NASCAR Xfinity Series
By Brad Norman
4 Minute Read
NASCAR released its 2020 schedule for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Wednesday, unveiling an innovative slate that mirrors the work done for next year’s Cup Series schedule and one that brings both series back to iconic Virginia short tracks for the first time in more than a decade.
The announcement also provides a clearer picture of the schedule for a historic Pocono Raceway doubleheader next summer, and a look at the tricky road to the Championship 4 — at a new venue — for both series.
Confirmed last week with the reveal of the Cup Series schedule, ISM Raceway at Phoenix will host a tripleheader championship weekend, beginning with the Gander Trucks title race Nov. 6. The Xfinity Series championship is decided the next night at the 1-mile track.
ISM Raceway at Phoenix recently completed a $178 million renovation project designed to improve the fan experience, and one which included a reconfiguration for the track’s start/finish line. The track has hosted the Round of 8 finale for all three NASCAR national series since the introduction of the NASCAR Playoffs elimination format.
RELATED: Xfinity Series schedule page
Perhaps the biggest change confirmed Wednesday is the return of the NASCAR Xfinity Series to historic Martinsville Speedway, with incredibly high stakes in the penultimate race of the season before the title field is set.
The Xfinity Series has raced at Martinsville just once in the past 25 years — in July 2006, a race won by Kevin Harvick. Martinsville will host the Gander Trucks that weekend as well, setting up the first-ever tripleheader weekend at the track.
Richmond Raceway also plays a prominent role in both schedules. The Gander Trucks will return to Richmond for the first time since 2005, while the newly renovated raceway will play host to the regular-season finale in the Xfinity Series to set the field for the 12-driver Playoff field.
“The NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series were both built on short-track racing, and it is important that short tracks remain a prominent part of our series schedules,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR managing director of racing operations and international development. “We returned to our roots in many ways with today’s announcement. Martinsville and Richmond were part of the original Xfinity and Gander Trucks schedules, and we’re excited for their return as part of a strong overall slate.”
The Xfinity Series schedule has three new tracks in its seven-race Playoffs, and two new elimination races that mirror the Cup Series at a road course and a short track.
The postseason opens Sept. 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway, with a Friday night race under the lights. After a trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway — both Bristol and Las Vegas are new to the postseason — the series concludes the Round of 12 at the Charlotte Roval.
The Round of 8 sees a Kansas-Texas-Martinsville stretch before ending at ISM Raceway.
The Gander Trucks, meanwhile, open the Playoffs at Gateway Motorsports Park. The 1.25-mile track serves as host for the first Round of 8 race on Aug. 21. A trip to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, site of the 2019 Playoffs opener, and then Bristol Motor Speedway completes the Round of 8.
RELATED: Gander Trucks schedule page
The Round of 6 starts at Las Vegas, and includes Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway before crowning a champion at ISM Raceway.
Announced last week with the 2020 Cup Series schedule reveal, Pocono Raceway will hold the first Cup Series doubleheader in NASCAR history. The Cup Series will race at the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” on Saturday and then again on Sunday, two points-paying races in two days.
It’s officially a tripleheader weekend in Pennsylvania. The Gander Trucks joins the NASCAR Cup Series on a full Saturday of racing, and the Xfinity Series races on Sunday — also with the Cup Series. Yes, that’s four NASCAR national series races in two days.
“I definitely think it’ll be a bucket-list item for fans,” Kennedy said. “It’s going to be a unique piece of our schedule for all three series.”
The full schedules below: