NASCAR’s latest shakeup of its scheduling format will see a short track added to the playoffs while taking away Chicagoland Speedway’s kickoff race to the Cup Series playoffs.
According to Motorsport.com, the 1.5-mile track south of Chicago will still host a regular season Cup race but it will no longer be a part of the playoffs. Instead, the recently announced second triple-header event weekend held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (which took New Hampshire’s September race) will serve as opening track to the 10-race playoffs.
NASCAR is also expected to move the second of two races at Richmond International Raceway’s short track to the playoffs. For the past 13 years, the second race at Richmond has served as the final race before the playoffs began. That honor will now belong to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will see its Cup event in late July moved to September.
The exact dates of the 2018 schedule are expected to be announced this summer.
“NASCAR and our industry partners are working very closely to finalize a 2018 schedule that will deliver great racing to our fans. We look forward to sharing it soon,” the governing body told Motorsport.com.
Will attendance for Chicagoland’s race may suffer, NASCAR hopes the playoffs shakeup will gets fans into seats for a crucial race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has struggled to sell tickets the past five years.
Las Vegas’ economic influence is well known, especially in NASCAR. According to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s meeting material in March, last year’s spring race attracted 96,400 out-of-town visitors resulting in a $139.2 million economic impact.