Column: Mark Your Calendars; NASCAR Sets National Series Schedules For 2023 Season
Column By: HOLLY CAIN / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – A return engagement to the famed Los Angeles Coliseum for the preseason Busch Light Clash, a highly anticipated move to the iconic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway for the All-Star race and an inaugural street race in downtown Chicago highlight the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule released Wednesday.
Add to those prime venues, equally exciting moves on the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series schedules for 2023 and the sport’s 75th Anniversary Season has taken shape to be one of the most diverse, innovative, and bold calendars of competition that NASCAR has seen.
“As we prepare to celebrate our 75th anniversary season, we are committed to delivering a schedule that acknowledges the deep history and tradition of our sport while establishing a bold future that brings the best racing in the world to new markets and new fans,’’ NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy Ben Kennedy said.
“The 2023 schedules are a product of continued collaboration across our industry and partners. We are incredibly proud of what our sport will have to offer fans next season and excited to celebrate this milestone season with the most diverse compilation of tracks in motorsports.”
The 2023 Cup season begins on Feb. 5 with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, which will air on FOX in primetime. Only two weeks later, the 65th running of NASCAR’s Great American Race, the Daytona 500, will take place on Feb. 19.
The West Coast swing begins next with three consecutive weeks of racing at Auto Club Speedway (Feb. 26), Las Vegas (March 5) and Phoenix (March 12).
Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway’s dirt race is back on April 9 with the NASCAR All-Star Race making its North Wilkesboro debut on May 21. The Chicago street race will be the cornerstone of the sport’s summer holiday season with a July 2 date on the calendar.
Daytona International Speedway will again host the regular season finale on Aug. 26 with the 10-race NASCAR Cup Series Playoff schedule set to take the green flag on Sept. 3 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Kansas Speedway and the Bristol traditional track complete Round 1.
Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL make up Round 2, followed by Las Vegas, Homestead, Fla., and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to decide which four drivers advance to the Championship Round at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5.
There are plenty of exciting stops on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule as well, including a return trip to the Portland (Ore.) International Raceway road course and a new stop, accompanying the NASCAR Cup Series on the Chicago street course. The Xfinity Series schedule takes the 2023 green flag on Feb. 18 at Daytona and accompanies the NASCAR Cup Series on its three Western stops – at California’s Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
The Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway makes its debut on the Xfinity Series schedule with a race on June 10. Later in the summer, the cars will compete on three road course races in a four-race span – at Wisconsin’s Road America (July 29), the Indianapolis Road Course (Aug. 12) and Watkins Glen (Aug. 19).
“We are thrilled to have the Xfinity Series racing here in Sonoma for the first time ever,’’ Sonoma Raceway General Manger Jill Gregory said. “This is part of our promise to our fans to keep raising the bar. And we expect several of the Cup Series racers to pull double duty and run the Xfinity Series as well.’’
The seven-race Xfinity Series Playoff schedule will begin Sept. 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway with other first round races at Texas Motor Speedway and the ROVAL. Las Vegas, Homestead, and Martinsville will set the championship four with the season finale Nov. 4 at Phoenix.
Not only does the Craftsman Truck Series sport a new name, but it also features a few new popular destinations on the schedule – racing at both North Wilkesboro during All-Star weekend (May 20) and the iconic Milwaukee Mile on Aug. 27. It marks the series’ first race at North Wilkesboro since 1996.
The Truck Series season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona with its seven-race Playoff stretch kicking off Aug. 11 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and concluding Nov. 3 at Phoenix Raceway.