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Five can’t-miss NASCAR Cup races in 2019 beyond Daytona 500

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We’re 32 days out from the biggest NASCAR event of the season in the Daytona 500, a race of such importance that needs no explanation.

But what else is there to look forward to?

There are 35 other Cup points races this season and they’re not all created equal.

Here are five races to pay closer attention to this season.

– Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET on Feb. 24 on Fox)

The second Cup race of the season will probably have its biggest spotlight in recent memory when the 1.5-mile track is the first to host the 2019 rules package.

Derived from the 2018 All-Star Race package, it includes a tapered spacer and is intended to provide closer racing. Cars will run 550 horsepower at all tracks 1.33 miles and larger, which includes Atlanta. At tracks less than 1.33 miles, cars will have 750 horsepower.

Combine the hopeful intent behind the package and a rough track surface that’s being kept in place by the “most powerful lobby this side of Washington, D.C.,” and you have no excuse to not tune in and see what happens.

Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (3 p.m. ET on June 30 on NBCSN)

The race that marks the start of NBC’s portion of the NASCAR schedule set an incredible precedent in 2018. The 1.5-mile track debuted in its new spot on the schedule with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch’s dramatic last-lap battle and Busch’s win.

Was it a result of the drivers involved? The hot Chicagoland surface? Lapped traffic?

Yes.

Can it be topped?

We can only hope.

Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen International (3 p.m. ET on Aug. 4 on NBCSN)

From the green flag last year, the Cup race on the New York road course was a barn burner, ending with a duel between Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. that resulted in Elliott’s first Cup win as Truex ran out of gas.

Races on the road course have had increasingly memorable finishes over the last seven years (beginning in 2012 with Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose). WGI shows no sign of providing a snoozer in the near future, especially as long as pit strategy is involved.

Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 29 on NBC)

The final lap of last season’s inaugural Cup race on the Charlotte Roval  had enough drama for three races on the new road course.

From Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson‘s contact in the final turn giving Ryan Blaney the win; Kyle Larson hitting the wall twice and passing a stalled car at the checkered flag to advance in the playoffs; and Aric Almirola passing enough cars to advance himself.

Do teams have the oval-road course hybrid figured out after one year? It’ll be fun to watch that question answered.

First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway (3 p.m. ET on Oct. 27 on NBCSN)

We’re starting to run out of fingers to use to list memorable events in Martinsville’s recent history of hosting a playoff race.

You could argue it started with Dale Earnhardt Jr. banging doors with Tony Stewart to win his only Martinsville clock in 2014.

Since then?

We’ve seen Matt Kenseth’s retaliation against Joey Logano in 2015, which resulted in Jeff Gordon’s final Cup win.

Two years later, Denny Hamlin wrecked Elliott from the lead near the end of regulation. Kyle Busch then won in overtime as Martinsville’s version of “The Big One” unfolded. Afterward, an angry Elliott confronted Hamlin on the track as fans filled the air with cheers and boos.

Last year Truex and Logano provided a thrilling battle over the last six laps. Logano performed the bump-and-run on Truex in the final turn to win the battle in the “damn war” (which Logano also won in Miami).

 

Watkins Glen to host 50th anniversary of Woodstock Music & Arts Festival

Watkins Glen International
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Two weeks after it plays host to the NASCAR Cup Series on Aug. 4, Watkins Glen International will host the 50th anniversary celebration of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival — also known as Woodstock 50 — from Aug. 16-18.

Yes, it’s been 50 years since Woodstock, whose “3 Days of Peace & Music” in mid-August 1969 captivated the world with musical acts including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Santana, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Co-producer and co-founder of the original Woodstock 1969 and now Woodstock 50, Michael Lang, announced Wednesday that the 1,000-acre WGI will host Woodstock 50, the only authorized commemoration of the original fest. Tickets are expected to go on sale first for college students ages 18-25 by the end of January.

“The original festival in ‘69 was a reaction by the youth of the time to the causes we felt compelled to fight for – civil rights, women’s rights, and the antiwar movement, and it gave way to our mission to share peace, love and music,” Lang said in a media release. “Today, we’re experiencing similar disconnects in our country, and one thing we’ve learned is that music has the power to bring people together.

“So, it’s time to bring the Woodstock spirit back, get involved and make our voices heard.”

