Although the schedule is very similar to last year’s, the NASCAR Cup Series will be racing towards a new future and an interesting past in 2023.
Last season, the most interesting race on the schedule was the opening – Coliseum Struggle. No one knows what to expect on the purpose-built track inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the unknown — as well as the appearance of the next-gen car — made Los Angeles a hot topic for weeks before the race.
Clash was a huge success.
This year, the two most attractive races were at the new (the streets of Chicago) and the old (North Wilkesboro Speedway).
Here’s a look at five interesting races as the countdown to the new season continues:
Streets of Chicago – 2 July
Want different? this is different.
NASCAR will travel to all-new territory this Independence Day weekend, shaping a race track from the streets of downtown Chicago.
Many series race it on street courses, of course, but it’s a new animal for NASCAR and its big cars. Some drivers expressed concern about overtaking areas on the track that would necessarily be narrow, and there were also questions about accidents at or near turns blocking the track and creating terrifying crunches.
part of the plot.
Much like last year’s Clash at the Coliseum, the Chicago race has its share of doubters. Los Angeles resulted in a major blow to NASCAR. A similar result in Chicago could increase the likelihood that NASCAR will consider other visits to major cities.
North Wilkesboro Speedway – May 21st
The revival of one of the Cup Series’ original racetracks, in the shadow of North Carolina’s Brushy Mountains, has been one of the sport’s top stories over the past year.
North Wilkesboro’s renovations and rebuilds will be on display May 21 as NASCAR holds its annual All-Star Race at the 0.625-mile track. The last Cup auto race was in North Wilkesboro in 1996.
Although the touches of the old track, which has been in disrepair for years, remain as nods to its past, fans who attend the May race will see newly renovated suites and a state-of-the-art lighting system.
The All-Star Race was moved from Texas Motor Speedway, as it was not a spectacle that many fans associate with the event. North Wilkesboro will give it a new/old look.
Daytona International Speedway – Feb. 19
Daytona 500 – always an interesting race.
Even before NASCAR decided to make its biggest race the season opener for a points competition, the 500 was generally the sport’s most anticipated event. When NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. opened the monster track in 1959, stock car racers were suddenly hurled into a brutal new world of blazingly high speeds and beam-like racing previously unknown to drivers accustomed to short dirt tracks.
The sport has changed and evolved in many ways over the decades since DIS opened, but the track remains the cathedral of NASCAR, a place where the unexpected is expected and great careers begin.
Partly because of the prestige of the track and the race, and partly because of the quiet off-season, the February race dates in coastal Florida will always be red days on the racing calendar.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Aug. 13
This year’s Indy track race will be interesting if for no other reason than to see if it can be completed without a lot of overtime.
In last year’s race, the first turn, in which drivers left the front straight oval to dive into the inside road course, turned into a corner for disaster. At the green flag restart, there was a bit of give and take as the field navigated the tight turn, resulting in crashes, confusion and overtime.
about what turned out to be a recent reboot, Ross Chastain He got through the chaos of turn one and continued on the front straight to rejoin the field along the access road, thus taking the lead from Tyler Reddick. NASCAR quickly declared the move a no, and Reddick was back in the lead.
Riddick finally won the race, 17% of which was done under caution.
It is possible that NASCAR will try to avoid some of the chaos by tweaking the track this year.
Darlington Raceway – Sept. 3
After years of being the go-to fixture on NASCAR’s evolving schedule, the Darlington Southern 500 appears to have found a permanent home in its original spot – on or around Labor Day weekend.
The fact that NASCAR’s weirdest and toughest track now also hosts the first round of Cup qualifying adds to the intrigue that Darlington brings to the table. It’s 500 miles of tough road going into the next round of qualifying, the prize awaits any driver in the field who finishes first.
On a normal day, Darlington is rough. On a late summer day/night with temperatures in the 90’s and South Carolina humidity masking the trail, it can be a brutal test.