Since the late 1980’s, NASCAR has made its mark in different tracks such as Phoenix, New Hampshire, Fontana (California), Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Kansas, Chicago, and most recent Kentucky. According to Adam Stern on the Sports Business Journal, sources say that leaders of NASCAR have privately begun discussing possible changes to the 2021 Schedule. NASCAR has a five-year sanctioning agreement with all of the current tracks through the year 2020, so the question is, what tracks are best suited to become a spot for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. Here is my top 5:
Iowa Speedway is a 7/8 mile track in Newton, Iowa that currently hosts events from the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Racing Series, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The only thing the track would need is probably a few more seats, despite the lower attendance this past weekend when the Xfinity and Truck Series ran there. This could be due to the fact that the temperature has in the 90’s for that weekend. A summer mid-west night race in Iowa, similar to Kansas a month ago, would be a great idea for a Cup race there. A Saturday night race to boot! This track created some incredible racing this past weekend with a lot of passing and good three wide action as well. Many cup drivers such as Brad Keselowski and Regan Smith agreed how fantastic the three-wide racing was at Iowa. This track is PERFECT for the Cup Series.
Gateway Motorsports Park is a 1.25-mile track in Madison, Illinois, just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri that currently hosts the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the ARCA Racing Series, and the IndyCar Series. Think of track as Darlington, but flat in the banking. This could create some intense racing and I think the St. Louis area would support an event like this. I always had the vibe that St. Louis is a great sports city with its love for the Cardinals and the Blues. I think adding the NASCAR Cup Series to the Gateway to the West would be another interesting location. Considering the fact that the track’s future was uncertain in 2010 when Dover Motorsports sold the track. However, former IndyCar Indy Lights driver Curtis Francois re-opened the track a year later. Oh, did I forget the mention the track has an infield road course? Or as Charlotte is dubbing, a Roval? Therefore, perhaps every other year, you could switch back and forth between the Oval and Infield Course.
This track is located north of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada and it includes a 2.459-mile road course in which the Camping World Truck Series began racing there in 2013 and has provided some crazy finishes from Chase Elliott spun Ty Dillon to win there, in which there were other small brawls after the race or even the last lap wreck between Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemecheck which ended in Custer tackling Nemecheck during celebration. Now imagine the stars of the Cup Series going here. The fans up there LOVE the truck races, so they would certainly love the Cup Series. I always believed the cup series needed another road course or two on the schedule, especially the playoffs. Add this track in the playoffs and let’s see what happens. I think we could see a lot of excitement coming out of this one.
The circuit of the Americas is a 3.427-mile motor racing facility near Austin, Texas that opened in 2012 and is a host to Formula One’s US Grand Prix. Many motorsports have raced at this track in its 5-year history besides IndyCar and NASCAR. Now a year ago, the track stated they were interested in NASCAR. However, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage stated, according to AutoWeek, that COTA was 20 years too late and that TMS was protected by a regional competition clause in the five-year deal mentioned earlier. After that, who knows? This would be an interesting track for NASCAR to try. Again, the Cup Series needs more road courses, but TMS isn’t such a fan. Perhaps in the future NASCAR could hold bids every year for tracks to host a race, such as maybe one year Texas doesn’t get a race but COTA does, or one year Kentucky doesn’t get a race through the bidding. Hard to say, maybe someday COTA will host a NASCAR race.
If you’ve been a long-time fan of the sport, you’ll know what I’m coming from. Rockingham Speedway is a 1.017 mile D-shaped oval with 22 and 25-degree banking and 8-degree banking in the straights. This track holds a lot of history here, such as Steve Park’s win there in 2001 the week after the death of Dale Earnhardt. The track ran its final cup race there in 2004. However, the track got new ownership in 2007 and hosted an ARCA race there in 2008, where 50 cars started the race and won by to-be NASCAR star Joey Logano. In 2012, the Truck Series made a run there but in 2014 did not return due to financial struggles. Maybe someone can bring this track to its former glory, but right now, it’s a fantasy.
I do believe the NASCAR Schedule could use more track diversity and I believe some tracks only should have one race. It’ll give those tracks more meaning, while new tracks can be placed and NASCAR can tap more into new markets. Perhaps maybe a completely new track could be built somewhere. There has been some discussion about a track being built near Jackson, Mississippi. Where would you like to see the Cup Series race at? Where would you like to see a new track be built? What is your ideal NASCAR Cup Schedule? 2021 is not that far away.