NASCAR is in talks that could bring a schedule shakeup in 2020
Below is a list of every track NASCAR has abandoned since 1980
2020 is probably going to be a year of big change for NASCAR. Why? That’s the year that a bulk of longterm track contracts expire.
Specifically, a bulk of 1.5-mile track contacts expire. This had led to rumors that NASCAR has been waiting to adjust the schedule for 2020.
Yet, that’s mostly come from the hope bank of both fans and media alike. Until now, NASCAR hasn’t spoken on anything regarding the possible movement of those contracts.
Short tracks desired by the fans
“Listen, I’m a fan as well. I understand the short track desire,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said on SiriusXM last Monday morning.
“I think they ultimately want racing to be as close as possible. That’s tough to do in terms of balancing that aero mix with the horsepower.”
“But, that’s the path we’re on to continue to do that. And allow for the best racing – And allow for the best drivers to showcase their talents.”
“It’s tough to do and we’re on that mission. But, I certainly think the truck delivered on Saturday.”
New NASCAR short tracks on the way?
For the last several years, the NASCAR schedule has grown stale to the NASCAR fan base. However, due to those longterm contracts, NASCAR has been unable to make major adjustments to the schedule.
ISC and SMI own most of the NASCAR tracks on the schedule. Those dates have been under contact for 5 or 10-year deals.
In previous seasons, dates and tracks have been moved. However, most of that isn’t any doing of NASCAR itself. Removing a second date at New Hampshire to Las Vegas was part of the track owners, not NASCAR.
In the last number of years, that’s been the bulk of any movement we’ve seen in the schedule. That’s tracks moving their own race dates around.
What we haven’t seen is many new tracks added to the schedule. It appears, that’s finally about to change…
Is there dialogue with tracks right now that could return us to tracks from the past? Or even send us to new tracks?
“That dialogue’s going on with the industry right now around 2020 and beyond.”
“In terms of ‘where can we go’ [and] ‘what’s necessary from a safety perspective’ to have in place for each of those tracks.”
“What do we think the support mix will be? Often times, fans will say, ‘Hey, get back on this track!’ Yet, when you go there, you don’t see the turnout that you want.”
“So, a lot of that will be based on the marketplace. Is short track racing at a local level supported as well? If so, those are the key markets we want to go out and support.”
Any way of seeing more short tracks before 2020?
“All of the longterm contracts are very good for the sport. We have some stability with all of that,” Steve O’Donnell stated on Monday.
“But, it does kind of lock you into what you can do with the schedule as far as changing it up. Those discussions are certainly happening within our process of what’s next.”
“Road courses have also come up. Watkins Glen was a great race. Not only the fans but the OEM’s and the competitors like road racing and would like to see more of that.”
Tracks abandoned by NASCAR since 1980
The following list tells a tale of the modern NASCAR era. This is a list of every NASCAR track that has been removed from the schedule since 1980.
At one point, either the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Truck Series has stopped going to all of the following tracks.
As you’ll see almost all of them are short tracks under .5-mile.In total, 28 of the ovals removed are under 1-mile in distance. For comparison, only 3 of the ovals that have been removed since 1980 are over a mile long.
Two of those, I honestly wouldn’t even count as intermediate tracks as they are 1.029 and 1.017-mile tracks. Really, the only intermediate track that’s been removed from the schedule since 1980 is Nashville Superspeedway.
Since 1980, the NASCAR Cup Series schedule has been reduced to just three tracks under 0.75-miles. Bristol Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway are all that remains of what was once a great racing schedule.
This is exactly why national and regional short track racing has seen a resurgence in recent years. Short track fans have left NASCAR and gone off to support alternative series that still remain on the short tracks.
Warning: The following lists are likely to create aggressive nostalgia.
Short tracks abandoned by NASCAR:
(Track Size: Under 0.5-mile)
Saugus Speedway (0.333-mile)
Oxford Plains Speedway (0.333-mile)
Hickory Motor Speedway (0.362-mile)
Colorado National Speedway (0.375-mile)
Lanier National Speedway (0.375-mile)
Orange County Speedway (0.375-mile)
Tucson Raceway Park (0.375)
Langley Speedway (0.395-mile)
South Boston Speedway (0.4-mile)
Motor Mile Speedway (0.416-mile)
Louisville Motor Speedway (0.438-mile)
Mansfield Motor Speedway (0.440-mile)
Caraway Speedway (0.455-mile)
Evergreen Speedway (0.5-mile)
Greenville-Pickens Speedway (0.5-mile)
Mesa Marin Speedway (0.5-mile)
Myrtle Beach Speedway (0.5-mile)
Portland Speedway (0.5-mile)
Peach State Speedway (0.5-mile)
Volusia County Speedway (0.5-mile)
Big short tracks abandoned by NASCAR:
(Track Size: 0.5-mile – 1-mile)
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (0.596-mile)
Flemington Speedway (0.625-mile)
North Wilkesboro Speedway (0.625-mile)
Memphis International Raceway (0.75-mile)
Nazareth Speedway (0.946-mile)
Pikes Peak International Raceway (1-mile)
Walt Disney World Speedway (1-mile)
Milwaukee Mile (1-mile)
Intermediate tracks abandoned by NASCAR:
(Track Size: Over 1-mile)
Rockingham Speedway (1.017-mile)
Chicago Motor Speedway (1.029-mile)
Nashville Superspeedway (1.333-mile)
Road courses abandoned by NASCAR:
Heartland Park Topeka (1.8-mile)
Portland International Raceway (1.9-mile)
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (2.518-mile)
Road Atlanta (2.520-mile)
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (2.71-mile)
Related: Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr want a second NASCAR race at Eldora Speedway
Related: Brian France doesn’t see the NASCAR Cup Series on dirt anytime soon
Related: Tony Stewart and Kevin harvick explain the disconnect between NASCAR and the grassroots racing fan
Related: NASCAR EVP discusses their grassroots program
Related: City of Nashville turns down a big from Bristol Motor Speedway to operate Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
Related: NASCAR drivers call for more short tracks
Related: Poll data shows NASCAR fans want more short tracks
Related: Rick Schwallie details the growth of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Related: Dirt racing is a growing threat to NASCAR
Related: NASCAR doesn’t have control of the NASCAR schedule