NASCAR Introduces Big Changes With 2021 Cup Series Schedule

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Five Decades In The Making: NASCAR Introduces Three New Tracks,

Two New Layouts to 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Historic Slate Includes Three New Road Courses and First Dirt Race in Half A Century

NASCAR today announced the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, a historic slate that includes the introduction of three new racetracks – and new layouts at two iconic venues – to the sport’s top level.

Not since 1969 has NASCAR added this many new venues to its premier series schedule.

The 36-race slate includes races at three new road course layouts, and the first Cup Series dirt race in more than 50 years.

The road course at Circuit of the Americas (May 23) joins the schedule for the first time, Road America (July 4) returns for the first time since 1956 and, after a thrilling debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2020, the Cup stars will race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in 2021 (Aug. 15).

The high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway will transform into a dirt track for a NASCAR Cup Series race on March 28, the first premier series race on dirt since Sept. 30, 1970 (North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C.).

And as previously announced, NASCAR returns to the Music City with a race at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20, which will kick off the NBC Sports portion of the season.

“We developed the 2021 schedule with one primary goal: Continue to take steps to create the most dynamic schedule possible for our fans,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Extensive collaboration between NASCAR, the racetracks, race teams and our broadcast partners allowed NASCAR to create what promises to be an exciting 2021 schedule of races.”

In addition, NASCAR announced the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race’s return to a high-speed 1.5-mile track in 2021, as the annual star-studded event moves to Texas Motor Speedway on June 13 for the first time in its 36-year history.

NASCAR will open its Cup Series season with two consecutive races in Florida. As is tradition, the season will kick off with the running of The Great American Race – the DAYTONA 500 – at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 14 live on FOX before heading south to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 21.

The series will also double down on a pair of familiar venues in markets threaded deep with historical NASCAR ties and passionate fanbases. Cars will hit the track at Darlington Raceway for the first time on Sunday, May 9 and again to kick off the Playoffs on Sunday, Sept. 5 while Atlanta Motor Speedway will host NASCAR’s premier series on Sunday, Mar. 21 and Sunday, July 11.

After an overhaul for the 2020 season, the only change in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will be a swap of dates between Texas and Kansas in the Round of 8. Wholly unpredictable venues – Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 18), the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 10) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 31) – will once again serve as the cutoff races in 2021.

Phoenix Raceway culminates the 10-race Playoffs slate as host of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race for the second consecutive year.

NASCAR Cup Series races in 2021 will once again air on the FOX and NBC family of networks. Start times and specific networks will be announced at a later date. Schedules for the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also be announced at a later date.

Below is the full 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule (Playoff races in bold font)


  1. The official time of death for cookie cutter tracks was 9/30/2020 at 3 pm.
    Not sure how Kansas still has two dates but whatever. New casino going up at Atlanta Speedway. That was the draw there. More southeastern races. California will be a half mile track in 2022. I think the dirt thing is dumb but that’s just me. The All-Star race in Texas is a one year thing. Maybe one too many road courses. Overall, I like it. Lots of changes. Nascar is at least trying while not messing with the oldest tracks.

    So, let’s get down to it. Martinsville owes us a WMT race. April 9th? Push the Icebreaker back a week? I could see local racing starting slow in 2021 so I anticipate plenty of wiggle room in April, May and June before summer hits. Martinsville in November works for me too.

    If ever there was a time for lights at Loudon it is now. I know the deal but it’s time. Get the governor involved if need be.

  2. Aggressive, love the addition of the road courses, and the dirt race. Hope Covid doesn’t screw it all up.

  3. Bristol on dirt???????? Are they talking the high banked concrete covered in dirt???????

    I hope they do testing first.

  4. Bristol high banks with dirt isn’t going to be a dirt race worth watching. Put the dirt on the nearly-flat Martinsville and then we’re talking fun.

  5. Why not just have the dirt race at Eldora? The trucks have been there for years.
    Love circuit of the Americas. Wonder if they’ll run the F1 course in full, or if they’ll shorten it.

  6. Because Bristol isn’t give up the TV revenue of a second race. This is a Fox TV creation. Nascar has not had any formal discussion with the teams about how they will even do this. It’s a TV gimmick. I’d be more for it if this was an all- star race. I have my doubts about a points paying event.

    COTA is actually in financial straights from what I read. This might be a Hail Mary to save the track already.

