TV Channels & Schedule for NASCAR’s Return to Auto Club Speedway

Kyle Busch

Getty Kyle Busch (front) will pursue his fifth win at Auto Club Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series is back at Auto Club Speedway for the first time since Alex Bowman’s win in 2020. Here is how to watch and what time the Cup Series race airs.

The Wise Power 400 will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 27. FOX will provide coverage for the 200-lap event with Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer as the main figures in the booth. 2003 Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth will join them in the booth, continuing the run of special guests. Viewers in Canada can watch on TSN.

Prior to the pre-race festivities featuring actor Danny Trejo and Super Bowl LVI champion Andrew Whitworth, there will be two blocks of “NASCAR RaceDay” to set the stage for the second Cup Series event of the season. The first will air on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET. The second will begin at 3 p.m. ET and will air on FOX.

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Xfinity & Cup Series Drivers Will First Have Practice

The Cup Series race will not take place until the afternoon of February 27. However, the drivers will hit the track one day prior for both practice and qualifying sessions. They will follow the new format that the sanctioning body set for the 2022 season.

The Xfinity Series drivers will take part in practice and qualifying first, doing so at 12 p.m. ET (FS1). According to the format released by NASCAR on November 19, 2021, the Xfinity Series will use a 20-minute session for practice, followed by single-car qualifying. 38 cars will make the final field while multiple others will miss out on the opportunity to contend for the win.

The Cup Series practice, for comparison, will only last 15 minutes. The drivers will then take part in single-car qualifying after splitting up into two groups. The five fastest drivers from each group will move on to the final round of qualifying, where they will battle for the Busch Pole and a spot in the first five rows.

The Forecast Calls for ‘Racing Weather’

With the Cup Series race taking place in California, there aren’t many concerns about inclement weather bringing out the red flag. Though there were races in 2005, 2008, and 2012 that had rain delays.

The 2012 Auto Club 400, in particular, came to a halt on Lap 129 due to rain. The drivers had to climb from their cars under red flag conditions and exit pit road while waiting for the weather to clear. They were unable to return to the track as NASCAR officials declared the race complete. Tony Stewart, who was in the lead at the time of the inclement weather, was named the winner over Kyle Busch.

The 2022 iteration, however, should take place without issues. According to the Weather Channel, the forecast calls for solid racing weather. The temperatures should be in the low 70s, and there is a 0% chance of rain under the partly cloudy skies.

The Xfinity Series race should take place under similar conditions. The forecast calls for temperatures in the high 60s with no chance of rain. There will be winds ranging between 10-20 mph as the drivers face off under mostly sunny skies.

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