The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule has gotten into the hands of media members early, creating conversations about the significant changes. Chief among them is the return of Auto Club Speedway and the addition of a new track on the Cup Series circuit.
“The Athletic” obtained an early copy of the 2022 Cup schedule and posted it in its entirety on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The outlet revealed that NASCAR will return to the Fontana track after a one-year absence amid discussions of major renovations. The track owners have proposed changing Auto Club Speedway from a two-mile superspeedway to a half-mile short track. The proposed renovations would not be complete until 2023, but NASCAR can still host races at the Southern California track.
The last time the Cup Series went to Auto Club Speedway, Alex Bowman won. He took the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to Victory Lane after leading 110 laps and locked up a spot in the playoffs. He also revealed during a post-race interview that he had made a tattoo wager with members of the band Underoath in which he would have to get his number as a tattoo if he won.
The other major change to the schedule is that World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Motorsports Park will now host a Cup Series race. The track near the St. Louis Arch served as the site of the first Truck Series playoff race in 2021, and then “The Athletic” reported that NASCAR was exploring a Cup race at the 1.25-mile track.
The 2022 Cup Series Schedule, Per ‘The Athletic’
|Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||Sunday, Feb. 6|
|Duel at Daytona International Speedway||Thursday, Feb. 17|
|Daytona 500||Sunday, Feb. 20|
|Auto Club Speedway||Sunday, Feb. 27|
|Las Vegas Motor Speedway||Sunday, March 6|
|Phoenix Raceway||Sunday, March 13|
|Atlanta Motor Speedway||Sunday, March 20|
|Circuit of the Americas||Sunday, March 27|
|Richmond Raceway||Sunday, April 3|
|Martinsville Speedway||Saturday, April 9|
|Bristol Motor Speedway (Dirt)||Sunday, April 17 (Night)|
|Talladega Superspeedway||Sunday, April 24|
|Dover International Speedway||Sunday, May 1|
|Darlington Raceway||Sunday, May 8|
|Kansas Speedway||Sunday, May 15|
|All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway||Sunday, May 22|
|Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway||Sunday, May 29|
|World Wide Technology Raceway||Sunday, June 5|
|Sonoma Raceway||Sunday, June 12|
|Nashville Superspeedway||Sunday, June 26|
|Road America||Sunday, July 3|
|Atlanta Motor Speedway||Sunday, July 10|
|New Hampshire Motor Speedway||Sunday, July 17|
|Pocono Raceway||Sunday, July 24|
|Indianapolis Road Course||Sunday, July 31|
|Michigan International Speedway||Sunday, Aug. 7|
|Richmond Raceway||Sunday, Aug. 14|
|Watkins Glen International||Sunday, Aug. 21|
|Daytona International Speedway||Saturday, Aug. 27|
|Darlington Raceway||Sunday, Sept. 4|
|Kansas Speedway||Sunday, Sept. 11|
|Bristol Motor Speedway (Night)||Saturday, Sept. 17|
|Texas Motor Speedway||Sunday, Sept. 25|
|Talladega Superspeedway||Sunday, Oct. 2|
|Charlotte Roval||Sunday, Oct. 9|
|Las Vegas Motor Speedway||Sunday, Oct. 16|
|Homestead-Miami Speedway||Sunday, Oct. 23|
|Martinsville Speedway||Sunday, Oct. 30|
|Phoenix Raceway||Sunday, Nov. 6|
Homestead-Miami Speedway is Back in the Spotlight
One of the biggest changes for 2022 involves a track that has remained on the schedule for multiple years. However, it is shifting back to a place of prominence after two seasons away from the spotlight.
From 2002-2019, Homestead-Miami Speedway was the sight of championship weekend for the top three series in NASCAR. However, the sanctioning body switched up the schedule for 2020 and moved championship weekend to Phoenix, where it remained in 2021 and for 2022.
With the title races moving, Homestead-Miami became the site of just yet another race. The Dixie Vodka 400 took place on June 14 in 2020 and Feb. 28 in 2021. The drivers used the track as a place to lock up a spot in the playoffs instead of one to fight for the championship trophies.
In 2022, however, Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as the site of a high-profile playoff race. The drivers will head to the Florida track on Oct. 23 for a Round of Eight race. This date will be the second-to-last before the field cuts to only four drivers for the championship race in Phoenix.