As speculated late last week, NASCAR has confirmed a few changes to the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series schedule.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will replace Richmond International Raceway as the regular season finale. Since its debut to the NASCAR circuit in the late 90s, the Indy 400 has been held mid-Summer.
Announced earlier this year already, was that Las Vegas Motor Speedway would be hosting a second race staring in 2018. NASCAR has confirmed that the second race at LVMS will be the playoff opener. This replaces Chicagoland, which has been the opening race of the playoffs since 2011. Chicagoland now moves back into the regular season with a date of July 1.
The other domino affect with Las Vegas Motor Speedway getting a second race is that New Hampshire Motor Speedway will lose one of theirs. The one mile track has held a race in the Summer and in the playoffs for a number of years. To make room for LVMS moving into next years playoffs, NHMS will lose their postseason race.
Richmond, who has been the regular season finale since NASCAR adopted the Chase format, will move to the second race of the playoffs. The moves pushes Richmond back just two weeks from their usual placement on the schedule.
Another change for RIR is the famed track will go back to two night races a year. Beginning in 2015, Richmond went back to day racing in its Spring race. After a few years of lowered attendance and soaring heat temperatures, track officials have brought back night racing for both races.
The other change to the schedule is Charlotte Motor Speedway will move its playoff race from the second round, to the end of the first round. This makes the first round of the playoffs a gauntlet of Las Vegas, Richmond, and. Charlotte.