    I think the Nashville Fairgrounds will be joining the circuit soon along with maybe one other short track. If a track isn’t owned by Nascar, leased by Nascar (RofA) or owned or leased(COTA)by Bruton Smith there is slim chance that track gets added. The rich are always going to keep it in the family Bruton Smith’s family is involved with the Fairgrounds and there is a big push to see them added.

  7. Fast Eddie says

    Looks like less travel for the race teams, but I wonder how some of the tracks will do with events on consecutive weekends in close proximity. Not considering COVID, will many fans go both weekends to Daytona & Homestead, or the Bristol, Martinsville, & Richmond. With those spread out a little more on the calendar, more fans might have a better chance of going to multiple events.

  8. In other news, Hendricks and RCR (ECR) are joining forces to try to get the Chevrolet engines competitive again.

  9. I believe you will find that Bristol previously has run other events on dirt. I am certain they know what they are doing. Should be an interesting event.

  10. The Bristol Dirt Race may have problems keeping the dirt on those high banks , It could turn into a disaster
    if they don’t have the proper engineering to hold the dirt up . Like the idea ,but like Rob said why not just run it at Eldora or a flat track that can hold the dirt. Can you imagine if they have rain leading up to the race and it turns into a mudslide…?? Lots of questions will pop up on this one..??

  11. Youtube Bristol Dirt Race. They did it in 2001. Notice the empty stands back then too. Looks like they will use the clay to take out much of the banking.


    Sounds like all the “stakeholders” were in on the discussions and rather then a Fox Network gimmick it’s been pretty well thought out and at a track that has already pulled it off.
    We whine about Nascar being predictable and boring and this ain’t that. Looks very messy but should get a banner audience.

  13. Thomas Barmstarn says

    Hey JD, They sold out at 50,000 for the WOO at Bristol and at that time it was the largest crowd at any event they ever hosted. The reason it looks empty to you is because no one could sit in the first 20 rows around the track. There is a reason why people dont sit in the corners or up close at a dirt track. Its called dirt clumps that could kill you. Plus Swindell has the track record on that dirt. Great event that was huge success and was fun to watch. Natty Open tomorrow and Saturday $75,000 to win. Thankfully PA has brains and have allowed racing.

  14. It looks interesting… Nice mix of track layouts.

    Bristol seems narrow for Cup cars on dirt. Aren’t WOO cars quite a bit smaller?

    Rob P… You’re right, COTA has had financial issues for a few years now. A stock car race there might be pretty cool.

  15. Bristol has been rebuilt/configured a couple times since 2001, I think it has far more banking now than it did when these races were run. I’ve been to Bristol several times in the current configuration. The turns are steep.

    And we are talking about BIG Cup cars here, not WOO cars. It’s not like there isn’t enough wrecking going on during a normal Bristol Cup race, throw in dirt and this will be a demolition derby.

    If you are gonna do dirt, do it on a typical, nearly flat dirt track.

  16. So successful they haven’t done it again???? 50k is 1/3 capacity. Hardy the largest crowd Bristol every hosted even if they did block off seats. They use to sell out Cup at 150k seats.

    Nascar is looking for support divisions so you may see WOO back there in March.

  17. Thomas Barmstarn says

    Largest WOO event, not largest Bristol event. The reason why they never did it again was because of the mess they had to clean up. For those of us that were actually there, it was an amazing event.

  18. Thomas Barmstarn says

    Dareal just stop yapping. Bristol changed the banking from 36 degrees to 24-30 degrees. You think the new progressive banking is more then before? Clueless wonder. Go change your mask.

  19. Barmstarm, if it was so great, it would happen every year or a couple times a year. I saw the video, the place was empty. That was no 50,000.

    So in other news, the Stewart/Evernham SRX racing series has chosen FURY to supply the chassis.

    Talk amongst yourselves…

  20. Pelosi has been contacted to inform her of the succession protocol.

  21. WeldingWonders says

    “Well, I hate to say it again, but I WAS RIGHT!!!!! I’M RIGHT AGAIN!!!!!”
    “I can say it again, I AM RIGHT AGAIN !!!!!!!!”




    Darealgoodfella says

    October 2, 2020 at 8:22 am
    And we are talking about BIG Cup cars here, not WOO cars. It’s not like there isn’t enough wrecking going on during a normal Bristol Cup race, throw in dirt and this will be a demolition derby.


