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Joey Logano
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Statistically Speaking

Chaos Will Reign in 2020's Schedule

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: December 1, 2019, 11:12 am ET

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in March 2019, but as the 2020 season approaches, fantasy players will want to spend some time reflecting on the impact of a radically new schedule.

Chaos

Throughout a typical NASCAR schedule, there are events that have the potential to be chaotic, but since they have largely been sprinkled through the season, the impact on fantasy owners has been relatively minor.

That will not be the case in 2020. Practically every pivot point of the season is anchored by a track on which chaos is not only possible – but most often existent.

When NASCAR announced they would reveal the 2020 schedule this week, many probably believed there would only be minor adjustments. As it turns out, NASCAR did everything in their power to completely change the complexion of the season – beginning with making some key changes to the playoff schedule.

NASCAR was somewhat limited by the track deals that are in place. Five-year agreements will not expire until the end of the 2020 season and reportedly, the only changes that could be made without approval of the tracks were movements of up to two weeks. The substantial changes noted below means the tracks agreed to move their dates.


Perhaps the biggest change comes in the form of the Championship Race moving from Homestead-Miami Speedway to Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway.

While Homestead is not exactly a wild card, during it history it has not been nearly as predictable as Phoenix. As one of the short, flat tracks, fans and fantasy players pretty much know who is going to dominate on that 1-mile oval. If Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch make the playoffs in 2020 and the next few years beyond, they will rack up several championships between them.

Now to the chaotic pivot points.

The Firecracker 400 may require a new nom de guerre. The traditional 4th of July weekend moves to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway will host the regular-season ending race. That means lottery-style racing will bookend the regular season with the Daytona 500 putting players in a hole that may take 25 races to climb from before the Joker gets shuffled back to the top of the deck for the Coke Zero 400.

If you think drivers were willing to do whatever it took to win in July – wait to see what happens when this is there last chance to make the playoffs.

If players ever wanted to draw names out of a hat, this is the week to do so. 

Homestead moves out of the playoffs entirely and will be the sixth race of the season next year. Dover International Speedway’s fall race also drops from the playoffs and swaps dates with Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway kicks off the playoffs in 2020. Darlington’s reputation for being Too Tough To Tame is well deserved and drivers will need to survive to continue. In fact, survival will be the key to advancing from Round 1 of the 2020 playoffs because Richmond Raceway and Bristol follow. As a cutoff race, Bristol’s beating and banging is going to be even more intense.

Round 2 of the playoffs will have the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval as its cutoff. Talladega Superspeedway remains in its accustomed spot as the second race of this round.

Round 3 will have another short track as its cutoff race. Like Bristol, Martinsville Speedway will allow drivers to use their fender to make it to the Championship race with practically no opportunity for their rival to retaliate. On has only to look to last year’ contact between Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. example of what that might mean.

Another change to the schedule that will have a big impact on fantasy players is that NASCAR is testing the concept of a double header weekend. Pocono Raceway’s two races have always been incredibly close to one another on the schedule with only about one month separating them. Next June, these two events will be run on the same weekend with a full points’ paying race on both Saturday and Sunday.

NASCAR has not determined the exact format of the weekend, but there is a strong possibility that a driver who hits on the right setup Saturday, could easily run in the front Sunday as well.

There will be three pairing of 1.5-mile races in 2020 accounting for seven races. In March, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead and Texas Motor Speedway will be run in successive weeks. In May, Charlotte and Kansas Speedway run back-to-back with Kansas and Texas hosting two in October as part of Round 3 of the playoffs.

These are good races in which to place and hold drivers. 

 

2020
Number

Date

Track

2019
Number

1

2/16/20

Daytona International Speedway

1

2

2/23/20

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3

3

3/1/20

Auto Club Speedway

5

4

3/8/20

Phoenix International Raceway

4

5

3/15/20

Atlanta Motor Speedway

2

6

3/22/20

Homestead - Miami Speedway Progressive

36 (Championship)

7

3/29/20

Texas Motor Speedway

7

8

4/5/20

Bristol Motor Speedway

8

9

4/19/20

Richmond International Raceway

9

10

4/26/20

Talladega SuperSpeedway

10

11

5/3/20

Dover Downs International

11

12

5/9/20

Martinsville Speedway

6

13

5/24/20

Charlotte Motor Speedway

13

14

5/31/20

Kansas Speedway

12

15

6/7/20

Michigan International Speedway

15

16

6/14/20

Sonoma Raceway

16

17

6/21/20

Chicagoland Speedway

17

18 (double)

6/27/20

Pocono Raceway

14

19 (double)

6/28/20

Pocono Raceway

21

21

7/11/20

Kentucky Speedway

19

22

7/19/20

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

20

23

8/9/20

Michigan International Speedway

23

24

8/16/20

Watkins Glen International

22

20

7/5/20

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

26 (End Regular)

25

8/23/20

Dover Downs International

30 (Rd 2.1)

26 (End Regular)

8/29/20

Daytona International Speedway

18

Playoffs

27 (Rd 1.1)

9/6/20

Darlington Raceway

25

28 (Rd 1.2)

9/12/20

Richmond International Raceway

28 (Rd 1.2)

29 (Rd 1.3)

9/19/20

Bristol Motor Speedway

24

30 (Rd 2.1)

9/27/20

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

27 (Rd 1.1)

31 (Rd 2.2)

10/11/20

Talladega Superspeedway

31 (Rd 2.2)

32 (Rd 2.3)

10/11/20

Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

29 (Rd 1.3)

33 (Rd 3.1)

10/16/20

Kansas Speedway

32( Rd 2.3)

34 (Rd 3.2)

10/25/20

Texas Motor Speedway

34 (Rd 3.2)

35 (Rd 3.3)

11/1/20

Martinsville Speedway

33 (Rd 3.1)

36 (Championship)

11/8/20

Phoenix International Raceway

35 (Rd 3.3)

 

Dan Beaver
Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.