Updated NASCAR schedule for 2020: Return includes May races at Darlington, Charlotte

NASCAR’s iRacing Series has been a great way to fill the void left by the Cup Series races that have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic since mid-March. But for a business that depends on real, live racing, NASCAR is eager to get teams and drivers back to the racetrack.

With states beginning to lift restrictions and with race teams in North Carolina allowed to work again as essential businesses, that return will come Sunday, May 17.

MORE: Tracking postponed NASCAR races

NASCAR on Thursday released a revised Cup Series schedule for May as it attempts to keep a 36-race slate intact. There were also new May dates announced for the Xfinity and Truck series.

Below is everything we know about NASCAR’s return to real racing after months of virtual competitions on the iRacing platform.

Updated NASCAR schedule for 2020

NASCAR on April 30 released its revised Cup Series schedule for May 2020. It remains committed to running 36 races, four of which were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world. According to Fox Sports, NASCAR hopes to keep its 10 playoff races in the fall intact and at their original tracks.

Below is the Cup Series revision announced by NASCAR:

Date Track Race length
Sunday, May 17 Darlington 400 miles
Wednesday, May 20 Darlington 310 miles
Sunday, May 24 Charlotte 600 miles
Wednesday, May 27 Charlotte 300 miles

For now, NASCAR is scheduling races within driving distance of the Charlotte area, where most race teams are headquartered. That would eliminate most of the travel-related logistics issues associated with running multiple races in one week, which appears necessary for a full season of racing.

Below are the eight NASCAR Cup Series races that are currently postponed (and their original dates on the schedule):

  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 15)
  • Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 22)
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (March 29)
  • Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 5)
  • Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (April 19)
  • Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (April 26)
  • Cup Series Race at Dover International Speedway (May 3)
  • Cup Series Race at Martinsville Speedway (May 9)

When will NASCAR start racing again?

NASCAR has announced a revised Cup Series schedule for an 11-day period in May that would begin with a race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17. The track, located in South Carolina and roughly a two-hour drive from the Charlotte area, will then host a second race on Wednesday, May 20. Both races would run without fans at the track.

The first Darlington race would be 400 miles long, with the second, scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, being 310 miles.

The following week, Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the Coca-Cola 600 on its originally scheduled date of Sunday, May 24, followed by a 300-mile race on Wednesday, May 27 — also both without fans. The annual All-Star Race at Charlotte would be a casualty as NASCAR attempts to run a complete schedule of 36 points races in 2020.

The revised schedule does not include previously rumored races at Martinsville (May 31), Bristol (June 3), Atlanta (June 7) and Homestead-Miami (June 14).

NASCAR, confirming earlier reports, said in its April 30 announcement that there would be no practice sessions for any of the four May races, which will all be one-day events, and that there will only be qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600.

NASCAR also could do away with competitive pit stops in an effort to limit the amount of people in the garage. According to Fox Sports, the viability of pit stops is “still under discussion.”

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