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Daytona Road Course will replace Fontana due to COVID-19 surge

NASCAR’s 2021 Cup Series schedule has already seen its first change and the season hasn’t even started yet.

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Go Bowling

Due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, especially in California, the Feb. 27-28 race weekend planned for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., has been canceled. 

Instead, NASCAR will host Truck, Xfinity and Cup series races the weekend after the Feb. 14 Daytona 500 on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, which it used as a replacement venue during the pandemic-altered 2020 schedule.  

The Xfinity and Cup series would then move in their third week to Homestead-Miami Speedway, which was originally scheduled to be the second stop of the 2021 season.  

NASCAR is moving the Truck race originally scheduled for Homestead week to Friday, Feb. 19, on the Daytona Road Course, making that weekend a tripleheader. 

“Daytona International Speedway is known for iconic moments, and last year’s historical, first NASCAR road course races were incredibly exciting and added to the legacy of the ‘World Center of Racing’,” said DIS President Chip Wile.  

“It was also great to see our trio of winners go on and hoist championship trophies at Phoenix. We’re thrilled to have all three series back.” 

Since the 2-mile oval in California hosts one NASCAR race weekend per season it’s unlikely NASCAR will return to the venue later in 2021. The track has hosted at least one Cup series race every season beginning in 1997.  

The move to the 14-turn, 3.57-mile road course at Daytona means the 2021 season will begin with three consecutive race weekends in the state of Florida and the first two at Daytona.  

The series’ fourth race weekend would pick back up March 5-7 with all three national series competing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  

Sheldon Creed won the inaugural Truck race on the Daytona Road Course this past season; Austin Cindric won the Xfinity race; and Chase Elliott claimed the victory in the Cup race, one of five wins on his way to his first series championship in 2020.  

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