DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR officials have announced a 14-race, 13 weekend schedule for the K&N Pro Series East next season, coming on the heels of a year in which graduates of the tour made a heavy impact on the highest levels of the sport.
The 2018 calendar features a slate of some of the most historic short tracks on the East coast, as well as a number of combination events with the NASCAR national series, designed to provide an elevated opportunity for the sport’s rising young stars.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season will again take the green flag on the season on Sunday, Feb. 11, as a featured part of the 52nd Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.
The high-banked half-mile, just 10 miles from Daytona Int’l Speedway, is an instrumental part of the NASCAR season launch.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINTY Series weekend, while the second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24.
Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.
Meanwhile, the series champion will be crowned on Friday, Oct. 5, on the concrete high-banks of Dover Int’l Speedway. The Monster Mile saw a pair of NASCAR Next drivers, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, battle it out for the title this year, with Burton taking the win and his first NASCAR championship.
The Burton-Gilliland duel – which combined for nine K&N Pro East wins and also saw Gilliland take the K&N Pro Series West title – was part of a monumental season for the series.
2015 series champion William Byron won this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, while Martin Truex Jr. – who got his start in the K&N Pro series East – won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.
Byron and series alumni Alex Bowman and Darrell Wallace Jr. were elevated to renowned rides in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2018, where they will join the likes of fellow series’ graduates Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Daniel Suarez.
“Over the last decade, we’ve seen the NASCAR K&N Pro Series transform into the primary developmental series for our next generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The 2018 schedule is designed to provide a proving ground for the next crop of young drivers looking to make their mark on our sport.”
In total, the K&N Pro Series East will be part of five national series event weekends next year. In addition to Iowa and Dover, the series will run at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 14, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 21, and Watkins Glen International on Aug. 3.
Three of NASCAR’s historic short tracks will again host events. Virginia’s South Boston Speedway returns with its unique twin 100-lap championship events on May 12, and is preceded by Virginia’s Langley Speedway on April 28. Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host its popular throwback weekend on July 14.
Memphis International Raceway will bring the series back to its three-quarter mile oval on June 2, while the K&N Pro Series will also be part of the triple-header race day on Sept. 22 at New Hampshire, along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Canadian-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
New Jersey Motorsports Park’s popular race date has been moved to June 16 and gives the drivers a second chance to gain experience on a road course, alongside the August race at Watkins Glen.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.
2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Schedule
Date – Venue – Location
Feb. 11 – New Smyrna Speedway – New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
April 14 – Bristol Motor Speedway – Bristol, Tenn.
April 28 – Langley Speedway – Hampton, Va.
May 12 – South Boston Speedway** – South Boston, Va.
June 2 – Memphis Int’l Raceway – Millington, Tenn.
June 16 – New Jersey Motorsports Park – Millville, N.J.
July 14 – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, Conn.
July 21 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.
July 27 – Iowa Speedway (C) – Newton, Iowa
Aug. 3 – Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Aug. 24 – Gateway Motorsports Park (C) – Madison, Ill.
Sept. 22 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.
Oct. 5 – Dover Int’l Speedway – Dover, Del.
** – Twin 100-lap races
(C) – Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
CREDIT: NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications