Xfinity, Camping World Truck Series welcome Portland, Lucas Oil to 2022 schedules

NASCAR released the 2022 schedules for both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series on Wednesday, making two long-awaited returns to familiar venues at Portland International Raceway and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Both tours open the season in February at Daytona International Speedway and close out the year in November for championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway, but changes abound in between those two tripleheader bookends. The Xfinity Series remains at 33 races next season, but the Camping World Trucks calendar grows by one to a 23-race schedule.

“A lot of data and a lot of collaboration that’s gone on with it, and I think it’s a testament to the industry working together and collaborating and really creating some of the best schedules that we’ve seen so far,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “So, excited to get the Cup (Series) schedule out a couple weeks ago, excited to get Xfinity and Trucks out today, and we’re going to start working on 2023 tomorrow.”

The Xfinity Series will hold its lone stand-alone event June 4 at the 1.964-mile Portland road course, marking the first event for a NASCAR national series there in more than two decades. The Camping World Trucks raced there twice from 1999-2000, and the Oregon circuit has hosted regional stock-car series under both the NASCAR and ARCA umbrellas.

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The return to the Lucas Oil track, formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park, will kick off the Truck Series playoffs on July 29 — run in conjunction with Xfinity and Cup Series races that weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 0.686-mile oval last hosted Xfinity and Truck events in 2011.

“It’s something that our fans have been asking for for a long time is getting back to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, and I think a big part of that is the racing product that it put on as another great short track that we had on the Camping World Truck Series schedule back in the day,” Kennedy said. “I think it’ll be a great addition to the schedule, especially on that weekend. I think from a timing perspective, it just, it couldn’t have worked out any better having it on the same weekend as the Xfinity and Cup race and then also to be able to kick off our playoffs as a part of that, too.”

Other highlights and notes from Wednesday’s schedule release:

— The Camping World Trucks’ road-course lineup gets a shake-up with the addition of Sonoma Raceway (June 11) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 9). The Sonoma circuit returns to the schedule for the first time since a 1995-98 stint in the series’ first four seasons. Mid-Ohio has been a regular stop on the Xfinity Series schedule for eight of the last nine years but transitions to a Truck Series event in 2022. Watkins Glen International remains on the Xfinity Series schedule (Aug. 20) but drops from the Camping World Trucks slate.

The truck tour will also miss a date at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the third consecutive year. The 2.459-mile road course in Ontario hosted Camping World Trucks events from 2013-19, but scheduled events the last two years have been canceled because of travel difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy said his team has stayed in contact with the track’s management and that he remains hopeful for an eventual return.

“From a fan perspective, it always amazes me when we go to Canadian Tire and to see the amount of fans that come out for that event every year,” Kennedy said. “You know, unfortunately, we haven’t had the ability to race there since 2019, and unfortunately won’t be going back there in 2022, and I think the biggest reason is just kind of the unknowns and uncertainties, there’s a lot of logistics that go into planning a lot of these races and a lot of lead time, especially for international events. It felt like it was best for us to press pause on 2022 and really kind of focus on the rest of the schedule. But they’ve been great partners to us and looking forward to continuing to stay in touch with them.”

— Both series have followed the Cup Series’ lead with tweaks to their playoff rotations. In the Xfinity Series, Texas Motor Speedway (Sept. 24) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 15) trade places on the schedule as the Round of 12 and Round of 8 openers, respectively. Homestead-Miami Speedway slots in Oct. 22 as the middle race in the Round of 8, moving Kansas Speedway back into the regular season. Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 16) returns as the regular-season finale.

In the Camping World Truck Series, the adjustments are broader with four new tracks in the postseason mix. Lucas Oil (July 29), Richmond Raceway (Aug. 13) and Kansas (Sept. 9) make up an all-new Round of 10, and Homestead-Miami (Oct. 22) enters as the Round of 8 finale to set the field of four title contenders. The regular-season finale shifts from Watkins Glen to Pocono Raceway (July 23) for 2022.

“We definitely want to keep the rotation fresh and, I think, kind of going back to the Cup schedule, we’ve seen it now play out for a year and now we’re getting a taste of it, of what this new playoff schedule looks like in its second year,” Kennedy said. “I think now that we’ve seen it play out, we wanted to keep it fresh, shake things up a little bit but still keep a lot of those cutoff races. … On the Xfinity and Truck Series schedule, it’s something that we constantly look at is not only what races are in the playoffs but what are those cutoff races and how do we make them exciting events for our fans. So that’s something that we’ll continue to look at. We saw some changes in the 2021 schedule from that perspective and excited to bring some more in ’22.”

— The Camping World Truck Series returns to a 23-race schedule in 2022 after a one-year dip to 22. The tour had run 23 races from 2015-20 and had a 25-race slate from 2003-11. The largest Truck Series schedule was 27 races in 1998, and the fewest races (20) came in the tour’s inaugural season in 1995.

“I think starting our season in Daytona and ending at Phoenix on championship weekend, we want to make sure that we’re driving as much momentum and as much content for our fans as we possibly can throughout that schedule,” Kennedy said. “Then another part of that, too, is you know I think a lot of feedback that we received from the industry and the teams. You know they want to see additional races on the Camping World Truck Series schedule, and that was another factor that went into it.

“As far as the number of races going forward, it’s something that we’ll continue to evaluate whether it makes sense to be at 23, go up, go lower or stay right at that number. I know we’ve had 23 races for a long time, and I think it’s a pretty good number and I think it’ll be great for the ’22 schedule.”

— The Xfinity Series returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the third consecutive year with a July 30 visit. Kennedy had indicated during the Sept. 15 release of the 2022 Cup Series calendar that a return to the 2.5-mile speedway layout was a possibility for future schedules.