Darlington Raceway was the big winner in the realignment of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for 2015, which was announced live Tuesday on FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR Race Hub.
After spending the past decade having its date moved around, the granddaddy of NASCAR superspeedways gets its traditional Labor Day weekend date back, a nod to the grand traditions of the sport.
The 1.33-mile, egg-shaped oval hosted a Sprint Cup race every Labor Day weekend from the time the track opened way back in 1950 until 2003. In 2004, Darlington’s second date was moved to November, when it became the penultimate race of the season and got its one and only appearance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
In 2005, Darlington was cut from two Sprint Cup races annually to just one, with its date moved to Mother’s Day weekend, where it remained until this season, when it traded dates with Kansas Speedway, moving Darlington up to April.
With Darlington moving to Labor Day, Atlanta takes over as the second points race of the year, one week after the Daytona 500.
Phoenix moves from the second race of the year to the fourth.
Bristol moves back five weeks, from mid-March to mid-April.
Kentucky moves from one week before the July Daytona race until one week after.
Surprisingly, perhaps, there are no changes in the tracks used for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The last time a new track was added to the Chase was 2011, when Chicagoland Speedway replaced Auto Club Speedway.