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NASCAR President anticipates changes to 2021 schedule but not wholesale moves

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 18: NASCAR President Steve Phelps speaks to the media prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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While NASCAR President Steve Phelps anticipates changes to the 2021 Cup schedule, he said Friday that “I don’t think there are going to be massive wholesale changes” to the schedule.

There is an anticipation for the 2021 Cup schedule because NASCAR’s five-year sanctioning agreements with tracks end after 2020 and give series officials more flexibility in reshaping where the series will race.

Phelps was asked about where things stood with the 2021 schedule Friday in an interview on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“We don’t have the schedule dialed in for 2021,” Phelps said. “Lots of discussions about where we would race. I think if you would look at the 2020 schedule, we moved things around and I think the fans, again from the research that we did, by and large were thrilled with the changes we made.

“I think there was an industry buzz. The drivers were excited, the teams were excited and most importantly, the fans were excited, but we’re racing at the same race tracks, the same number at each race track. So in 2021, we have new sanctions that we need to do for 2021 that will obviously dictate where we go.

“Will we go to exactly the same number of race tracks, the exact same number of events? We probably won’t. I don’t think there are going to be massive wholesale changes.

“With that said, we’re going to continue to listen to what the fans have to say because this is their sport and we need to make sure that we are giving them what they want. So a lot of listening, a lot of dialogue, working with our broadcast partners, working with our teams and our drivers, our OEM partners … hey, where do you want to be, what do you want to see, where would you like to race? So that’s the first part of the 2021 piece, a work in progress.”

Phelps also was asked about plans for the Gen 7 car, which is expected to debut in 2021.

“As it relates to a new car, it’s something we’re working very hard with our race teams and with our auto manufacturers, Chevy, Ford and Toyota, and they’ve been great partners to try to get us to where we are today,” Phelps said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I would say that we are on track.

“We look at the car in two pieces, right? So there is the body itself, chassis/body, and then you have the engine. The engine most likely would be a 2022 piece, so we have to determine to go new body style in 2021 or do you go new body style and engine at the same time in 2022?

“We’re trying to give ourselves some flexibility there, again we’re working with our race teams and their (manufacturers) to make sure that we do this right so we can put the best car on the race track that provides great racing as well as great styling that would have more kind of how the car (continues) to look even more like its showroom counterpart.”

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