Exhibition Races: Busch Clash on the Daytona Road Course, Texas All Star Race
AJ -NASCAR's exhibition events are some of the most important on the schedule for the premier series of stock car racing. I believe that having the Clash on the road course sounded great at first. They were making a new event out of an iconic one. With the addition of the road courses in the regular season, there isn't as much of a need to do this with the Daytona Clash, though. I'm not let down, but I would have preferred it left alone. With the All-Star moving to Texas in 2021, it marks the third consecutive season the All-Star event will be held at a different track. In my opinion, they should keep this a tradition and move it somewhere new every year. Good move for short gain, but PLEASE don't keep it in Boss Hoss's back yard.
Zach - When the Daytona Road Course was announced as the Busch Clash I was excited, but after NASCAR ran the Daytona Road Course this season I'm a bit down on this race, but maybe under the lights with a smaller field it could work. The Texas All Star race should be interesting the low expectations of the racing at Texas means that the potential for something exciting is high.
Segment 1: Daytona 500, Homestead, Auto Club, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Bristol dirt, Martinsville
AJ - The Daytona 500 is one of the most significant sporting events in the world. In my opinion, it carries prestige just shy of the Indianapolis 500 and the Super Bowl. Regardless of where we each rank the 'Great-American Race', there's no arguing that it is the premier series' most anticipated each season. There have been small talks in last couple of years about the potential of moving this race to another spot on the cup schedule. While just rumours, that topic comes up every year on social media or by independent writers. I'm thankful each time NASCAR sticks with the tradition and keeps it at the start of the race season. The other big moments in this schedule segment include the final running of Auto Club's 2.0 mile configuration as the track will transition into a high-banked short track beginning in 2022. Bristol's change to dirt will be one of the most discussed changes by far in 2021. I don't believe this type of event belongs on a national touring series calendar, but I believe I'm in the minority on that. I'll go into detail on my opinions another time.
Zach- The first eight races of the schedule remain relatively unchanged from the 2020 schedule except for Homestead moving up the schedule, and the Bristol dirt race. Moving Homestead up is a fantastic idea with the shortening of the Daytona Speed Weeks is almost like a Spring Break road trip. The Bristol dirt race will absolutely be the most hit or miss event on the schedule. I tend to think it will be a miss because the fans know how great Bristol is on its own, and for the dirt race to be a success the best case scenario is that it is equal to a regular Bristol race.
Segment 2: Richmond, Talladega, Kansas, Darlington, Dover, Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Charlotte, Sonoma, Nashville
AJ - This portion of the schedule is interesting to me because it introduces two tracks to NASCAR's cup schedule that have never been involved in the history of the sport. NASCAR executives promised big changes to the schedule over the last couple of years and we were offered Charlotte's Roval. While there is no harm in adding the Roval event, the addition of brand new tracks is significant. Cota and Nashville will be embraced heavily by local fans, and the action they're sure to bring will be received well by the TV viewer as well. I am excited to see how NASCAR on Fox handles the coverage of this, as they haven't had a major shakeup in their broadcasting schedule in many years (outside of the Covid inspired iRacing events in 2020).
Zach - This part of the schedule features three major changes; Darlington gets its second race back and the new tracks of Circuit of the Americas, and Nashville. COTA is the highlight here for me, and its simple we get a new racing opportunity in Texas, its the best racing facility in the U.S., and its another road course. Nashville is more of a long term plan track in my opinion, and I think its to test fan interest in the area to get a race date at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds, and if that is where this goes I'm in on Nashville.
Segment 3: Pocono Double Header, Road America, Atlanta, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen, Indy Road Course, Michigan, Daytona