NASCAR Moving Homestead-Miami To Second Cup Series Slot
Homestead-Miami Speedway will move to the second slot of the '21 NASCAR Cup Series season, sources say, as the track will now try to draft off of the season-opening Daytona 500 the week before. NASCAR is in the process of finalizing its schedule, and the slate is expected to feature a host of changes including new tracks. But sources say that among the changes will also be some shifts among tracks already on the schedule, including moving the NASCAR-owned Homestead, which was supposed to be the sixth points race this year. The second slot this year was held by Speedway Motorsports’ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and prior to that it was held for several years by Atlanta Motor Speedway. Homestead is expected to market the new move as a way for NASCAR fans already at the 500 in Central Florida to extend their vacation by going down to South Florida for another race weekend. The new Homestead date should be on the weekend of Feb. 21, 2021, following the 500 that has already been announced as running on Feb. 14.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Homestead is still trying to find its new groove in the South Florida market after NASCAR moved the championship race away from the venue for the first time since '02. The venue’s race in March this year was postponed for several months by the pandemic, and its eventual makeup date in June became the first event where NASCAR hosted fans back at the track (in this case, several hundred military members). This year’s Cup race was the first year of a new entitlement deal from Dixie Vodka as part of a multiyear partnership that is expected to continue in 2021. Las Vegas’ new slot is unclear. The Daytona Speedweeks used to be around two weeks long, but they’ve been cut down in length to closer to a week -- so this move will allow the NASCAR industry to spend effectively the same amount of time in Florida to start the season as they used to in the past, while now also cutting out a future trip back to the state later in the season. That should theoretically improve the cost efficiency of the season. NASCAR has only released a few races dates on its 2021 slate, including Daytona, but it is expected to release at least the first portion of the schedule as early as next week. NASCAR declined comment.