  22. Rent free.

  23. I’d agree that if you were pondering a good place for a Cup series dirt race the last place you might think of is Bristol. After all why dump a lot of dirt on a state of the art (in 2007) high banked, reinforced concrete track only to have to clean the mess up afterward The thing is some including Dale Earnhart Jr don’t think whatever the track is now is so great.

    Maybe the track isn’t so special now and they didn’t have much to lose.
    The races in 2001 look darned good don’t they? Not just the sprints but those full bodied whatever they are deals going 3 and four wide sometimes. Why not plan for the race to be wildly popular with the dirt fan base as well as Cup series and put it in a venue that has the third largest crowd capacity in the country. Then have a record TV audience watching a completely unpredictable event in front of a monster crowd. Tell me you won’t be tuning in.
    The best part is that the comfort zone and pecking order of the Cup series cars will be torn asunder. Many of the advantages the elite teams have less relevant with drivers factoring in to a greater degree.
    If it ends up wildly successful then why not make a number of dirt races a staple for the season since they’ll have the car. How is messing with that tiered system they have now that makes results a bit too predictable a bad thing?
    I’d ask the dirt guys a question. Are the elite dirt teams always in front or can a lesser car sneak into the top 5 on a regular basis? Does the fact that the horsepower has a harder time getting to the track surface make surprise finishes more frequent? If the top teams struggle in this race and a bunch of mid pack yahoo’s show up in the top 5 that drove the wheels off their cars that could be really fun.
    So they try it, the naysayers are right, the race fails for whatever reason and interest continues to erode with predictable, boring races. Or maybe it’s like the 1979 Yarlborough/Allison fight that caught the nations attention and made a backwater, regional sport the thing to watch mainly because it was unpredictable.

  24. Thomas Barmstarn says

    Hey Dadummy did you go to the dirt race at Bristol? Did you try to buy a ticket for the dirt race at Bristol? Nope, you looked it up on you tube and started yapping your mouth about something you have no clue about once again. Have you ever been to a race? Highly Unlikely.

    57 Cars at the Grove last night for night 1 of Natty Weekend. Packed house. Shane Stewart broke the 18 year old track record. Yet someone said no racing in 2020. 2020 racing season has been absolutely tremendous. $75,000 on the line tonight.

  25. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, my limited dirt attendance with a big dose of aarn says it’s more common to see a non elite car get a top 5 or 10 on dirt than on pavement. I also think the home track advantage is bigger on dirt as well.

  26. Another rent free location.

    Thanks!!! 😊

  27. Thomas Barmstarn;

    Here is one of dareals classic posts; “ JD, anybody that is serious goes to Loudon with a new or refreshed motor. That is standard operating procedure for Loudon. We always had a new or just refreshed motor at Loudon. Specifically tuned for Loudon. Back in the built motor days, some teams had motors that were just for Loudon. Special cams and other stuff. You wouldn’t understand. So, you are late to the game again”.

    Then when asked “Hey dareal, who is the “we” you are referring to? Or is this just another line of BS you won’t substantiate like everything else you post”. His answer, silence!

    Thomas, you will soon learn he is the man, the myth, the legend. Just ask him and he will tell you!

  28. Thanks Eddie. Good to hear.
    Suppose for the purists there is reason to naysay about a dirt rice. I’m pumped about this deal and don’t know jack about dirt except for growing tomatoes. Great season for Jetstar. Hope Preece survives to race on the dirt.
    No word so far. That’s good right?

  29. There’s more #TrumpPandemic COVID-19 coronavirus 🦠 infections in the White House than all of New Zealand. There has been even more than what is happening currently. Probably far more that are being unreported.

    If Trump, who has all the resources of the United States of America at his disposal, can not keep himself and those he works with safe, how could he possibly keep the country and general population safe?

    Look how sickly Trump looks without his paint booth. Uh-oh… better get Maaco. I want Trump to survive so he can experience how history will treat him, and it’s already happening.

  30. Thomas Barmstarn says

    Shawn, The political stuff you allow on here from this guy is plain sick. The excuse about it months ago is that there was no racing. Now there is racing all over the Country and you still allow it. If you allow it to be spoken that means you agree with it. Can no longer read this site because no matter what party you are affiliated with this is pure hate speech.

