Most people were expecting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ playoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to get moved to the infield road course, but on Thursday, NASCAR made an announcement with track officials saying that the race would move from a night time event back to a daytime race.
“Daylight Racing Time” is back for the Bank of America 500 as the race returns to a Sunday afternoon start time in 2017.
The fourth race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and first race in the Round of 12 will now be held on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. ET with TV coverage on NBC — instead of the initial announced date of Saturday, Oct. 7 — in a move geared for on-track competition and a more family-friendly schedule over a three-day weekend.
“Charlotte’s so tricky, especially when the sun’s out,” seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and defending Bank of America 500 winner Jimmie Johnson said in a track release. “And, the track’s finally aging and getting to a place with a lot of character (so) that a day race will allow us to run so many more lanes and, I think, create such an entertaining and compelling race … I’m really excited for a hot, slick, day race.”
The past two years have seen the race moved from Saturday to Sunday due to inclement weather. The race has not been scheduled for the daytime since 2002. The fall race weekend schedule at Charlotte had been set up to be a Thursday-Friday-Saturday affair in recent years.
This year’s schedule will also include: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying held on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET, and the XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 7, televised on NBCSN. That race is an elimination race in the XFINITY Series playoffs as the postseason field will shrink from 12 drivers to eight following the event.
“We’ve heard from fans and from several drivers about how much fun it is to race during the daytime at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Marcus Smith, speedway president and general manager, said in the release. “A return to ‘Daylight Racing Time’ also builds on our commitment to being ‘FANS FIRST’ by providing families with affordable, world-class entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone should set their clocks for ‘Daylight Racing Time,’ because it’s going to be an unforgettable weekend of racing.”
In other programming news: the fall race at Martinsville is now scheduled for a 3 p.m. ET start; and the fall Texas race will be broadcast on NBCSN.