Darlington back to Labor Day weekend on 2015 schedule

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.

Other changes:

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.

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Charlotte and Kansas trade fall dates.

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.

2015 Sprint Cup Series Schedule

Saturday, Feb. 14  Sprint Unlimited, FOX

Sunday, Feb. 15  Daytona 500 Qualifying, FOX

Thursday, Feb. 19  Duel, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, Feb. 22  Daytona 500, FOX

Sunday, March 1 Atlanta, FOX

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Sunday, March 8  Las Vegas, FOX

Sunday, March 15  Phoenix, FOX

Sunday, March 22  California, FOX

Sunday, March 29  Martinsville, FOX

Sunday, April 5  Off

Saturday, April 11 — Texas, FOX

Sunday, April 19  Bristol, FOX

Saturday, April 25  Richmond, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, May 3  Talladega, FOX

Saturday, May 9  Kansas, FOX Sports 1

Saturday, May 16  Sprint All-Star, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, May 24  Charlotte, FOX

Sunday, May 31  Dover, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, June 7  Pocono, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, June 14  Michigan, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, June 21  Off

Sunday, June 28  Sonoma, FOX Sports 1

Sunday, July 5  Daytona, NBC

Saturday, July 11  Kentucky, NBCSN

Sunday, July 19  New Hampshire, NBCSN

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Sunday, July 26  Indianapolis, NBCSN

Sunday, August 2  Pocono, NBCSN

Sunday, August 9  Watkins Glen, NBCSN

Sunday, August 16  Michigan, NBCSN

Saturday, Aug. 22  Bristol, NBCSN

Sunday, Aug. 30  Off      

Sunday, Sept. 6  Darlington, NBC

Saturday, Sept. 12  Richmond, NBCSN

Sunday, Sept. 20  Chicagoland, NBCSN

Sunday, Sept. 27  New Hampshire, NBCSN


Sunday, Oct. 4  Dover, NBCSN

Saturday, Oct. 10  Charlotte, NBC

Sunday, Oct. 18  Kansas, NBC

Sunday, Oct. 25 — Talladega, NBCSN

Sunday, Nov. 1  Martinsville, NBCSN

Sunday, Nov. 8  Texas, NBC

Sunday, Nov. 15  Phoenix, NBC

Sunday, Nov. 22  Homestead, NBC

VIDEO: Analyzing changes to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule