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More pieces to the NASCAR 2011 Sprint Cup tour calendar puzzle are coming together

   Joey Logano, three-time Nationwide winner at Kentucky Speedway, certainly knows his way around the newest track to be added to NASCAR's Sprint Cup tour in 2011 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

    Piecing together NASCAR's 2011 Sprint Cup calendar has become a tortuous exercise the past few weeks, ever since NASCAR CEO Brian France, at Indianapolis July 25, said that negotiations were almost wrapped up and that the new season would have some intriguing twists.
    Well, the most recent analysis of what the new season should/may look like does have some twists, but how intriguing will be debated.
    This is the best preview we can piece together at the moment:

   -- California's Auto Club Speedway loses its fall championship chase weekend.
   -- Atlanta Motor Speedway loses its spring Cup weekend.
   -- That Atlanta date goes to Kentucky Speedway, for a now officially announced Saturday night 400 July 9th, the date that Chicagoland Speedway has held.
   -- Chicagoland Speedway will move its one Cup weekend to Sunday Sept. 18th, to open the chase, replacing New Hampshire Motor Speedway in that playoff-opening slot.
   -- NHMS's playoff slot will now be the second week of the chase.
   -- California's February 500 will be moved to March 27th. That will be the Los Angeles track's only NASCAR Cup weekend in 2011.
   -- Phoenix will take over the second weekend of the 2011 tour, following the Daytona 500, replacing California that weekend.
   -- The spring Atlanta weekend will likely become an off-weekend in 2011, in a curious twist.
   -- Martins ville's spring event will move a week later to April 3rd.
   -- Texas' April race will likely be Saturday night April 9th; that's Masters Weekend, and a Saturday night race would avoid a head-to-head TV confrontation.
   -- The new second Kansas Cup weekend will be June 5th, taking Pocono's spot on the calendar.
   -- The usual June New Hampshire Motor Speedway weekend will be moved three weeks later in the season, to July 17th. That currently is an off-weekend.
   -- The ESPN half of the 2011 tour will apparently open again with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, but next season that would begin a week later, July 31. That would eliminate what this season is an off weekend at the end of August (for the Montreal Nationwide race), and it would close out the season with a run of 17 consecutive Sprint Cup events.
   One question is which TV networks will handle some of these races. Turner's TNT has had a six-week summer stretch: June Pocono through July Chicago, and including the NHMS event. Would Fox cover the new Kansas race, or TNT?
   The official NASCAR 2011 schedule will probably be released in the next week or so.

NASCAR 2011 Sprint Cup tour schedule
(tentative, not official)

Feb 20       Daytona 500
Feb 27       Phoenix (new date for this track)
March 6     Las Vegas
March 13   Off-weekend (old Atlanta)
March 20   Bristol                              
March 27   California  (new date)
April 3        Martinsville (new date)
April 9        Texas  (Saturday night)
April 17      Talladega
April 24      Easter                    
April 30      Richmond  (Saturday night)
May 7        Darlington (Saturday night/Mother's Day weekend)
May 15      Dover                              
May 21     Charlotte-All Star (Saturday)
May 29     Charlotte 600
June 5       Kansas (new race; getting date from California)
June 12     Pocono
June 19     Michigan
June 26     Sonoma
July 2        Daytona 400 (Saturday night)
July 9        Kentucky (new race; Saturday night; replacing Chicago, which is moving)
July 17      New Hampshire (new date; moving from late June)
July 24      Off-weekend                      
July 31      Indianapolis (new date, a week later than this season)
August 7    Pocono
August 14  Watkins Glen
August 21  Michigan
August 27  Bristol (Saturday night)
Sept 4        Atlanta (Labor Day weekend)
Sept 10      Richmond (Saturday night)                       
Sept 18      Chicago (new date, moved from July)
Sept 25      New Hampshire
Oct 2         Dover
Oct 9         Kansas
Oct 15       Charlotte (Saturday night)
Oct 23       Talladega (new date, a week earlier than 2010)
Oct 30       Martinsville (new date, a week later than 2010)
Nov 6        Texas                              
Nov 13      Phoenix                           
Nov 20      Homestead-Miami    



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2011 Season

I think it's going to be a big mistake having the first play-off race at Joliet during football season. If the Bears play at home on that weekend, Joliet will be empty and the ratings will take a beating.If the Bears are playing an away game, the ratings will really take a beating. I would ask what sort of idiot would do something like that but I already know.

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