Well, it finally dropped.
NASCAR released the 2023 schedule for the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Craftsman Truck Series Wednesday. Although Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic beat the league to it
After looking over it, not much changed.
The spring race at Martinsville Speedway shifts from a Saturday night race back to Sunday afternoon. Richmond Raceway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway swap dates on the calendar.
Aside from those, not much changed on the Cup Series side. The playoff lineup remains the same as 2022 and has just one off-week built in.
For the Xfinity Series, it joins the Cup Series on the streets of Chicago and runs at Sonoma Raceway for the first time. Aside from those and shifting the playoff start to Bristol, it’s pretty much unchanged.
The Truck Series sees a few more changes. It returns to North Wilkesboro for the first time since Sept. 28, 1996, and returns to the Milwaukee Mile for the first time since 2009.
With those additions, however, come subtractions as well. Sonoma and Knoxville Raceway fall off the schedule.
Well that’s underwhelming
OK, it was unreasonable to expect NASCAR to continue radically altering the schedule as it’s done since 2020. Furthermore, the previously announced Chicago race and return of North Wilkesboro took some of the surprise out of the release.
With that said, however, this is kind of a letdown.
Why did the playoff rotation remain the same? Why does Phoenix Raceway still host the championship race? Rather than create buzz and move around the championship race, we’re staying put? Especially when the short(er) track races have been terrible, this season, this race should go back to Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Even with the regular season, not much changed.
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s second date remains in July, in a region where it rains every other day in the summer. Moreover, Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt race remains a night race.
Worst of all, just one off-week. It’s inexcusable for NASCAR to demand these teams endure this much of a grind when they have said year after year that it is too much.
Overall, however, it’s good, but not WOW, like 2021 and 2022. I like moving Martinsville back to two day races and the Milwaukee Mile’s return. I wished NASCAR shuffled the schedule more and played with the playoff lineup.
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