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NASCAR weekend schedule for Circuit of the Americas

Dustin Long, Steve Letarte, and Parker Kligerman preview COTA changes, where there will be no stage breaks, drivers will be able to choose their restart lane, and the low-downforce package debuts on a road course.

NASCAR’s three major series return to the road this weekend with races scheduled Saturday and Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series races are Saturday, and the Cup Series is scheduled to race Sunday afternoon.

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Joey Logano, winner of last Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, has led laps in both COTA races and will be among the favorites Sunday.

As the first road course of the year, COTA will begin a new approach by NASCAR to stage racing on road circuits. There will no longer be a caution to end stages, but points will be awarded for the finish order. In another change, the “choose” rule will be in effect on road courses.

A look at the weekend schedule:

Circuit of the Americas (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Friday: Thunderstorms in the morning, sun later in the day. High of 86. 80% chance of rain.

Saturday: Sunny. High of 83.

Sunday: Partly cloudy. Temperature of 81 degrees with a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

Friday, March 24

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. -- Cup Series
  • 11:30 a.m. .- 6:30 p.m. -- Truck Series
  • 1:30 - 8:30 p.m. -- Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 2:05 - 2:55 p.m. -- Cup practice (No live broadcast; tape-delayed version airing at 8 p.m. on FS1)
  • 4:30 - 5 p.m. -- Truck practice (No live broadcast)
  • 5 - 6 p.m. -- Truck qualifying (No live broadcast; tape-delayed version airing at 9 p.m. on FS1)
  • 6:30 - 7 p.m. -- Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 7 - 8 p.m. -- Xfinity qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, March 25

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. -- Truck Series
  • 2 - 10:30 p.m. -- Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. -- Cup qualifying (FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. -- Truck race (42 laps, 143 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5 p.m. -- Xfinity race (46 laps, 156 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, March 26

Garage open

  • 12:30 - 10 p.m. -- Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. -- Cup race (68 laps, 231.88 miles; Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)