It has been more than a week since the NASCAR Cup Series ran its first doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway, a move that received high praise from many competitors amid a hectic weekend schedule and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, there are two reasons for the Cup competitors to set their sights and enthusiasm for August.
In NASCAR’s fourth installment of the 2020 schedule, the Cup competitors are scheduled to compete in two additional series races on the same weekend at Michigan International Speedway on August 8-9 and at Dover International Speedway on August 22-23. The four Cup races between the two weekends are slated as four of six remaining regular season races in August until the Cup Series postseason field is determined and the series enters the 2020 Playoffs, beginning in September.
On June 27-28, NASCAR hosted its first Cup doubleheader weekend at Pocono. With no practice or qualifying sessions held and no fans in attendance, the lineup for the first race was determined based on a random draw while the lineup for the second race was based on the results from the first race, where the top-20 finishers were inverted and the remaining 20 finishers were left as finished. It was a weekend that made it challenging for the teams to prepare or repair the car run on Saturday in time for the second race on Sunday. The competitors enjoyed the process of exiting and returning to their cars between the two events with opportunities of repeating or improving their results for additional points and positions. Among the competitors who expressed positive reviews toward the doubleheader weekend were former Cup champions Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, who won the first Pocono doubleheader event on Saturday over Denny Hamlin before Hamlin overtook Harvick following a late pit strategy the following day.
Even before the inaugural Cup doubleheader weekend at Pocono, NASCAR was no stranger to running two series races at the same racetrack on consecutive dates. On June 13-14, the first NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader weekend at the same track occurred at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both races in Miami came down to a late shootout, where rookie Harrison Burton won on Saturday and Chase Briscoe won on Sunday. The Xfinity Series is set to run its next pair of doubleheader races at Kentucky Speedway on July 9-10 before running back-to-back races at Dover International Speedway on August 22-23. The NASCAR Gander Rv & Outdoors Truck Series will run its first doubleheader at Kansas Speedway on July 24-25.
The series doubleheaders scheduled throughout this season, except for the Pocono doubleheader, were part of the sanctioning body’s efforts in rescheduling, realigning and postponing the remaining NASCAR national division series races for 2020 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which expanded to include midweek races and four to five division races per weekend.
Future plans regarding more doubleheader weekends for a single series along with the 2021 NASCAR schedule have not been determined and are in progress. The rest of the 2020 NASCAR schedule will be determined at a later date.