NASCAR moves Atlanta and Watkins Glen into the playoffs on 2024 schedule

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR added Atlanta Motor Speedway and the road course at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York to the playoffs as part of the 2024 Cup Series schedule released Wednesday.

Many of the celebrated changes to the schedule had already been announced: Bristol Motor Speedway is removing the dirt for its spring race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is returning NASCAR to his historic oval and Iowa Speedway will finally host a Cup race.

The remainder of the schedule release showed that the season again begins with the exhibition Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, followed by the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. The season ends once again at Phoenix Raceway, where the Cup champion will be crowned on Nov. 10.

The notable changes to the schedule are the additions of the playoffs of Atlanta and Watkins Glen, as well as the regular-season finale moving one week from Daytona to Darlington, South Carolina, in an unchanged stretch of August racing.

Daytona had most recently been the regular-season finale and Darlington’s Southern 500 the playoff opener.

Texas Motor Speedway lost the playoff race it has hosted since 2004 and its lone Cup race will be in the spring. Kansas Speedway, meanwhile, moved its playoff race from the middle race in the round of 16 to the opening race in the round of 12.

Richmond Raceway’s annual spring race will be on Easter Sunday, a shift to the date most recently held by Bristol. Bristol is not only removing the dirt that had given it fan appeal the last few years, but the Tennessee track is going back to a March date after nearly a decade of battling inclement weather at that time of the year.

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One surprise is the return of the hybrid oval/road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosts this Sunday’s playoff elimination race in the round of 12. Drivers last week said they wanted The Roval off the schedule with a return to the regular oval, but Charlotte Motor Speedway’s parent company is hanging on to the idea that began as a novelty.

NASCAR, like IndyCar, will have a two-week break during the Paris Olympics to accommodate broadcast partner NBC Sports. The Cup Series schedule:

Sunday, Feb. 4 Clash (L.A. Memorial Coliseum), Fox

Thursday, Feb. 15 Duel at Daytona, FS1

Sunday, Feb. 18 Daytona 500, Fox

Sunday, Feb. 25 Atlanta, Fox

Sunday, March 3 Las Vegas, Fox

Sunday, March 10 Phoenix, Fox

Sunday, March 17 Bristol, Fox

Sunday, March 24 Circuit of the Americas, Fox

Sunday, March 31 Richmond, Fox

Sunday, April 7 Martinsville, FS1

Sunday, April 14 Texas, FS1

Sunday, April 21 Talladega, Fox

Sunday, April 28 Dover, FS1

Sunday, May 5 Kansas. FS1

Sunday, May 12 Darlington. FS1

Sunday, May 19 North Wilkesboro, FS1

Sinday, May 26 Charlotte, Fox

Sunday, June 2 Gateway, FS1

Sunday, June 9 Sonoma, Fox

Sunday, June 16 Iowa, USA

Sunday, June 23 New Hampshire, USA

Sunday, June 30 Nashville, NBC

Sunday, July 7 Chicago, NBC

Sunday, July 14 Pocono, USA

Sunday, July 21 Indianapolis, NBC

Sunday, Aug. 11 Richmond, USA

Sunday, Aug. 18 Michigan, USA

Saturday, Aug. 24 Daytona, NBC

Sunday, Sept. 1 Darlington (regular-season finale), USA

Sunday, Sept. 8 Atlanta (playoffs begin), USA

Sunday, Sept. 15 Watkins Glen, USA

Saturday, Sept. 21 Bristol, USA

Sunday, Sept. 29, Kansas, USA

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Sunday, Oct. 6 Talladega, NBC

Sunday, Oct. 13 Charlotte Roval, NBC

Sunday, Oct. 20 Las Vegas, NBC

Sunday, Oct. 27 Homestead-Miami, NBC

Sunday, Nov. 3 Martinsville, NBC

Sunday, Nov. 10 Phoenix, NBC

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