BROOKLYN, MICH. – NASCAR is expected to announce the 2009 Sprint Cup Series schedule this week with several modifications to the 36 points race slate.
The rumored three-way swap between Atlanta, Fontana and Talladega will reportedly take place effectively bringing the annual Labor Day weekend race back to the Southeast.
Fontana inherited the Labor Day date when NASCAR ended the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the race has suffered since. Attendance problems and excessive heat were just a few of the issues Fontana faced in trying to start a new end-of-summer tradition.
The change gives Fontana an early-October race within the Chase, offering NASCAR its goal of holding a championship season event in the country’s second-largest media market.
Talladega then will shift back to late October, occupying the spot formerly held by Atlanta.
The move makes sense pretty much all around and short of reinstating the Southern 500 to its original heritage, looks as if it will be successful.
Atlanta’s race will run on Sunday evening giving the track a built-in rain date while also offering fans a travel day on the holiday Monday.
There will also be changes in the Nationwide and truck series schedules.
Mexico City is off the 2009 Nationwide slate with an Iowa Speedway date in its place.
The trucks will only race at Atlanta once in 2009 and compete at Chicagoland Speedway in August on the IRL weekend.
Iowa could also play host to the trucks if Martinsville Speedway drops one of its two events in 2009.
All three NASCAR national division schedules are expected to be released later this week.