NASCAR is all set to become the first major sport’s series in the country to resume competition this Sunday at Darlington Raceway. Its been early March since we last saw a green flag wave to begin a Cup race and it could be that the only thing that will resemble what we were accustomed to seeing each week is what will take place after the green flag waves until the checkered flag waves to proclaim the winner.
NASCAR added three previously unscheduled races to resume the season but that the addition of the three races would not increase the length of the 2020 schedule as it would be kept at 36 points races.
Chicagoland Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Sonoma Raceway all had a race taken away and for Chicagoland and Sonoma it had to be tough as those two tracks only hosted one race each this season.
Richmond still has one race this season as it is scheduled to host its second race on September 12.
Darlington Raceway will host two of the reassigned races as Chicagoland’s June 21 race date has been reassigned to the South Carolina track for May 17.
Darlington’s second race date comes from Richmond’s April 19 date that will now be held at the track on May 20.
Charlotte Motor Speedway picks up an extra race this season to go along with the two that it already had on the original 2020 schedule. The track will be hosting its traditional Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 and will use Sonoma’s June 14 date to host a race on May 27.
Each of the track’s two races will be different lengths and NASCAR has announced the lengths of the stages for each race.
Darlington’s May 17 race will consist of 293 laps (400 miles) and the three stages will end at 90/185/293 laps.
The May 20 Darlington race will be made up of 228 laps (311.4 miles) and its stages will end at 60/125/228 laps.
Charlotte’s 600 mile Coca-Cola’s stages will be the same as in the past as it will be made up of 400 laps broken down into four stages ending on lap 100/200/300/400.
The track’s May 27 race will be only 208 laps (312 miles) and will be broken into three stages ending on lap 55/115/208 laps. There is no official word on the rest of the schedule or when it might be announced but NASCAR will be learning as it goes this weekend as it will be facing issues that only a few months ago could never be imagined.
All of these next four races at Darlington and Charlotte are one day events and no doubt be a learning experience for not only the governing body but also the broadcast partners and the tracks.
FOX was originally scheduled to end its broadcast section of the schedule after the June 14 race at Sonoma but has now said it will be broadcasting the next 12 Cup races.
FOX is forced to wait on where the remaining portion of its schedule will be as some states will open earlier than others which might make for even more changes in the remaining portion of the schedule.
There are still races to make up that were cancelled so it could be that FOX will be broadcasting some more midweek races as NASCAR scrambles to get all 36 races in this season.
PIT NOTES: Matt Kenseth will be making his return to the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at Darlington as he will be behind the wheel of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet replacing the recently fired Kyle Larson. Kenseth was the 2003 Cup champion and posted 39 career wins in the series driving for owners Jack Roush and Joe Gibbs. He now joins a team which has fielded a car that has finished in the top-10 in points in each of the last four years. He also will be rejoining former Roush teammate Kurt Busch which should also help him in regaining the success that he enjoyed throughout his Cup career.