Speed Zone Blog: “If I Owned NASCAR For a Day…” — Part 2; 2015 NNS Schedule

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blog by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online — Jonathan Moore/Getty Images North America photo — I’m back with more!

If you followed my blog from yesterday, you’ll know that I’m in the midst of a three-day series talking about what scheduling changes I would make if I owned NASCAR for a day. While I’m not Brian France, I know there’s been a lot of opinions going around of where people would like to see races land for the 2015 season, and there’s been some speculation as to where a few of the races for next year are going to land.

Since none of the changes are going to be officially announced until Tuesday, I want to take my stab at setting up my dream schedule for next season, with the new television contracts going into place and change in the air.

Let’s take a look at NASCAR’s second-tier division (I’m going to still call it the Nationwide Series for purposes of this article, even though I know the sponsorship concludes at the end of this season).

As I alluded to in the Truck Series blog yesterday, the Daytona season-opener stands, just moved up a week from the 2014 date to February 14th, 2014. Then, after we’re done tearing up equipment at Daytona, we’re going to give all the teams a weekend off to rebuild and catch their breath!

Thoughtful, huh?

After that, we’re going to bring NASCAR out west for what I call the “Western Swing” (a la the NHRA). March out west and hit Texas, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana in the four weeks following that off weekend after Daytona. Give everybody a chance to promote out west for a little more extended period instead of breaking it up going back and forth — then head home and grab three weeks off because of where Easter falls in the calendar this coming year — April 5th — and because the Nationwide Series doesn’t hit Martinsville.

Then it’s time to go short-tracking with races at Bristol and — yes, you’re not hallucinating — Motor Mile Speedway in mid-April in place of the traditional first Richmond date. Close enough to the big market to make sense, but away from the Cup series for an evening and back to a track that exemplifies the roots of NASCAR’s second-tier division.

After that, the series takes a two-week mid-south swing with shows at Talladega and Atlanta before the traditional All-Star weekend for the Cup series. However, I’m moving that Iowa date usually run on a Sunday to first week in June, following the Charlotte race on Memorial Day weekend. (You’ll see why in the grand finale tomorrow).

From Iowa, everything until July 4th is the same as its always been — Michigan, Road America, Kentucky and Daytona on Independence Day weekend before the next big change — staying in Florida an extra week to race at Homestead the second weekend in July. (We had to move that event somewhere to make room for Sin City on Champion’s week like I talked about with the Trucks, didn’t we?)

I went ahead and moved the Nationwide cars off of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Super Weekend” card at the end of July and back to where they truly belong that Saturday — Lucas Oil Raceway. After that return to tradition, another stretch of normalcy follows as the normal schedule kicks back in in August with the second Iowa stop, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Bristol.

Then things get fun. Traditionalists, prepare to rejoice.

Darlington is back on Labor Day. Let that sink in for a minute, because that means something for the Cup schedule (which I’ll talk about tomorrow). Darlington, back where it belongs. I know there are a few people cheering at that statement behind their computer screens.

Then we hit Richmond, and after that the Nationwide Series gets an off-weekend to buckle down before their big brothers in the Cup Series roll into their Chase for the Championship. Follow that up with races at Dover, Kansas, Chicagoland (shifted from its current space on the schedule) and Charlotte before the traditional fall break in mid-October gives that section of the calendar an almost-normal appearance.

Take two weeks off, and then to close the schedule, just like the Trucks, we’re heading out west. The Nationwide Series hits the half-mile at Irwindale for a Saturday night showdown before heading to Phoenix for the traditional penultimate stop on the calendar before heading to Sin City and continuing Champion’s Weekend by following the Truck Series on Saturday of the final weekend of the season in mid-November.

Oh by the way, if you haven’t been keeping count, that’s 30 races — I managed to keep the schedule eventful while still cutting a couple of race weekends out along the way, making it a little more economical and less stressful on the drivers and teams (we were at 33 races this season).

A couple of tracks lost their second dates along the way and a couple more had dates shifted, but besides the forlorned Indianapolis Motor Speedway — which, in all fairness, I love the track for the history, but the Nationwide cars just don’t put on good races there — no track was fully removed from the schedule. I wanted to keep some sense of loyalty to the tracks on the schedule now.

For the Nationwide Series, I wanted to get a little bit better balance between short tracks and speedways, as well as create a few more interesting non-companion weekends along the way while making the calendar economical for the teams. (That’s not easy by the way!) There’s still a big chunk of races that are companion shows (as you’ll see tomorrow) but in all reality, no matter what you do, that’s going to happen. It’s unavoidable. So you just make the best of it!

You may not agree with my changes, but I’d love to hear from you readers and find out what you think! Leave a comment in the comments area and tell me what you like or what changes you would make to the 2015 schedule (but please, keep it family-friendly)!

Keep it off the wall until Monday, when we hit the grand finale to this three day blog party and talk about some changes to the Sprint Cup Series schedule I’d like to see!


REVISED 2015 NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule

February 14th DRIVE4COPD 300 Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, FL
February 28th O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, TX
March 7th Boyd Gaming 300 Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas, NV
March 14th Blue Jeans Go Green 200 Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, AZ
March 21st TreatMyClot.com 300 Auto Club Speedway Fontana, CA
April 18th Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, TN
April 25th Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 Motor Mile Speedway Fairlawn, VA
May 2nd Aarons 312 Talladega Superspeedway Talladega, AL
May 9th Great Clips – Grit Chips 300 Atlanta Motor Speedway Hampton, GA
May 23rd HISTORY 300 Charlotte Motor Speedway Concord, NC
June 6th Get to Know Newton 250 Iowa Speedway Newton, IA
June 13th Ollies Bargain Outlet 250 Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, MI
June 20th Johnsonville Sausage 200 Road America Elkhart Lake, WI
June 26th John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 Kentucky Speedway Sparta, KY
July 3rd SUBWAY Firecracker 250 Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, FL
July 10th Ford EcoBoost 300 Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead, FL
July 25th SCOTT Get Geared Up 200 Lucas Oil Raceway Clermont, IN
August 1st US Cellular 250 Iowa Speedway Newton, IA
August 8th Zippo 200 at the Glen Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, NY
August 15st Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, OH
August 21st Food City 250 Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, TN
August 28th VFW/Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 Darlington Raceway Darlington, SC
September 4th Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Richmond International Raceway Richmond, VA
September 19th 5-HOUR Energy 200 Dover International Speedway Dover, DE
September 26th Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Chicagoland Speedway Joliet, IL
October 3rd Kansas Lottery 300 Kansas Speedway Kansas City, KS
October 9th Dollar General 300 Charlotte Motor Speedway Concord, NC
October 31st Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 250 Irwindale Speedway Irwindale, CA
November 7th ServiceMaster 200 Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, AZ
November 14th Nationwide Insurance 300 Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas, NV

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