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What might the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule look like?

Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images Getty Images

When NASCAR chairman Brian France said recently that he expected only minor changes to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule, fans and media immediately began speculating on what those tweaks might be.

There may not be wholesale changes, based upon what France said, but next year’s Cup slate will look at least a little different. Based upon various sources and things we’ve heard and/or read, we’re going to chime in with our ideas and why we think that way. Granted, this is all speculation, but there’s a good likelihood of at least some of these guesses happening.

First off, we expect Darlington to become the second race of the season, one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. We’ve heard a number of rumors on this and, frankly, it makes sense.

Darlington’s weather in late February is typically in the 60s, sometimes in the 70s. While we would prefer to see The Lady In Black go back to her long-traditional Labor Day weekend slot, or even the Mother’s Day weekend slot, we think this could be a good place on the schedule for the Track Too Tough to Tame.

If that happens, look for the next several races to be pushed back at least a week, which should be a big boon weather-wise for places like Bristol and Texas, that often are affected by cold temperatures and inclement weather early in the season.

And, if Darlington does take Phoenix’ usual spot as the No. 2 race of the season, we’ve heard a couple of different angles about what happens to the early season race in the Valley of the Sun.

The first rumor we heard was that Phoenix will follow Darlington, essentially being pushed back a week, and then have Las Vegas follow the next week, as has been the case for the last several years.

If that happens, we’d likely see Bristol pushed back to the last week of March, Fontana to the first weekend of April and Texas pushed back to the second weekend of April.

Here’s what we think the early season schedule may look like: Daytona, Darlington, Las Vegas, Bristol, Fontana, Phoenix, Martinsville and Texas, taking us into the middle of April, before the first of three scheduled off-weekends would occur.

There’s also a slight variable that could happen: Daytona, Darlington, Las Vegas, Fontana, Bristol, Martinsville, Phoenix and Texas or Texas and then Phoenix.

To cluster Las Vegas and Fontana, and then Phoenix and Texas (or vice-versa) would make a great deal of sense geographically and expense-wise for teams.

As for the rest of the season, rumors have flown for the last several years that the Brickyard 400 would become the kickoff race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup in September, and that Chicagoland would move from its current spot as Chase opener to a mid-to-late July Saturday night race, essentially flip-flopping dates with Indy.

Could those rumors finally come true in 2015?

We’ll find out when NASCAR officially releases the schedule, expected to occur sometime in late September. Again, everything is speculation at this point, but it should be interesting to see which guesses and rumors actually prove to be true in the long run.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. manik56 - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Back to back majors? That seems silly to me. I would have gone to Darlington this year, which was supposed to fall when the in-laws had the beach condo, but they changed the date on me. Now they might change the date yet again for no good reason at all? Go RTA!

    • matt33fl - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      Unfortunately, the NASCAR brass doesn’t view Darlington as a major anymore. At this point, they are making whatever moves they can to justify removing it from the Cup schedule altogether. The only way you’ll ever see any action at Darlington on a Labor Day weekend is if it’s the Truck Series.

  2. wrlegrand - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I think the major issue in this for this year is the fact that Easter is in Early April…that will definitely have an impact…

  3. indycarseries500 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Doug Boles did say something about trying to get a race weekend in September next year at IMS.

  4. chad4208 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    whatever they do its going to suck because its the Frances….

  5. extavernmouse - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    I never understood why they don’t run Phoenix, Las Vegas and Fontana and then go back to Bristol. It sure seems like two long tows.

    • indycarseries500 - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      They always go back to Charlotte anyways so…

  6. matt33fl - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    So this is what we can expect to see come out next month?:

    Feb 22—–Daytona
    Mar 01—–Darlington
    Mar 08—–Las Vegas
    Mar 15—–Fontana
    Mar 22—–Bristol
    Mar 29—–Martinsville
    Apr 11—–Texas*
    Apr 19—–Phoenix
    Apr 25—–Richmond*
    May 03—-Talladega
    May 09—-Kansas*
    May 16—-All-Star*
    May 24—-Charlotte*
    May 31—-Dover
    Jun 07—–Pocono
    Jun 14—–Michigan
    Jun 21—–Sonoma
    July 04—–Daytona*
    July 12—–Loudon
    July 18—–Chicagoland*
    July 26—–Kentucky
    Aug 02—–Pocono
    Aug 09—–Watkins Glen
    Aug 16—–Michigan
    Aug 29—–Bristol*
    Sep 06—–Atlanta*
    Sep 12—–Richmond*
    Sep 20—–Indianapolis
    Sep 27—–Loudon
    Oct 04——Dover
    Oct 11——Kansas
    Oct 17——Charlotte*
    Oct 25——Talladega
    Nov 01—–Martinsville
    Nov 08—–Texas
    Nov 15—–Phoenix
    Nov 22—–Homestead

  7. stac266 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    I wish they would move the Homestead race up or get rid of it. It’s a terrible race to end the season with. Make Texas or Atlanta the last race.

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