The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule features a can't-miss new look with variations in dates and longtime venues — particularly in an exciting new playoff portion of the lineup.
Changes to the iconic Daytona 500 date — back on President's Day weekend, Feb. 18 in 2018 — start a slate of substantial change and high intrigue.
The three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway short track will host one of the playoff races in the opening round of the postseason, and its spring date — April 21 — returns to a Saturday night feature.
The traditional regular-season finale will now shift from the Richmond short track to the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 9.
Chicagoland Speedway now is the site of NBC Sports' season debut on July 1 — just prior to the traditional Daytona International Speedway Coke Zero 400 stop a week later, a powerful one-two punch.
In another major playoff shakeup, Las Vegas Motor Speedway's brand new "second date" of the season will officially kick off NASCAR's playoffs on Sept. 16. Also significant: Charlotte Motor Speedway's playoff race will now be run on the venue's road course instead of its 1.5-mile oval.
That adds not only a road course to the postseason, but one that serves as the elimination event in the opening round on Sept. 30.
"I think a lot of it had to do with what we've heard from the fans over a period of time," Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, told NASCAR.com. "As the playoffs have continued to evolve and we've incorporated elimination into the playoffs, we've heard from our fans that they like to see some different variety in the places that we go during the playoffs.
"Most notably, the road course at Charlotte and the addition of the short track at Richmond are a couple of opportunities that presented themselves during the course of a lot of conversations with a lot of folks in the industry, and we were able to land in a good place."
In addition to the 60th anniversary of the Daytona 500 returning to its longtime President's Day weekend, Daytona Speedweeks has a refreshed look with both Daytona 500 pole qualifying and the always exciting Clash at Daytona preseason race held on the same day (Sunday, Feb. 11).
With the schedule changes, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opening three-race playoff round is Las Vegas-Richmond-Charlotte. The next round starts at Dover, then heads to Talladega and concludes in Kansas. The Round of 8 again is Martinsville-Texas-Phoenix, with the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series also will conclude at the Miami 1.5-miler after opening playoff rounds in Richmond, Charlotte and Dover. Subsequent races at Kansas, Texas and Phoenix will set up the South Florida finale.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will settle its title with a playoff opener on the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course, followed by races at Las Vegas and Talladega to set the Round of 8. Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix will decide the championship four vying for the big trophy at Homestead-Miami.
The Truck Series also joins the NASCAR Goes West initiative, heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 2) for a tripleheader weekend.
2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES SCHEDULE
Feb. 11: Daytona International Speedway (Clash / Daytona 500 Qualifying)
Feb. 15: Daytona International Speedway (Duel)
Feb. 18: Daytona 500
Feb. 25: Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 4: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 11: Phoenix Raceway
March 18: Auto Club Speedway
March 25: Martinsville Speedway
April 8: Texas Motor Speedway
April 15: Bristol Motor Speedway
April 21: Richmond International Raceway
April 29: Talladega Superspeedway
May 6: Dover International Speedway
May 12: Kansas Speedway
May 19: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Monster Energy All-Star Race)
May 27 : Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 3: Pocono Raceway
June 10: Michigan International Speedway
June 24: Sonoma Raceway
July 1: Chicagoland Speedway
July 7: Daytona International Speedway
July 14: Kentucky Speedway
July 22: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 29: Pocono Raceway
Aug. 5: Watkins Glen International
Aug. 12: Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 18: Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 2: Darlington Raceway
Sept. 9: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sept. 16: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sept. 22: Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 30: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Oct. 7: Dover International Speedway
Oct. 14: Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 21: Kansas Speedway
Oct. 28: Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 4: Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 11: Phoenix Raceway
Nov. 18: Homestead-Miami Speedway
2018 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES SCHEDULE
Feb. 17: Daytona
Feb. 24: Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 3: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 10: Phoenix Raceway
March 17: Auto Club Speedway
April 7: Texas Motor Speedway
April 14: Bristol Motor Speedway
April 20: Richmond International Raceway
April 28: Talladega Superspeedway
May 5: Dover International Speedway
May 26: Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 2: Pocono Raceway
June 9: Michigan International Speedway
June 17: Iowa Speedway
June 30: Chicagoland Speedway
July 6: Daytona International Speedway
July 13: Kentucky Speedway
July 21: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 28: Iowa Speedway
Aug. 4: Watkins Glen International
Aug. 11: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aug. 17: Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 25: Road America
Sept. 1: Darlington Raceway
Sept. 8: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sept. 15: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sept. 21: Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 29: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Oct. 6: Dover International Speedway
Oct. 20: Kansas Speedway
Nov. 3: Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 10: Phoenix Raceway
Nov. 17: Homestead-Miami Speedway
2018 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE
Feb. 16: Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 24: Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 2: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 24: Martinsville Speedway
May 4: Dover International Speedway
May 11: Kansas Speedway
May 18: Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 8: Texas Motor Speedway
June 16: Iowa Speedway
June 23: Gateway Motorsports Park
June 29: Chicagoland Speedway
July 12: Kentucky Speedway
July 18: Eldora Speedway
July 28: Pocono Raceway
Aug. 11: Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 15: Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 26: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Sept. 14: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 13: Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 27: Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 2: Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 9: Phoenix Raceway
Nov. 16: Homestead-Miami Speedway