South Florida will remain the final stop on the road to the championship in NASCAR in 2015 as Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the finales of the circuit’s three premier series for the 14th consecutive year.
The schedule, announced Tuesday, has Ford Championship Weekend set for Nov. 20-22, 2015, the first time it will fall immediately prior to Thanksgiving since 2012. Four drivers will vie for this year’s Sprint Cup title in the culmination of the new elimination format at Homestead-Miami on Nov. 16.
Fox will air the first 16 races and NBC the final 20 under the new 10-year, $8.2 billion television deal.
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There had been speculation that with the new Chase format creating a championship-deciding final race that the event might be moved around like the Super Bowl.
But NASCAR CEO Brian France said recently that finale will stay at Homestead for at least the next five years. The weather in November as well as the quality of the track makes it the preferred venue. In addition, Ford’s sponsorship, which was due to expire at the end of this season, was recently extended through 2019.
In his annual midseason address last month at Daytona, France said, “Historically we’ve liked the fact that to do it in South Florida, the weather is great that time of year obviously, it’s a good market for us, and the track, and this is an important thing, is by any definition, the best mile-and-a-half track that the drivers believe that they have — that they can really race hard and compete hard, and that matters, too, right. It’s a very important thing,” but added, “There’s nothing to preclude a directional change down the road.”
The 2015 season begins, as usual, with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. However, the summer race at Daytona International Speedway will move to Sunday night (July 5) instead of Saturday night as in recent years.
Another notable change has Darlington Raceway returning to the Labor Day Weekend slot after an 11-year absence.
There is also a new early season three-week Western swing through Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, Calif.
2015 Sprint Cup Series schedule with TV:
Feb. 14: Daytona International Speedway (Sprint Unlimited exhibition race) (FOX)
Feb 15: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500 qualifying) (FOX)
Feb. 19: Daytona International Speedway (Duels) (FOX Sports 1)
Feb. 22: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500) (FOX)
March 1: Atlanta Motor Speedway (FOX)
March 8: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (FOX)
March 15: Phoenix International Raceway (FOX)
March 22: Auto Club Speedway (FOX)
March 29: Martinsville Speedway (FOX)
April 5: OFF