to May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That race will be on Charlotte’s oval.

NASCAR stated that further schedule adjustments will be released in the near future.

NASCAR stated: “Due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several race tracks. These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected race tracks. We thank all our fans for their support, and we look forward to our return to racing.”

In a press release, Sonoma Raceway stated that “a workable time when the series could return to the West Coast given the ongoing uncertainty around large events in California could not be confirmed.”

Chicagoland Speedway stated in a press release that the track’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series races also will be realigned.

“The difficult decision to realign our race events was a combination of where we fell on the schedule, proximity to NASCAR’s teams and the safety and well-being of our community and larger NASCAR industry,” said Chicagoland President Scott Paddock in a statement. “We will miss the roar of the engines at Chicagoland Speedway this season, but we will be rooting for and supporting our NASCAR colleagues at Darlington Raceway as competition returns on Sunday, May 17.”

Richmond Raceway stated that it’s April Gander RV & Outdoors Truck race remains postponed for a future rescheduled date.

“As a sport, we continue to be united in the best interests of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, stakeholders, and track personnel,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier in a statement. “There will be brighter and healthier days ahead in the greater Richmond region when NASCAR returns to Richmond Raceway for the NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend on Sept. 11-12. We look forward to NASCAR’s best getting back on the track at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17 as we launch a new countdown to the return of racing in RVA this fall.”

NASCAR has only announced that races from May 17-27 at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR will run four Cup races, two Xfinity races and one Truck race during that time.

As for why the Sonoma race won’t be held on the Charlotte Roval on May 27, a NASCAR spokesperson tweeted a reason:

Chicagoland 2018 race to shift from NASCAR Cup playoff opener to early July

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Among the changes to the 2018 NASCAR Cup schedule announced Tuesday is Chicagoland Speedway will see its traditional mid-September date move to early July.

The 1.5-mile track, located about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, has hosted the opening race of the NASCAR playoffs since 2011.

But come 2018, the track will serve as the first race of NBC Sports’ and NBCSN’s 20-race televised part of the NASCAR Cup schedule. That race will be held on July 1, 2018.

Chicagoland’s spot as the playoff opener will be taken by Las Vegas Motor Speedway (which takes over the former early fall playoff race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway).

Chicagoland’s final playoff opener takes place this Sept. 19 with the Tales of the Turtles 400.

Prior to its first playoff kickoff race in 2011 (won by Tony Stewart), Chicagoland Speedway had its first 10 races in July.

“We’re incredibly excited about the return to July,” Chicagoland Speedway president Scott Paddock told NBC Sports. “We always listen to our fans, and this is something they’ve asked for – a time when the weather in Chicago is perfect, kids are on summer break, and families look to enjoy memorable experiences together, especially around the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”

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