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2021 NASCAR Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes

NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - JULY 15: A general view of fans during the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 15, 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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The 2021 Cup schedule features the first race on a dirt track for the series in more than 50 years, three new venues and six road course points races.

Responding to fan interest, the series adds three road course events to the 2021 schedule. Those new races are May 23 at Circuit of the Americas, July 4 at Road America and Aug. 15 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The other points races on road courses in 2021 will be at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. The Daytona road course will host the Busch Clash exhibition race.

The race that might gain the most attention, though, could be the March 28 Cup race at Bristol. The track will be converted to dirt.
There are no midweek races. Pocono Raceway continues to have the only doubleheader weekend. There is a two-week break in late July/early August during the Olympics. NBC’s portion of the schedule will begin with the June 20 race at Nashville Superspeedway.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president & chief racing development officer, says the plan is to have practice and qualifying for new venues (Circuit of the Americas, Road America, Nashville) and new configurations (Indy road course) along with key events (Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Phoenix championship weekend). The plan is for the other races to be one-day shows.
The schedule is flush with change. Here’s a look at those changes:


March 28 – Bristol Dirt race: It is the first Cup race on dirt since 1970 at Raleigh, a race won by Richard Petty.

May 9 – Darlington: The track that NASCAR returned to after the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic this year will host two races in 2021. The track adds a spring date and it will be run on Mother’s Day. It will be only the third time in the last 40 years Cup has run on Mother’s Day. The added race comes from Michigan International Speedway, which will have one race in 2021.

May 23 – Circuit of the Americas: Inaugural race for the series on the road course in Austin, Texas that has hosted Formula One and IndyCar, among other series.

June 13 – All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway: First time the All-Star race has been held at this track. Marks third different year for the event after being in Charlotte in 2019 and Bristol this year.

June 20 – Nashville: The 1.333-mile track will hold its first race for Cup. The track hosted Xfinity and Truck races from 2001-11. The date comes from a Dover, leaving that race with one NASCAR race weekend in 2021. This weekend begins NBC Sports’ coverage of NASCAR races.

July 4- Road America: Will host the Cup Series for the first time. Gets holiday weekend with July 4 date. The date comes from Chicagoland Speedway, which will not have a NASCAR race in 2021.

July 11 – Atlanta: Kentucky race date moves to Atlanta to give track a second race. The first race at the track in 2021 will be March 21.

Aug. 15 – Indianapolis road course: After comping on the oval since 1994, Cup moves to the road course. Will be a part of a race weekend with the IndyCar Series.


Feb. 21 – Miami: Moves to second race of the season and comes a week after Daytona 500.

Feb. 28 – Auto Club: Moves up a week earlier and this will be its last race as a 2-mile track. Track will be converted into a short track after this event for 2022.

April 10 – Martinsville: Track hosted its first night race in June but did not have fans because of the coronavirus. This April race will be at night. Provided fans will be allowed at that point, it will be their first time to witness a night Cup race there.
July 25 & Aug. 1: No Cup races because of the Olympics.

Sept. 5 - Nov. 7: Cup playoffs. Same 10 tracks as 2020. Only difference is Texas and Kansas flip-flop weekends in the Round of 8. Texas will open that round on Oct. 17. Kansas will follow on Oct. 24. Round of 8 ends at Martinsville on Oct. 31. Phoenix again will host the title race, doing so Nov. 7.


(Times, weekend schedule and TV info to be announced later)

DateRace / Track
Tuesday, February 9Clash (Daytona Road Course)
Thursday, February 11Duel at Daytona
Sunday, February 14Daytona 500
Sunday, February 21Homestead-Miami
Sunday, February 28Auto Club
Sunday, March 7Las Vegas
Sunday, March 14Phoenix
Sunday, March 21Atlanta
Sunday, March 28Bristol Dirt
Saturday, April 10Martinsville
Sunday, April 18Richmond
Sunday, April 25Talladega
Sunday, May 2Kansas
Sunday, May 9Darlington
Sunday, May 16Dover
Sunday, May 23COTA
Sunday, May 30Charlotte
Sunday, June 6Sonoma
Sunday, June 13All-Star (Texas)
Sunday, June 20Nashville Superspeedway
Saturday & Sunday, June 26-27Pocono Doubleheader
Sunday, July 4Road America
Sunday, July 11Atlanta
Sunday, July 18New Hampshire
Sunday, August 8Watkins Glen
Sunday, August 15Indianapolis Road Course
Sunday, August 22Michigan
Saturday, August 28Daytona
Sunday, September 5Darlington
Saturday, September 11Richmond
Saturday, September 18Bristol
Sunday, September 26Las Vegas
Sunday, October 3Talladega
Sunday, October 10Charlotte Roval
Sunday, October 17Texas
Sunday, October 24Kansas
Sunday, October 31Martinsville
Sunday, November 7Phoenix

  • Races in bold are playoff races