Race Weekend Central

Chicagoland, Sonoma, Richmond Losing Cup Events in 2020 Amid COVID-19

Three tracks originally on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar will lose races in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per a May 8 announcement, Chicagoland Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Richmond Raceway will all lose race weekends in 2020 to accommodate NASCAR’s reconstruction of its race calendar for 2020 in response to its hiatus.

Chicagoland and Sonoma will not host NASCAR events in 2020 since they only had one original weekend of racing.

NASCAR elected to axe the three events for various reasons due to the pandemic in favor of keeping racing close to NASCAR’s home base in the Carolinas for the immediate future.

“Due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several racetracks,” a NASCAR release stated. “These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected racetracks. We thank all our fans for their support and we look forward to our return to racing.”

The move comes in response to NASCAR’s decision to host additional racing at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway later this month. Darlington, which was only scheduled to hold one Cup event, will now hold three, beginning with a 400-mile contest on May 17 that will also serve as NASCAR’s return to racing after a nearly two-month hiatus, assuming its scheduled race later in the year remains at the track. Charlotte will also host three Cup races, with two on its oval course and another on its ROVAL.

A timetable for the resumption of NASCAR events beyond Darlington and Charlotte is unknown.

About the author

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Never at a loss for words, Zach Gillispie is a young, talented marketing professional from North Carolina who talks and writes on the side about his first love: racing! Since joining Frontstretch in 2018, Zach has served in numerous roles where he currently pens the NASCAR 101 column, a weekly piece delving into the basic nuts and bolts of the sport. Additionally, his unabashedly bold takes meshed with that trademarked dry wit of his have made Zach a fan favorite on the weekly Friday Faceoff panel. In his free time, he can be found in the great outdoors, actively involved in his church, cheering on his beloved Atlanta Braves or ruthlessly pestering his colleagues with completely useless statistics about Delma Cowart.

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Bill Harper

Unfortunate isn’t even close to describing the combination of circumstances causing the loss of these races, but most especially the road course…just as NASCAR and many if not most in the fan base are finally recognizing that turning left & right generally results in pretty good races.

It’s a shame that one of the options open to avoid this would be having Cup race on the IMS road course to make up for that loss – as a double-header. NASCAR had to step up and “lose” 2 events vs SMI losing 1, and to at least add back the road course at a NASCAR-friendly, albeit unfamiliar venue, would be a win-win, as it seems NASCAR has finally accepted that the Cup level needs additional events with right turns….California loses (for 2020) whether we all agree it had to be this way or not.

Not going into the politics of CV-19 & state-by-state policies & plans that dictated this path as we all look ahead with anticipation and hopes for some good racing before NASCAR becomes just another of many choices for sports entertainment.


There are plenty of really good road courses close to Charlotte that would put on a great show! Losing Chicago is no big deal, but Nascar needs to find a way to replace the lost road course!

Bill B

A shame to lose a road course and pseudo short track but I doubt that anyone will mourn the loss of Chicago (except for those that look forward to attending each year).

Although I have to admit, if you think about trading any of those races for another Darlington race in any given year, it certainly would be tempting.

Bill Harper

The latest news raises the question of whether Chicagoland may just go away, period….could be the last race to ever be run in Joliet has already happened. NASCAR needs the revenue, since there’s been no real positive cash flow now for the past few months, and with other expense streams (employee layoffs, etc) draining resources, it looks like the Illinois track may be on the chopping block.

Bill B

Nothing would surprise me but that is an ISC track and it’s only 20 years old. That certainly would be a short lifespan for a track that cost as much as it did.

I have any idea, just tear the track up and make it a short track or a road course.

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