The 2021 NASCAR season is expected to be the greatest season yet. Why? Well, the NASCAR Cup Series will race on seven road courses, a handful of new tracks, and for the first time since 1970, the Cup Series will race on dirt!
This historic season started with change right out of the gate. Daytona Speedweeks, which usually stretches across two weekends, was condensed down to just six days.
This was done in part because the Super Bowl was in Tampa this year on the same weekend Speedweeks usually starts, and NASCAR didn’t want any conflicting schedule with the big game.
So the BUSCH Clash, which usually is run on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon was moved to Tuesday night. This race was also moved to the Daytona Road Course instead of it running at the Superspeedway.
Daytona 500 qualifying, which usually happens on Sunday, a whole week prior to the Daytona 500, was held on Wednesday night in prime time.
One additional change was the ARCA race, which usually happened on the Saturday before the BUSCH Clash, was moved to before the xFinity race on Saturday before the 500.
Things that didn’t change on the Speedweeks schedule are The Duels, two qualifying races, they stayed on their Thursday night date.
The NASCAR Truck Series opener continued the tradition of a Friday night race, and the NASCAR xFinity Series stayed on their Saturday afternoon slot.
The Daytona 500 stayed put on the schedule, concluding the week’s worth of activities.
There has been a lot of backlash from the NASCAR community with the schedule shake up, mostly revolving around the BUSCH Clash and the Daytona 500 qualifying. People don’t like change, and NASCAR traditionally runs on the weekend.
So when things changed to racing on a Tuesday and Wednesday night, there was going to be a couple people who oppose it.
I personally didn’t mind the condensed schedule. I love when we have racing events happening every night. I honestly wasn’t a fan when they raced Saturday and Sunday then took Monday-Wednesday “off” to return Thursday. Being a student, Monday through Wednesday always seemed to drag on.
Back in 2014, NASCAR filled the Monday-Wednesday stretch with short track racing on a makeshift flat track on the backstretch. They had racing in prime time on those days and it was awesome.
No matter what they do in 2022, I’ll be happy. I liked the consecutive nights of racing and I think it worked well for NASCAR and the teams by saving them money on hotel, food, etc.
Of course, though, it’s NASCAR’s choice on what happens schedule wise based on feedback from fans, drivers, and teams.
Congratulations to Michael McDowell on winning the Daytona 500! First career win! Such a great first win, the Super Bowl of motorsports!