What happened: NASCAR dropped the 2019 Cup Series schedule out of the blue on Tuesday. It has no changes from this year’s schedule — all tracks are the same, and in the exact same order. Last year, the 2018 schedule was announced May 23, so this is even earlier.
What it means: There was no fanfare for this announcement (in the past, it was even unveiled on a TV show) because there’s nothing notable about next year’s schedule other than it remains the same. The 2018 version had some significant changes (moving Indianapolis to the cutoff race, putting Richmond in the playoffs, giving Las Vegas a second race instead of New Hampshire), and it’s clear NASCAR believes its current order is a good one. Officials have also been putting a priority on getting the schedule out earlier as part of the five-year sanctioning agreements with tracks to help fans plan their future trips. Of course, the downside is there’s no freshness or exciting new venues, like another short track.
News value (scale of 1-10): Two. As reflected in the way NASCAR made its announcement, there’s nothing really special about the news because there are no changes. It’s the same as this year.
Three questions: Will this exact order of the schedule also remain for future years? Is there any chance of NASCAR adding new venues (MORE SHORT TRACKS) once the five-year agreements with tracks end, or are we kidding ourselves? What’s the holdup behind not trying a midweek race during the summer?