NASCAR justifies the radical changes to the Atlanta Cup race dates in 2024

The 2024 calendar features 36 races and will conclude the season in November.

NASCAR justifies the radical changes to the Atlanta Cup race dates in 2024

2023 Daytona 500 (Via IMAGO)

The NASCAR Cup Series has orchestrated a radical shake-up for the 2024 season calendar, with Atlanta Motor Speedway thrust into the limelight as the second race after the Daytona 500. NASCAR Senior Vice President Ben Kennedy discussed this move and explained the reasons behind such a significant change. 

The 2024 season commences with the traditional L.A. Memorial Coliseum pre-season exhibition race, a spectacle that’s become a staple in recent years. Next year, the NASCAR Mexico Series joins the fray, adding an international flair. A strategic decision follows with back-to-back drafting tracks, starting with Atlanta, aiming to test drivers early in the championship battle.

Notably absent from the lineup is the Auto Club Speedway, signaling a departure from the traditional roster. The Bristol Dirt Race transforms, shedding its dirt for concrete, while the spring race relocates to Richmond Raceway, departing from its Easter Sunday tradition.

Speaking about the complete upheaval to Fox Sports’ Bob Parkass, Ben Kennedy remarked, “After seeing several races play out at Atlanta, felt like it made sense to move it into that second slot after Daytona.” Kennedy and NASCAR authorities believed “It was a natural fit for us, seeing that we’re not returning to Auto Club next year.”

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Ben Kennedy believes that the 2024 calendar adds diversity to the playoff events

The Texas Motor Speedway undergoes a significant shift, moving from the playoffs to the regular season’s ninth race. North Wilkesboro Speedway retains All-Star Race hosting duties with a freshly repaved surface. Anticipation rises with Iowa Speedway’s debut on June 16th. The Chicago Street Course promises a return for its second iteration on July 7th. NASCAR’s return to the iconic oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway concludes the pre-summer break schedule with the Brickyard 400.

NASCAR at Atlanta Speedway
NASCAR at Atlanta Speedway (Credits: USA Today)

Kennedy mentioned that considerations for the West Coast swing in Vegas and Phoenix, as well as introducing Atlanta to the playoffs, involved multiple factors. The VP of NASCAR, observing the racing experience, noting positive fan sentiment, and aiming to raise variety to the playoff schedule, influenced the decision. They saw it as an opportunity to enhance the on-track action and diversify the playoff events.

The regular season finale transforms, with Darlington now holding the honor on September 1st at 6 pm EST, preceding the playoffs. Speaking on the playoffs’ structure, Kennedy states, “Introducing a drafting-style track like Atlanta to the Round of 16, to follow it up with Watkins Glen and then the Bristol night race is really going to test the variability of our drivers.”

A two-week break during the Olympics precedes the playoffs, building anticipation for a primetime Richmond race on August 11th. The playoffs bring additional drama, with Atlanta and Watkins Glen joining the mix. The championship weekend at Phoenix remains intact, with the Championship 4 finale set for November 10th.

NASCAR 2024 calendar: 

S No.Track/EventDate
[Pre-Season Exhibition Race] L.A. Memorial Coliseum4 February
[Qualifying Duels at Daytona] Daytona International Speedway15 February 
1Daytona 500 – Daytona International Speedway18 February
2Atlanta Motor Speedway25 February
3Las Vegas Motor Speedway3 March
4Phoenix Raceway10 March
5Bristol Motor Speedway17 March
6Circuit of the Americas24 March
7Richmond Raceway31 March
8Martinsville Speedway7 April
9Texas Motor Speedway14 April
10Talladega Superspeedway21 April
11Dover Motor Speedway28 April
12Kansas Speedway5 May
13Darlington Raceway12 May
[All-Star Race] – North Wilkesboro Speedway19 May
14Coca Cola 600 – Charlotte Motor Speedway26 May
15[Championship 4 title decider] Phoenix Raceway2 June
16Sonoma Raceway9 June
17Iowa Speedway16 June
18New Hampshire Motor Speedway23 June
19Nashville Superspeedway30 June
20Chicago Street Race7 July
21Pocono Raceway14 July
22[Brickyard 400] Indianapolis Motor Speedway21 July
Olympic Break
Olympic Break
23Richmond Raceway11 August
24Michigan International Speedway18 August
25Daytona International Speedway (Night)24 August
26[Southern 500 & Regular Season Finale] – Darlington Raceway1 September 
27[Round of 16] Atlanta Motor Speedway8 September
28[Round of 16] Watkins Glen International15 September
29[Round of 16 Elimination Race] Bristol Motor Speedway21 September
30[Round of 12] Kansas Speedway29 September
31[Round of 12] Talladega Superspeedway6 October
32[Round of 12 Elimination Race] Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval13 October
33[Round of 8] Las Vegas Motor Speedway20 October
34[Round of 8] Homestead-Miami Speedway27 October
35[Round of 8 Elimination Race] Martinsville Speedway3 November
36[Championship 4 title-decider] Phoenix Raceway10 November

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