NASCAR Air Titan at every race; Kansas, Daytona Duels go under the lights
After much speculation and anticipation, NASCAR announced the 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule on Tuesday, and it is highlighted with a push to primetime for several events and a previously announced move for one of the sport's most historic races.
Next year's slate of Sprint Cup races -- the 13th consecutive year with 36 points races and two additional non-points events -- features more tweaks in time than wholesale changes to established venues and events. An important addition for 2014 will find the NASCAR Air Titan track-drying system at every Sprint Cup race weekend.
"This season has delivered plenty of drama and excitement, and we're anticipating even more for our fans in 2014 now that the Gen-6 car has competed at every track,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations. "Having the Air Titan at each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend allows us to meet a very important goal set by our Chairman and CEO, Brian France: to drastically decrease track-drying time to the best of our ability and ensure our fans in the stands and those watching on TV get to see each race on its scheduled day."
Appropriately, the Feb. 20 Budweiser Duel at Daytona makes its inaugural start under the lights to kick off a new round of primetime weekends.
Other NASCAR Speedweeks activity includes the Feb. 15 Sprint Unlimited and the Feb. 23 Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.
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As previously announced, Texas Motor Speedway will move its annual spring night race from Saturday to Sunday this year -- April 6 -- optimizing its schedule with the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball tournament in Dallas.
And Kansas Speedway will host its first ever Cup race at night on May 10 -- swapping with Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the Mother's Day weekend event. Darlington, in turn, will host NASCAR’s historic Southern 500 on April 12.
Another notable shift in the schedule includes a one-week move forward – March 30 -- for Martinsville (Va.) Speedway's annual spring race.
Other notable dates include the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Sept. 6 regular season finale at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway The two off-weekends are April 20 (between Darlington and Richmond) and July 20 (between New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis).
The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins again at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14 and will feature the same 10 venues in the same order as 2013, ultimately crowning a new champion on Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The television partners remain the same as well with FOX Sports handling the first half of the season, TNT doing six summer races then ESPN/ABC handing the final 17 races in the final year of its contract. FOX Sports 1 will televise events formerly on the SPEED network -- the Duels ad the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – while adding the Sprint Unlimited.
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule
|Feb. 15||Daytona International Speedway (Sprint Unlimited)||FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Feb. 16||Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500 qualifying)||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Feb. 20||Daytona International Speedway (Duels)||FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Feb. 23||Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500)||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|March 2||Phoenix International Raceway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|March 9||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||FOX, PRN, SiriusXM|
|March 16||Bristol Motor Speedway||FOX, PRN, SiriusXM|
|March 23||Auto Club Speedway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|March 30||Martinsville Speedway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|April 6||Texas Motor Speedway||FOX, PRN, SiriusXM|
|April 12||Darlington Raceway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|April 26||Richmond International Raceway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|May 4||Talladega Superspeedway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|May 10||Kansas Speedway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|May 17||Charlotte Motor Speedway (NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race)||FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM|
|May 25||Charlotte Motor Speedway||FOX, PRN, SiriusXM|
|June 1||Dover International Speedway||FOX, MRN, SiriusXM|
|June 8||Pocono Raceway||TNT, MRN, SiriusXM|
|June 15||Michigan International Speedway||TNT, MRN, SiriusXM|
|June 22||Sonoma Raceway||TNT, PRN, SiriusXM|
|June 28||Kentucky Speedway||TNT, PRN, SiriusXM|
|July 5||Daytona International Speedway||TNT, MRN, SiriusXM|
|July 13||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||TNT, PRN, SiriusXM|
|July 27||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||ESPN, IMS, SiriusXM|
|Aug. 3||Pocono Raceway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Aug. 10||Watkins Glen International||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Aug. 17||Michigan International Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Aug. 23||Bristol Motor Speedway||ABC, PRN, SiriusXM|
|Aug. 31||Atlanta Motor Speedway||ESPN, PRN, SiriusXM|
|Sept. 6||Richmond International Raceway||ABC, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Sept. 14||Chicagoland Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Sept. 21||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||ESPN, PRN, SiriusXM|
|Sept. 28||Dover International Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Oct. 5||Kansas Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Oct. 11||Charlotte Motor Speedway||ABC, PRN, SiriusXM|
|Oct. 19||Talladega Superspeedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Oct. 26||Martinsville Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Nov. 2||Texas Motor Speedway||ESPN, PRN, SiriusXM|
|Nov. 9||Phoenix International Raceway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|
|Nov. 16||Homestead-Miami Speedway||ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM|