Friday, August 22, 2008
NASCAR Announces 2009 Schedule for Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks
NASCAR announced its 2009 schedule for all three major series. The Sprint Cup series shows two major changes. The fall Atlanta race is rescheduled to run Labor Day weekend on Sunday, September 6 returning the once "Southern 500" to be held on Dixie soil. The second California event will now be part of the chase running on Sunday, October 11. There will also be a late Open Date on the last weekend of August after the Bristol Saturday night brawl the week earlier. Won't this be a welcome break for the garage operations to prepare for the last twelve races of the season, the last two before the Chase then the whole chase run? Another gratutious note annouced early that the Mother's Day event at Darlington will be called "The Southern 500."
The Nationwide series has a little juggling around but features two consecutive weeks off early in the season a result of the March date being vacated by the Mexico City event. Making up its spot on the calendar, the series will now race at the Iowa Speedway, Rusty Wallace's modern new short track, a unique new format on August 1, 2009 the same weekend the Cup racers contend for the second Pocono trophy. The Atlanta race moves from spring to fall. The California Labor day event moves running concurrently with the Sprint Cup events. Six Nationwide events will be stand-alones from the senior series events.
The Craftsman truck series remains largely unchanged. From their journey to California on February 21st to when they race in Charlotte on May 15th, only three events are scheduled: March 7th in Atlanta, Marh 28th in Martinsville, and April 25th in Kansas. They also take the first three weekends off in October before returning to Martinsville on October 24th where the follow the Sprint Cup series for the remainder of the season. The only chanages in venue are, they race Chicagoland August 28th. The Atlanta fall race is eliminated.
Fifty two weeks in a year, forty two weeks will feature at least one of NASCAR's big three racing somewhere. It seems like a move in the right direction to move the Labor Day event back east; however, its a tough weekend to sell tickets. Atlanta has been struggling to fill the stands for some time even though the racing action is generally red hot in Hot 'Lanta.
Fox will continue to cover the points earning events from the Daytona 500 through the June race in Dover. TNT will cover six races from the first Pocono race to Chicagoland. From the Brickyard 400 until the end of the season ESPN and ABC cover the races with ABC to cover all ten Chase events. The Nationwide series is contracted to ESPN with most events broadcast on ESPN2 with select events on ABC and ESPN. The Craftsman Truck series will broadcast on SPEED-TV with two early races on Fox. All radio contracts with PRN and MRN remain in place.