  31. Thomas Barmstarn,
    “If you allow it to be spoken that means you agree with it.” might be in the Top-10 of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever seen posted here. The political stuff notwithstanding, there are opinions posted here daily that run the gamut of all topics. To say that I only approve comments that I agree with is a statement that is truly beyond the realm of ridiculous. This is an open forum where people are allowed to speak, and as long as they stay within the very simple parameters set forward for this forum, they can post what they want when they want. You can post your gramma’s recipe for Lemon Meringue pie. Does that mean I like Lemon Meringue pie? Nope. Nobody makes you read the comments, and as a matter of fact, it’s very very easy to read the editorial content on this site and never scroll down through the comments.

  32. Thomas Barmstarn posted: “Shawn, The political stuff you allow on here from this guy is plain sick.”

    darealgoodfella posted: “There’s more #TrumpPandemic COVID-19 coronavirus 🦠 infections in the White House than all of New Zealand.”

    This is true. If it makes you sick, take it up with Trump.

    darealgoodfella posted: “If Trump, who has all the resources of the United States of America at his disposal, can not keep himself and those he works with safe, how could he possibly keep the country and population of Americans safe?”

    Trump and all the resources of the United States of America couldn’t keep him safe. He couldn’t keep himself safe. This is an ultimate hypocrisy. 😷 🤢 🤒 🤧 🤮 🤕 This is true. If it makes you sick, take it up with Trump.

    I hope Trump survives so he can face history. And his lenders. His history has already begun.

  33. WeldingWonders says

    “Well, I hate to say it again, but I WAS RIGHT!!!!! I’M RIGHT AGAIN!!!!!”
    “I can say it again, I AM RIGHT AGAIN !!!!!!!!”



    darealgoodfella says
    October 2, 2020 at 8:22 am
    Bristol has been rebuilt/configured a couple times since 2001, I think it has far more banking now than it did when these races were run. I’ve been to Bristol several times in the current configuration. The turns are steep.

    “Angle of banking
    The track long advertised its banking as 36 degrees, which at one time made it the most steeply banked track used by NASCAR. However, BMS now lists its banking at 24 to 30 degrees, reflecting the results of the track’s most recent resurfacing in 2007.
    A Camping World Truck Series open test noted the banking had dropped following resurfacing, to 22–27 degrees, in a variable banking configuration”



  34. Shawn Courchesne says”
    .” You can post your gramma’s recipe for Lemon Meringue pie. ”
    Very true. I posted my heathy ground turkey meatloaf recipe with cranberries and did not receive any negative comments in response. Nor any comments at all for that matter.

  35. So, the President of the United Sates of America, who is in Walter Reed Military Hospital, for a life threatening #TrumpPandemic COVID-19 coronavirus 🦠 infection, took a motorcade photo op joyride around the hospital yesterday.

    Redefining the definition of idiot. Setting the bar even lower for deplorable behavior.

  36. Hey Doug et al, you need directions to Thompson from Enfield?

    Didn’t think so. You should go there some time.

  37. i am hoping with Nascar covering Bristol for the Cup series that perhaps they hold a Sprint car race and or Late model race there the week before or after. Unfortunately Nascar probably wouldnt want to be showed up. A purpose built dirt car is going destroy the heavy cup car in lap times. They held a few Dirt races there around 1999- 2001 for Sprints and Late Models. Everyone says it was a spectacle bordering on scary fast. They took the banking down from around 36 degrees to around 22. Even with less banking, it is said they clocked a sprint car on radar at 160+. That is 20 years ago.

    I dont think the cup race will be all that good. A spectacle and a return to their roots sure, but an entertaining race I doubt it. The cars are too heavy dont have enough horse power to sling out the rear end. They will turn the track into a rubbered down slick track with little bite like eldora truck show. A portion of the field doesnt have much dirt experience. 40 cars on a half mile dirt track they are going to get in each others way frequently. There is going to be a lot of cautions. I will take Stenhouse, Bell or Larson for the win. There may be a few Dirt invaders and you could see some of the less successful teams do well there. Kind of like the wild card that is the Super Speedway shows. I look forward to it and will make a point to try to watch it.

    I honestly like a lot of the changes. It is a nice shake up. Perhaps a little too heavy on the road courses for me but reducing the 1.5 mile cookie cutters is a step in the right direction. Good for Nascar trying something different. I heard they have a new car in 2022 too. Going to be interesting few years for racing at the highest level.

  38. How about a race on the dirt of the Daytona Beach…. You don’t have to move any dirt…

  39. Hey dareal, to coin your phrase “take it up with Trump”. And I don’t mean hiding behind a keyboard using an alias either.

  40. Best article I’ve seen yet on the coming dirt race.
    Everything is on the table and they know the challenges.
    Note the mention of NHMS doing a dirt cup event if this takes off and combining it with the Big Block Modifieds.

  41. In other news, the CDC today re-asserted that the coronavirus travels primarily via the aerosol path, hence masks are crucial.

    Trump is anti-mask.

    Who are you going to believe?

    Hey 🌈JD🌈, NH is getting sicker and sicker. So sorry to read about that. Wish you well.

  42. COVID 19 originated in China and they did a poor job containing it. It then migrated to the U S. It happened during the Trump administration. I don’t care who was President, it was going to happen and we really don’t know how anyone else would have handled it. Why? Because they weren’t President elect.

    Southeastern CT is now having a spike. The reopening is being handled by the Governor so I guess I have to blame him and his advisory staff for the resurgence because he began the phased reopening to soon.

    Arizona after experiencing their resurgence now, has it down to a 4% positivity rate but new cases are still happening every day. And what seems to be driving the new cases is reopening of colleges, schools and businesses. Follow what is going on at ASU with the frats and you will see who some of the biggest offenders are. I guess I have to blame the Governor for reopening to soon for the second time.

    If you notice, the two states I mentioned have governors that are from the opposite political parties. I purposely did that because I did not want to show favoritism either way. Bottom line is they are doing what they have been advised to do and it appears they both missed the mark.

    Since we don’t really know how anyone else would have handled it because that were not the the governor elect it is purely speculation.

    This all boils down to common sense, something that is acquired and can’t be taught. It does not take the president or governor to tell me how to protect my life, that’s called the law of self preservation something I learned from a stint with Uncle Sam. Observe universal precautions and hopefully you will be a survivor and not a statistic.

    This election is all about hindsight being 20/20 so I am just sitting back enjoying the circus.

  43. Yes, Earl, the virus originated in china, and they mishandled it. Yes it did get to the USA during Trump’s presidency, as it would of regardless of who was president. It’s how the administration, Donald Trump, handled it, or didn’t handle it. Now, in October we have over 210,000 people dead. Yes there would have been deaths, but due to Trump’s handling of the situation, or lack thereof many of those 210,000+ deaths could have been avoided. Now he’s back to comparing Covid with the flu. He continues to mislead the American people. Now, he has ended negotiations for a Covid relief package, and gas instructed his Republican Senators to concentrate on his supreme court nomination. Today he returned to the oval office, putting the lives of countless people in jeopardy. The man cares about no one but himself. He needs to get re-elected to stay out of jail. His antics over the last 3 1/2 years have made the USA a laughing stock on the world stage. Now with Could cases rising in almost every state, he has turned hi back on the American people leaving then to essentially fight this virus by themselves. Is Donald Trump really the guy you want as your president for another 4 years? Really ?

  44. And Yes, Earl, common sense tells me to protect myself, and those who are around me. The problem is, most people lack common sense. Until everyone gets on board, and starts listening to the scientists rather than Donald, this virus will persist.

  45. So during one of Trump’s infomercials he released yesterday, he was caught, on video, spewing spittle. Coronavirus laden spittle was gushing from his lie-hole and it was caught on video.

    This is why masks are required.

  46. China didn’t even know what they were dealing with until long after it was out. First of all, they thought it was a flu or other known illness. Then it took weeks for them to figure out it was a new pathogen. By that time, the coronavirus was long gone, the horse left the barn, and unknowing Chinese tourists were touring all around the globe, Europe in particular. The USA infection came PRIMARILY from the Europe route. Europe was majorly infected because of all the Chinese tourists. Then that infection came to the eastern seaboard of the USA. Planes that stopped over, passengers changing planes, etc. was a perfect conduit to spread a highly contagious 😷 pathogen 🦠.

    Look at what is happening with the attempts to reopen schools. The pathogen is spiking at every chance it can. Gatherings of people are like a dish of fresh food for this pathogen.

  47. Gateway might be added in 2022. At the expense of a Pocono Race date.

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