NASCAR’s 2022 Cup season schedule features a reshuffling of race dates and the addition of World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) near St. Louis.
Additionally, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday night that the pre-season exhibition Clash race will move venues for the first time to run at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is the most dramatic change fans will see next season.
The schedule is largely consistent with the direction NASCAR leadership demonstrated in unveiling a 2021 schedule that featured new Cup venues, different track configurations and more road course races. If the theme this year was “bold changes,” the schedule for next year highlights a refining of those changes with some tweaks timed with the Next Gen car’s first season.
“As we demonstrated last year, we are committed to creating the most dynamic schedule for our fans, long term,” NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation Ben Kennedy said in a statement. “With the addition of new and unique venues like the Coliseum and World Wide Technology Raceway, each in markets with passionate NASCAR fans, we’re continuing to build on bold changes to deliver the best racing in the world.”
As previously announced, the Bristol Dirt Race, NASCAR’s major 2021 experiment, will return in 2022. That event is scheduled for April 17, which is also Easter Sunday. NASCAR has long avoided racing on Easter, last doing so more than 30 years ago (1989 at Richmond).
The start of next season will also be moved back a week compared to this year with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, one week after the Super Bowl. The championship race will again be held at Phoenix the first weekend of November (Nov. 6), while Pocono Raceway will lose one of its doubleheader events to an added race at Gateway on June 5, which means there will be just one week off after the race at Sonoma (June 12).
“This latest iteration of the schedule should lend itself to another season filled with drama and great racing on the track, starting with the DAYTONA 500 and culminating with NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway,” Kennedy said.
Other changes include Richmond’s exit as a playoff track with Homestead-Miami, a previous championship race site, getting a slot in the Round of 8 on Oct. 23. Richmond Raceway will still host two races as it has done in previous years. Those dates will be April 3 and Aug. 14.
The All-Star Race, a former Charlotte Motor Speedway staple, will again be held at Texas Motor Speedway as it was this year. There are no major scheduled changes for Charlotte and Darlington. The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte is set for May 29 and the Charlotte Roval playoff race is set for Oct. 9.
Darlington Raceway will continue to host a race on Mother’s Day (May 8) and open the playoffs (Sept. 4).
Road-course races at Circuit of the Americas, Sonoma, Road America, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval will make a return. NASCAR will also look to build on its momentum in the Nashville, Tenn., market after holding a Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway for the first time this year.©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.