NASCAR today announced the 2014 schedule for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the 33rd season of racing for the second-most popular motorsports series in the United States. Next year's schedule once again features a variety of tracks that will challenge drivers, many of whom are quickly transforming into up-and-coming national series stars.
"As it continues to provide great racing for our fans, the NASCAR Nationwide Series is also a launching pad for our rising talent," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "It's exciting to watch the growth of current and former series drivers Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. among others in their progression to challenge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars like Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick. Those former NASCAR Nationwide Series champions also make up a majority of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers."
For the third consecutive season, the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule will consist of 33 races on intermediate venues, road courses and short tracks. Three road course races will again be showcased, including Road America (June 21), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 9) and Mid-Ohio (Aug. 16), which is located less than 60 miles from Nationwide Insurance's Columbus, Ohio headquarters. ESPN networks will continue to provide live broadcasts of the entire schedule in 2014.
Changes to next season's schedule include three date shifts from the 2013 edition: Darlington Raceway will hold its race a month earlier (April 11), while the first Iowa Speedway event is now slated for May 18 (it had previously been held in June). Texas Motor Speedway's date moved one week earlier in the calendar to April 4; the Texas and Darlington date changes coincide with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule released earlier this week. Chicagoland Speedway's standalone event on July 19 will return to a night race for the first time since hometown driver Justin Allgaier won there in 2011.
Daytona International Speedway hosts the season opener on Feb. 22 while the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway is set for Nov. 15. Six "standalone" dates are also included on the 2014 schedule. These races have been a major part of the series' identity throughout its history, putting the spotlight squarely on series regulars vying for the championship. Iowa Speedway will host two standalones (May 18 and Aug. 2), along with Chicagoland, Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 20), Road America and Mid-Ohio.
And for the sixth straight year, NASCAR and Nationwide Insurance will partner to bring back the popular "Dash 4 Cash" bonus program for drivers and fans alike. The unique program rewards and recognizes NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship contenders and adds elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during the designated "Dash 4 Cash" races. An announcement on the complete 2014 program details will be released at a later date.
2014 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES SCHEDULE
2/22 Daytona International Speedway
3/1 Phoenix International Raceway
3/8 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/15 Bristol Motor Speedway
3/22 Auto Club Speedway
4/4 Texas Motor Speedway
4/11 Darlington Raceway
4/25 Richmond International Raceway
5/3 Talladega Superspeedway
5/18 Iowa Speedway
5/24 Charlotte Motor Speedway
5/31 Dover International Speedway
6/14 Michigan International Speedway
6/21 Road America
6/27 Kentucky Speedway
7/4 Daytona International Speedway
7/12 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
7/19 Chicagoland Speedway
7/26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
8/2 Iowa Speedway
8/9 Watkins Glen International
8/22 Bristol Motor Speedway
8/30 Atlanta Motor Speedway
9/5 Richmond International Raceway
9/13 Chicagoland Speedway
9/20 Kentucky Speedway
9/27 Dover International Speedway
10/4 Kansas Speedway
10/10 Charlotte Motor Speedway
11/1 Texas Motor Speedway
11/8 Phoenix International Raceway
11/15 Homestead-Miami Speedway
The original article can be found at FOXSports.com: 2014 Nationwide Series schedule.