NASCAR looks ahead to "What's New in 2023"
NASCAR has announced the 2023 schedules for the 75th anniversary season of the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck series. The race will be held at the Chicago Street Race, an incomparable venue with a rich history.
Last year, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the main event for the Busch Light Clash. The Coliseum surprised a lot of people but led to a crowd of more than 70% first-time attendees for the pre-season exhibition. If you missed the fun last year, this year will be a different experience that will wow you. It will be worth it to meet the racing stars of the season.
A unique new tradition will take place two weeks after the Clash when the World Center of Racing hosts all three national series for the regular-series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“As we prepare to celebrate our 75th anniversary season, we are committed to delivering a schedule that acknowledges the deep history and tradition of our sport while establishing a bold future that brings the best racing in the world to new markets and new fans,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy.
The celebrated tradition of the sport will be highlighted by the race on the Chicago Street Course. Starting July 1, the first NASCAR street race will begin for the Xfinity Series. On July 2, the Cup Series will start on the streets of Windy City surrounded by historic structures. Be prepared for NASCAR’s speedy appearance as racers zoom the course.
A forgotten tradition that is making an appearance is the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway which will take place on Sunday, May 21. On May 20, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will commence at North Wilkesboro. The last race NASCAR completed at this venue was in 1996, taking its place as an original venue for NASCAR racing. This event is the best opportunity for people who take pride in the historical roots of the sport.
Another iconic historical venue is the Milwaukee Mile Speedway. The Truck Series will kick off Sunday, Aug. 27 at the Milwaukee Mile for the first time since 2009 when Ron Hornaday Jr. Bratwurst won the event.
“As we prepare to celebrate our 75th anniversary season, we are committed to delivering a schedule that acknowledges the deep history and tradition of our sport while establishing a bold future that brings the best racing in the world to new markets and new fans,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy. “The 2023 schedules are a product of continued collaboration across our industry and partners. We are incredibly proud of what our sport will have to offer fans next season and excited to celebrate this milestone season with the most diverse compilation of tracks in motorsports.”
Drivers to look for in 2023 races
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), who recently announced his move to Richard Childress Racing, will head into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round with 16 elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch is ranked 13th in the Playoff standings, two points away from the Round of 12 cutoff. He is a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion that has achieved the Round of 12 eight times in his career (2014 through 2021). He has an average finish of 16.5 on the year, and has led a total of 624 laps. His best performance at Bristol led to an average finish of 13.031 finishing in third place. At Bristol, he made 32 series starts at the 0.533-mile track with eight wins, 14 top fives, 19 top 10s and two poles. Furthermore, he is ranked inside the top five in two key pre-race Loop Data categories with an average position of 12.539 and driver rating of 102.4. Overall this season, he has earned a season-to-date driver rating of 89.2.
Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet), ranked seventh in the Playoff standings, will compete at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott is up +28 points on the Round of 12 cutline. While he was the 2022 Regular Season Champion, he has not had the start he was planning for. However, he hopes to advance to the Round of 12 for the seventh time in his career (2016 through 2021). He has led 719 laps and has an average finish of 11.5. For the season, Elliott has a season-to-date driver rating of 99.2 and a series-leading four wins, 10 top fives, 17 top 10s and three poles. Preparing for Bristol, he has made 11 series starts at Thunder Valley highlighting three top fives, five top 10s and a pole. Elliott had an average finish at the .533-mile track of 13.273 placing fourth. He also ranks in the top five two key pre-race Loop Data Categories with an average of 9.666 and a driver rating in third place at 98.8
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) ranked third in the Playoff standings up +47 points on the Round of 12 cutline will compete at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin will be attempting to advance to the Round of 12 cutline this Saturday for the seventh time in his career (2014 through 2021). He has a season-to-date driver rating of 87.3 placing 11th best and has gained two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s and three poles. He has accomplished 390 laps with an average finish of 17.8. Hamlin has made 31 series starts posting two wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s and four poles at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. At the half-mile track, his average finish is 14.156 placing eighth best. At Bristol, he has also ranked in the top 10 in two key pre-race Loop Data categories achieving an eighth-best average running position of 13.584 and a sixth-best driver rating of 92.4.
This article contributed by Claire Becknell.