All three of NASCAR’s national touring series will return to Kansas Speedway in 2018, including two Monster Energy Cup Series races for the eighth consecutive season.
NASCAR released its 2018 schedule Tuesday afternoon. Kansas Speedway will host the Camping World Truck Series on Friday, May 11, 2018 with the Cup Series spring race on Saturday, May 12. Both will be night races once again.
Kyle Busch won the truck race and Martin Truex Jr. won the Cup race this spring at Kansas, a weekend that was overshadowed by a three-car wreck that left Aric Almirola with a compression fracture in his back.
Kansas will continue to serve as the elimination race in the second round of the playoffs, a switch that was made for the 2017 season. That race this season, the Hollywood Casino 400, is set for Sunday, Oct. 22. The Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 is Oct. 21.
“I’m looking forward to hosting an elimination race for the second round of the playoffs,” Kansas Speedway president Patrick Warren said in a release from the track. “The in-race drama for the final spots in the third round of the playoffs is definitely going to ratchet the intensity up a notch.”
Next year’s fall Cup race at Kansas Speedway will be on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, with the Xfinity Series on Saturday, Oct. 20.
“I’m excited to have Kansas Speedway host two very different NASCAR race weekends again in 2018,” Warren said.
While the new schedule won’t impact Kansas, there are several changes on the horizon.
“As the playoffs have continued to evolve and we’ve incorporated elimination into the playoffs, we’ve heard from our fans that they like to see some different variety in the places that we go during the playoffs,” Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, said in a release on NASCAR.com.
The season-opening Daytona 500 will shift back a week to Feb. 18, 2018, while Richmond International Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been added to playoffs.
Richmond used to host the final race before the playoffs, but with its move into the postseason schedule that honor now will belong to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Chicagoland Speedway, which had held the first postseason race, has been bumped from the playoffs and instead will serve as the midseason debut race when national broadcast coverage shifts from Fox to NBC.
Another major change to the playoffs is that the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway now will be run on the venue’s road course rather than its oval.
Charlotte will continue to serve as the elimination race in the first round of the playoffs.
“Most notably, the road course at Charlotte and the addition of the short track at Richmond are a couple of opportunities that presented themselves during the course of a lot of conversations with a lot of folks in the industry, and we were able to land in a good place,” Cassidy said.