NASCAR announces 2017 national series schedules
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 5, 2016) -- NASCAR today announced the 2017 schedules for its three national series, giving fans and stakeholders a significant head start in planning for next season’s thrilling slate. A credit to unprecedented industry collaboration, specifically the five-year sanctioning agreement between NASCAR and its tracks, the sanctioning body finalized its 2017 schedules months ahead of previous years’ release. The result: Three unique schedules featuring race tracks that have hosted record-setting races already this season, with the majority of the slate still remaining. A notable change in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule includes a date swap between a track that just hosted one of the most competitive races in its history, and one that will showcase the lower downforce competition package this coming weekend. Talladega Superspeedway, which last Sunday had the second-highest total of green flag passes for the lead ever recorded (213), will become the second race in the Round of 12 in 2017 (Oct. 15). Kansas Speedway will now become the third and final race in that round (Oct. 22). "Announcing the 2017 national series schedules this early in the season is another example of the collaborative spirit across the NASCAR industry," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "It is an exciting time in NASCAR , with some of the most intriguing racing we’ve seen in years. With the 2017 schedule solidified, the industry can now concentrate on the remainder of this season, while planning for the future much earlier than in previous years." Texas Motor Speedway's spring Cup race shifts to Sunday (April 9), a move expected to produce great racing action like that seen after Richmond International Raceway switched to a Sunday race for the 2016 season. Other changes in the NASCAR Cup schedule include Dover International Speedway's spring date move to June 4, a week after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28). Michigan International Speedway's second race will return to its traditional early August slot, on Aug. 13. The NASCAR Cup Series 2017 schedule opens with The Great American Race, the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. The season culminates with the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19. The NASCAR XFINITY Series will kick off at Daytona on Feb. 25, and crown its champion at Homestead on Saturday, November 18. Its schedule features four standalone events -- Iowa Speedway (July 29), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 12), Road America (Aug. 26) and Kentucky Speedway, the first event in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase (Sept. 23). For the second consecutive season, Iowa will host a NASCAR XFINITY Series- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series companion weekend on June 23-24. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season at Daytona on Feb. 24, and culminates at Homestead on Nov. 17. Five standalone races are included among the 2017 lineup: Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 17), Eldora Speedway (July 19), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Aug. 27) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 30). The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase once again begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 23). All races will air on either the FOX or NBC family of networks, MRN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. See below for all three NASCAR national series schedules.
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NASCAR releases 2017 national series schedule
NASCAR releases the 2017 Cup Series schedule, with a major change that impacts the Round of 12 in the Chase as well as the schedules for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
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RELATED: Find FS1 in your area All times ET Monday, May 2 8 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: GEICO 500 (re-air), FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Tuesday, May 3 6 a.m., The 10: Talladega Moments (re-air), FS1 6:30 a.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Laguna Seca (re-air), FS1 9 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Wednesday, May 4 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Thursday, May 5 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 Friday, May 6 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 6:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 8 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series SetUp, FS1 8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Toyota Tundra 250 , FS1 11 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Post-Race Show, FS1 Saturday, May 7 4 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Toyota Tundra 250 (re-air), FS1 6:30 a.m., The 10: Earnhardt Moments (re-air), FS1 7 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FS1 7 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1 7:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: GoBowling 400, FS1 Sunday, May 8 3 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: GoBowling 400 (re-air), FS1 8 a.m., Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge: Mazda (taped), FS1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Pursuing NASCAR's triple crown intrigues Bobby Labonte
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Bobby Labonte quietly bowed out of full-time Sprint Cup Series competition at the tail end of the 2013 season. No retirement tour, no gifts. Certainly no ponies. The 2000 premier series champion has selectively dabbled in the sport since, however, with a handful of unremarkable starts at Indianapolis and the restrictor-plate tracks, knowing the pack racing may be his last remaining shot at picking up his first -- and likely final -- Cup victory in more than a decade. Labonte will run in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway , his second of a scheduled four-race slate in 2016. While not sure if this same type of deal will continue to be available to him in future years, the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte hinted at an interestingly hush-hush opportunity that could be coming down the pipeline later on this season. "I do have a couple other possibilities I am excited about that might come to fruition later on in the year that I didn't see coming around the corner but they are opportunities that might lead to something that I have been more excited about than anything I have done in my career," Labonte said Friday at Talladega. "Racing is still a big passion of mine and I know I am not going to go do a lot of things I used to do but there are still some opportunities out there that are still up on my radar that I would like to do." But what does he have left to prove? What racing goals remain? "That is a great question, too. Winning any race. It might be a bicycle race. Racing at the Sprint Cup level has gotten so intense that if you can't do it every weekend … (Talladega) is different as we all know. Last weekend and next weekend is different than here," Labonte said. "It is one of those things that I guess I kind of want to race more in a way but I don't want to race more in some ways. I don't want to do it every weekend but I know there are different series you can do that aren’t quite as strenuous as this. "My brother told me one time after about two years of retirement, 'You know, you will have a lot more friends later that you didn't know you had.' And that is true. I am enjoying that. As far as racing goes I am enjoying it and my opportunity is only four times right now through a little bit of what I want to do and a little bit from other people." One remaining goal is obvious: becoming NASCAR's first Triple Crown winner by notching a championship at each of its three national series levels. Labonte has the two arguably tougher feats down, winning the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) title by 74 points over Kenny Wallace in 1991, then taking his first and only Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup) title by a wide, 265-point margin over Dale Earnhardt in 2000. It's a long shot, and Labonte admits that "everything has to line up right," but he's at least considered the prospect of running for a Camping World Truck Series title. He has 10 career starts in the series, with one win (2005 at Martinsville). "It is absolutely something that we have talked about and met with some people about," Labonte said. "I couldn't just make it happen by snapping my fingers and we couldn’t quite get it all lined up. I definitely had it in my mind that it was something I really wanted to do. I would still entertain that but there is also a point where if you can chase the championship that is one thing, and you can do it in a lot of ways. "When I started racing when I was little, the passion was to race and win and that is what you want to do. You want the chance to do that. We did it back then and I think the Truck Series is very appealing to me. I loved it when I did a few of them for a couple of guys and won a race and finished in the top five quite a bit. It is definitely a different level and the garage area is a lot calmer there than it is in the Sprint Cup Series and it kind of, at this point in time, is very appealing."
O'Donnell: NASCAR at work mulling 'Dega tweaks
RELATED: Gallery: Sunday photos from Talladega The NASCAR Research & Development Center figures to be a busy place this week, with officials investigating Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s detached steering wheel and multiple airborne crashes after an eventful race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway . NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said those topics would be studied in the aftermath of Sunday's GEICO 500 at the high-speed Alabama track. O'Donnell's comments were broadcast Monday morning during one of his regular guest appearances on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "Morning Drive" program. Earnhardt Jr. finished last in the 40-car field Sunday after a pair of early crashes sidelined his No. 88 Chevrolet. But in-car video of him trying to wrangle his car under control by grabbing the steering shaft after his steering wheel detached from the column gained traction on social media, but also caught the eye of NASCAR competition officials.