NASCAR: 2009 Schedule Receives a Much-Needed Facelift

Brian KennedyCorrespondent IJune 10, 2008

During the past couple of weeks, there has been more talk about NASCAR's schedule for future years than ever before. Bruton Smith recently bought the Kentucky Speedway, posing the question:

"Which track (or tracks) is in danger of losing dates?"

The two tracks that keep getting mentioned from are Pocono and Dover. Brian France has already said that there are not any significant changes coming for the 2009 schedule, meaning Kentucky will have to wait another year. After reading France's statement on the schedule, some questions popped into my head:

Should the California Speedway really have two dates on the current schedule? Absolutely not.

Should the Kentucky Speedway be granted a race and show what they have? Without a doubt.

These two moves, along with a few others, would not only help NASCAR as a sport, but help bring in a more diversified fan base. It's simple really—go to the tracks that produce the most action, and take away dates from tracks that lack excitement.

Many tracks that have the best finishes are only on the Nationwide or Craftsman Truck Series schedule. It seems these days NASCAR is only concerned about the money and not the action that puts the fans in the stands. Well, help is here, as the 2009 schedule is dissected and reworked to make the fans happier.

February 15, 2009: Daytona 500
Did you really think the Great American Race would be moved? There is no other way to start the NASCAR season.

February 22, 2009:
California Speedway
As much as I hate to admit it, California Speedway needs its February date to try and attract more fans out west.

March 1, 2009:
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The racing and the facilities at Las Vegas are top notch. Why mess up a good thing?

March 8, 2009: Texas Motor Speedway (Swaps dates with Atlanta)
Texas and Atlanta swap race dates so Atlanta can avoid the empty seats that are left due to the ACC Tournament weekend.

March 15, 2009:
Bristol Motor Speedway
Racing at Bristol...There is nothing like racing at the new age Coliseum.

March 22, 2009: Martinsville Speedway
Back-to-back short-track racing? Nothing could be better for NASCAR fans.

March 29, 2009: Atlanta Motor Speedway (Swaps dates with Texas)
Atlanta sells out its first race in nearly three years after switching dates with Texas.

April 5, 2009: North Wilkesboro Speedway (Race Taken: Phoenix Spring Race)
A guy can dream can't he? But after Junior Johnson finally purchases the track, makes vast renovations, and maps out a five-year plan for more seating, North Wilkesboro is put back on the schedule.

April 12, 2009: Off (Easter Weekend)

April 19, 2009:
Talladega Superspeedway
Racing heads to the largest track of them all in Alabama. Talladega's 188 laps of 43 cars all bunched together are what makes this track so popular.

April 25, 2009:
Richmond International Raceway
The D-shaped short track is a must early on in the schedule. The drivers love coming to Richmond twice a year racing under the lights

May 2, 2009: Darlington Speedway
NASCAR heads to one of the toughest tracks on the schedule. The Lady in Black is always unpredictable, taking out who she pleases.

May 10, 2009: Kentucky Speedway (Race Taken: California Fall Race)
Kentucky fans sell-out the Mother's Day race five minutes after tickets go on sale.

May 17, 2009: Off (Driver's celebrate a belated Mother's Day)

May 23, 2009: All-Star Race: Bristol Motor Speedway
Bruton Smith shakes things up and moves the All-Star Race to the "World's Fastest Half-Mile." It is only the second time in event history that the race is not in Charlotte. The race was run in Atlanta in 1986.

May 31, 2009: Lowe's Motor Speedway
What's better than a salute to the armed forces and a 600-mile marathon in this Memorial Day tradition?

June 7, 2009: Dover International Speedway
The Good Ol' Boys head north to try and tame the Monster Mile.

June 14, 2009:
Nashville Speedway (Race Taken: Pocono June Race)
After years of hosting Nationwide and Truck series races, Nashville finally gets another chance to host a NASCAR race. Darrell Waltrip comes out of retirement to race in the inaugural event, only to be taken out in the pace laps by Rowdy Busch.

June 21, 2009: Michigan Speedway
The traditional Father's Day race continues on at Michigan.

June 28, 2009: Iowa Speedway (Race Taken: Watkins Glen Race)
The popularity of Rusty Wallace's half-mile short track in the Midwest convinces NASCAR to give the 2 year-old track a date. Before the race, an announcement is made that many fans have gotten lost in the cornfields near the track.

July 4, 2009:
Daytona International Speedway
The summer edition at Daytona hits the ground running as Coca-Cola agrees to change the name of the race back to the Firecracker 400 presented by Coke.

July 12, 2009: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Moved from June 28 date)
With the addition of the Iowa Speedway, New Hampshire is bumped back two weeks to follow the race at Daytona.

July 19, 2009: Chicagoland Speedway
NASCAR heads into Chi-Town, where Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick are made honorary mob bosses before the race.

July 26, 2009: Pocono Speedway (Switches dates with Indianapolis)
Pocono and Indianapolis switch their race dates as ESPN begins its race coverage for the rest of the season in the Pocono Mountains.

August 2, 2009: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Switches dates with Pocono)
NASCAR kicks off August at the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Instead of running the oval, Eddie George makes the series run on the Formula 1 road course to make up for the absence of Watkins Glen.

August 9, 2009:
Michigan Speedway
NASCAR heads back to Michigan and the Irish Foothills for fast-paced action.

August 16, 2009: Kansas Speedway (Moved from September date)
Kansas gets booted from the Chase for a summer showdown. Why the move? Find out by scrolling down.

August 23, 2009: Bristol Motor Speedway
During the race, Bruton Smith announces plans for a dome to be built over Bristol in time for the 2010 August race.

August 30, 2009:
Richmond International Raceway
The final race before the Chase, and there is no better track to decide drivers' fate than Richmond.

September 6th, 2009: Off (Drivers get their final break before the 10-week Chase)

September 13, 2009:
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The Chase begins at the Magic Mile as Chase drivers vie for the lead in the point standings.

September 20, 2009: Dover International Speedway
From the Magic at New Hampshire to the monstrosity at Dover, the Chase can get shaken up in one lap.

September 27, 2009: Infineon Raceway (Moved from June date)
The most significant change in the schedule has Infineon moving from its June race date to the third Chase race. The Chase now has every type of track involved.

October 4, 2009:
Talladega Superspeedway
From the twists and turns of Infineon, to the high banks of Talladega, the "Big One" eliminates some drivers in the top 12 from championship contention.

October 11, 2009: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Whether 600 laps or 500 laps, the action is non-stop for three hours at Lowe's.

October 18, 2009: Martinsville Speedway
Mile-and-a-half tracks, a Superspeedway and a Road Course have all tested the Chase drivers as they enter into the paper-clip known as Martinsville.

October 25, 2009:
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Bill Elliott surprises everyone as he wins at his home track and "officially" retires in victory lane.

November 1, 2009: Texas Motor Speedway
The drivers head deep into the heart of Texas to tame Atlanta's sister track.

November 8, 2009: Phoenix International Raceway
The second-to-last race in the Chase heads to the land of sand, cacti, and cowboys on horses. The temperature isn't the only thing that heats up.

November 15, 2009: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The season concludes as the drivers, fans, and sponsors take in the new schedule that was raced.


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