The musical lineup for Woodstock 50 will be announced in the coming weeks, Lang said. The festival will have three main stages and is expected to host a wide swath of artists of various musical genres from rock, hip hop, pop and country music. In additional to contemporary artists, several tribute performances honoring those who played at the first Woodstock will also be held.

WGI has nearly twice the space as the upstate New York farm owned by Max Yasgur, which hosted the original Woodstock Aug. 15-18, 1969. WGI is about 150 miles northwest of the original Woodstock site.

“The original site in Bethel (New York) is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” Lang said. “Watkins Glen International gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock.”

Lang added that when he first saw WGI as a potential host site, he felt “an immediate emotional connection to the land. It’s a beautiful location and an ideal site.”

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NASCAR Cup Series race start times announced for 2019

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NASCAR has announced its race start times for the 2019 Cup Series season, with a notable change in start time for the playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After a start time of 3 p.m. ET this year, next season’s race will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on NBCSN.

“Moving the start time for the September race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is fitting because it will deliver a better experience for our fans attending the race, and kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in primetime,” said Steve Herbst, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Broadcasting and Production in a press release. “Each race weekend, including Las Vegas, is unique, and we work collaboratively with broadcast partners, teams and tracks to ensure the ideal timing is selected for our events.”

Other notable start times:

  • The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
  • The March 31 race at Texas Motor Speedway will start one hour later, moving from a 2 p.m. ET start to 3 p.m. ET. The race also moves to FOX.
  • The start time for New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s July 22 starts one hour later, moving from 2 p.m. ET to 3 p.m. ET.
  • Martinsville Speedway’s Oct. 28 playoff shifts a half-hour later to a 3 p.m. ET start.

Here’s the full schedule with start times and TV and radio networks:

DATE

RACE

NETWORK

RACE START (ET)

RADIO

Sun, Feb 10, 2019

Daytona 500 Qualifying

FOX

12:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Feb 10, 2019

The Clash

FS1

3:00 PM

MRN

Thu, Feb 14, 2019

Duel at Daytona

FS1

7:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Feb 17, 2019

Daytona 500

FOX

2:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Feb 24, 2019

Atlanta

FOX

2:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Mar 03, 2019

Las Vegas

FOX

3:30 PM

PRN

Sun, Mar 10, 2019

ISM Raceway

FOX

3:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Mar 17, 2019

Auto Club Speedway

FOX

3:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Mar 24, 2019

Martinsville

FS1

2:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Mar 31, 2019

Texas

FOX

3:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Apr 07, 2019

Bristol

FS1

2:00 PM

PRN

Sat, Apr 13, 2019

Richmond

FOX

7:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Apr 28, 2019

Talladega

FOX

2:00 PM

MRN

Sun, May 05, 2019

Dover

FS1

2:00 PM

MRN

Sat, May 11, 2019

Kansas

FS1

7:30 PM

MRN

Sat, May 18, 2019

All-Star Open

FS1

6:00 PM

MRN

Sat, May 18, 2019

All-Star Race

FS1

8:00 PM

MRN

Sun, May 26, 2019

Charlotte

FOX

6:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Jun 02, 2019

Pocono

FS1

2:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Jun 09, 2019

Michigan

FS1

2:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Jun 23, 2019

Sonoma

FS1

3:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Jun 30, 2019

Chicagoland

NBCSN

3:00 PM

MRN

Sat, Jul 06, 2019

Daytona

NBC

7:30 PM

MRN

Sat, Jul 13, 2019

Kentucky

NBCSN

7:30 PM

PRN

Sun, Jul 21, 2019

New Hampshire

NBCSN

3:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Jul 28, 2019

Pocono

NBCSN

3:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Aug 04, 2019

Watkins Glen

NBCSN

3:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Aug 11, 2019

Michigan

NBCSN

3:00 PM

MRN

Sat, Aug 17, 2019

Bristol

NBCSN

7:30 PM

PRN

Sun, Sep 01, 2019

Darlington

NBCSN

6:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Sep 08, 2019

Indianapolis

NBC

2:00 PM

IMS

Sun, Sep 15, 2019

Las Vegas

NBCSN

7:00 PM

PRN

Sat, Sep 21, 2019

Richmond

NBCSN

7:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Sep 29, 2019

Charlotte

NBC

2:30 PM

PRN

Sun, Oct 06, 2019

Dover

NBCSN

2:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Oct 13, 2019

Talladega

NBC

2:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Oct 20, 2019

Kansas

NBC

2:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Oct 27, 2019

Martinsville

NBCSN

3:00 PM

MRN

Sun, Nov 03, 2019

Texas

NBCSN

3:00 PM

PRN

Sun, Nov 10, 2019

ISM Raceway

NBC

2:30 PM

MRN

Sun, Nov 17, 2019

Homestead-Miami

NBC

3:00 PM

MRN

 and on Facebook

NASCAR unveils 2019 K&N Pro Series East schedule

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR
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The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will race 13 times in 2019, including six times on tracks that also run NASCAR Cup races.

The season begins Feb. 10 at New Smyrna (Florida) Speedway and ends Oct. 4 at Dover International Speedway.

South Boston (Virginia) Speedway will host twin 100-lap features on May 4, the second consecutive year the .400-mile track has done so. Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway will host the third annual NASCAR Throwback with the K&N Series on June 15.

The East Series will go head-to-head twice with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – July 26 at Iowa Speedway and Aug. 24 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.

2019 K&N Pro Series East Schedule 

Feb. 10 – New Smyrna (Florida) Speedway

April 6 – Bristol Motor Speedway

May 4 – South Boston (Virginia) Speedway *

June 1 – Memphis International Raceway

June 15 – Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway Motorsports Park

July 20 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 26 – Iowa Speedway

Aug. 2 – Watkins Glen International

Aug. 15 – Bristol Motor Speedway

Aug. 24 – Gateway Motorsports Park (Madison, Illinois)

Sept. 21 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Oct. 4 – Dover International Speedway

  • Twin 100-lap races

 

Bump & Run: Who had more impressive Watkins Glen performance?

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Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen was 2 hours and 13 minutes. Too short? Just right? Or did you even notice?

Nate Ryan: It seemed to go by quickly, but that also could have been because it was so highly entertaining. I didn’t know the actual duration until now, but that length seems perfect. If NASCAR can consistently package that amount of drama and storylines into that window of time, that’s the sweet spot for how a race unfolds.

Dustin Long: Didn’t notice. The racing was entertaining and the drama was taut. Shows that a race at just over two hours can be satisfying. Didn’t see anyone complaining the race wasn’t three hours or longer.

Daniel McFadin: It’s almost in that sweet spot. The race could stand to be padded by 10 laps, with five added to each of the first two stages. Other than that, I was a happy camper on Sunday.

Dan Beaver: Much too short. Road racing’s popularity is on the rise and with limited slots on the Cup schedule, one way to give the fans more would be to extend the races. And an excellent way of doing that at the Glen would be to add the extra half mile or so of the boot.

Who had the more impressive drive Sunday at Watkins Glen: Chase Elliott in battling Kyle Busch early and then Martin Truex Jr. late for the win or Kyle Busch for charging up to third without the aid of a caution after his issues on pit road?

Nate Ryan: A strong case can be made for Kyle Busch because there probably is no other Cup driver who could make a swift rally so efficiently. But Chase Elliott bookended his first career victory by winning two battles against probably the reigning two greatest drivers at Watkins Glen. Give a slight edge to the No. 9 for most impressive.

Dustin Long: While Chase Elliott’s drive was impressive, Kyle Busch’s drive was memorable. Busch was right after the race. He drove his “ass off” after falling to 31st after the pit road issue.

Daniel McFadin: Chase Elliott. Not just because he bested two members of the “Big 3,” but because he did it in such dominating fashion and with a tenacity Elliott hadn’t shown before Sunday.

Dan Beaver: The heart says Elliott because a first time winner is always a great story – but the head has to go with Kyle Busch’s drive from the back. It ranks as one of many great runs for him at the Glen.

Will there be any more new winners in the final four races before the playoffs? If so, who do you think it will be?

Nate Ryan: If there is one, it’ll be Daniel Suarez this Sunday at Michigan.

Dustin Long: Two more. Hard to think Kyle Larson won’t win before the playoffs. And I’ll throw out Ryan Blaney as joining the young drivers in Victory Lane.

Daniel McFadin: The possibility of Kyle Larson winning at Michigan is high, but I’m looking more to Bristol. Both Larson and Ryan Blaney had strong days there in April before Blaney was caught in a wreck while leading and Larson was passed by Kyle Busch with six laps to go. It’ll be interesting to see if Bubba Wallace’s team can improve on their brief time at the front in that race.

Dan Beaver: Now that the Big 3 have proven to be beatable, Kyle Larson will do just that at Michigan this Sunday.