NASCAR has officially announced the schedule for the Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 season and it looks as though fans can rest easy as very few changes have been made to the schedule, but the season will definitely not lack in excitement with the running of redesigned race cars.
Unveiled and tested throughout 2012, the new Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry race cars will debut on February 16 with the preseason Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Penske Racing made headlines when the team announced they would make the move from Dodge to Ford, ultimately eliminating the manufacturer from the sport. According to a September 25 press release, qualifying for the season-opener will take place on February 17 with the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on February 24.
“The new NASCAR Sprint Cup cars for next season have dominated fan conversation for more than a year, and the time is approaching to unleash them on the race track,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO, according to NASCAR.com. “Next year’s schedule again will offer a strong mix of challenges for our talented drivers, and we believe fans will continue to enjoy what they’ve come to expect: the most exciting and competitive racing in the world.”
The only major change made to the sport’s premier series schedule is that Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway have swapped second race dates. With Kansas’s repave project complete, the race will now return as the No. 4 race in the Chase on October 6 and the series will return to Talladega on October 20 for race No. 6 of the Chase.
Following the Daytona 500, the series will head to Phoenix International Raceway on March 3 for race No. 2 and Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10 for race No. 3. The Chase for the Sprint Cup will begin at Chicagoland Speedway for the third season in a row and will conclude on November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The first half of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season will air on Fox. Most of the Chase races will air on ESPN with the exception of the October 12 Charlotte race which will air on ABC.
In 2012 NASCAR made several rule changes including reducing the size of the radiator and increasing the restrictor plate in order to give the cars more power and eliminate the frequency of the two-car tandem racing that dominated the 2011 season. Most recently, TicketNews discussed the parameters set by NASCAR on the cars’ rear steering in order to prevent teams from setting up truck arms to move more freely, making it easier to steer through turns. There have so far been no announcements of any rule changes for 2013.