Human Slug Jim Utter– The proposed schedule has undergone several revisions over the past several weeks but barring last-minute alterations, the following changes appear set to take effect next season:
The second Cup date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which Speedway Motorsports Inc. moved from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, will serve as the kickoff race to the Cup series playoffs, replacing Chicagoland Speedway.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has traditionally hosted its lone Cup event in late July, will become the 26th race of the Cup season and the last chance for drivers to win their way into the playoffs.
Richmond International Raceway, which has hosted the 26th race since the playoff format debuted in 2004, will become one of the 10 playoff races, adding a second short track to the 10-race run to the championship.
Chicagoland Speedway, which has traditionally kicked off the playoffs, will likely move into the regular season.
NASCAR appears to be making some changes to the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. No new tracks will be added of course but it appears some dates will be moving around which in return does little in the grand scheme of things.
In 2018 Richmond will no longer be the cut off race for the playoffs. Instead the cut off race will be Indianapolis which will move from its late July date to early September. The race date change and placement before the playoffs won’t make it any better of a show. The average temperature around that date is 78-80 degrees which is far better than the scorcher in late July. The on track product is lacking immensely. At some point the product has to speak for itself, living off the history and mystique can only go so far.
No longer will it be the cut off race to the playoffs. Instead it will now be included in the chase which adds a short track to the playoffs after New Hampshire got the boot in favor of another 1.5 mile track in Las Vegas. Richmond is a short track, the racing is decent but the race the past few years has been boring. Not sure moving it into the playoffs will be better.
This mediocre 1.5 miler will be moved into the regular season. But remember Las Vegas will be in the playoffs so there will still be five 1.5 mile tracks in the playoffs. No one even remembers a Chicago race. Justin Labonte is the only Chicago race I remember. Also Jeff Gordon wrecking Kenseth for the win, Harvick won the first two races there and that gigantic Tropicana Orange rolling down the track.
Doesn’t Change Anything
None of these changes are exciting or will do anything to make the racing more exciting. Indianapolis will always be a mediocre show. Chicagoland and all mile and half’s are incredibly awful with all the downforce the cup cars have. Charlotte may run their road course next season which will certainly be interesting. Indy has also discussed running their road course. Unfortunately for everyone the NASCAR schedule is set for the next 3 years before they can drop or add another track. One of the worst NASCAR decisions in history.