2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start times announced

The start times for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series have been released. The most notable change is the elimination of 1 p.m. East Coast start times.

Where did the 1 p.m. start times go? Well for starters, there weren’t that many to begin with.

The 2017 season featured just three start times at either 1 or 1:30 p.m. The spring race at Texas started at 1:30 p.m. EST and the spring race at Dover and fall race at Charlotte both began at 1 p.m.

Regardless, NASCAR has shifted back to the late-afternoon start times that predicated the last few seasons.

NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluck also made an interesting observation, noting that 15 races will have a start time with :30 at the end. In a world where TV ratings matter more than ticket sales, finding the right TV window is key. The way to unlock those TV ratings might be through different start times.

Besides the start times, the rest of the schedule is very similar to 2017 with a few Key changes to the 2018 schedule include:

  • The return of the DAYTONA 500 to President’s Day weekend.
  • The NASCAR playoffs will begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway road course as part of the first round of the NASCAR playoffs.
  • Chicagoland Speedway will host it’s sole race in July instead of September.
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway moves from two races to one.

In the official press release from NASCAR, Steve Herbst, senior vice president, broadcasting and production at NASCAR, stated, “Feedback from our fans, along with insight from teams, tracks and our broadcast partners was key to identifying the most ideal start time for each race. Every race weekend is unique, so considering fan and industry input alongside each event’s nuances allows us to balance interests on all sides.”

Below is the full schedule with race start times.

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Date Location Network Race Start Radio
2/11 Daytona 500 Qualifying at

Daytona International Speedway

FOX 12 p.m. ET MRN
2/11 The Clash at

Daytona International Speedway

FS1 3 p.m. ET MRN
2/15 The Duel at

Daytona International Speedway

FS1 7 p.m. ET MRN
2/18 DAYTONA 500 at

Daytona International Speedway

FOX 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
2/25 Atlanta Motor Speedway FOX 2 p.m. ET PRN
3/4 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. ET PRN
3/11 Phoenix Raceway FOX 3:30 p.m. ET MRN
3/18 Auto Club Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. ET MRN
3/25 Martinsville Speedway FS1 2 p.m. ET MRN
4/8 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 2 p.m. ET PRN
4/15 Bristol Motor Speedway FOX 2 p.m. ET PRN
4/21 Richmond International Raceway FOX 6:30 p.m. ET MRN
4/29 Talladega Superspeedway FOX 2 p.m. ET MRN
5/6 Dover International Speedway FS1 2 p.m. ET MRN
5/12 Kansas Speedway FS1 8 p.m. ET MRN
5/19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open at

Charlotte Motor Speedway

FS1 6 p.m. ET MRN
5/19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at

Charlotte Motor Speedway

FS1 8 p.m. ET MRN
5/27 Charlotte Motor Speedway FOX 6 p.m. ET PRN
6/3 Pocono Raceway FS1 2 p.m. ET MRN
6/10 Michigan International Speedway FOX 2 p.m. ET MRN
6/24 Sonoma Raceway FS1 3 p.m. ET PRN
7/1 Chicagoland Speedway NBCSN 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
7/7 Daytona International Speedway NBC 7 p.m. ET PRN
7/14 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. ET PRN
7/22 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 2 p.m. ET PRN
7/29 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
8/5 Watkins Glen International NBC 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
8/12 Michigan International Speedway NBCSN 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
8/18 Bristol Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. ET PRN
9/2 Darlington Raceway NBCSN 6 p.m. ET MRN
9/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway NBCSN 2 p.m. ET IMS
9/16 Las Vegas Motor Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. ET PRN
9/22 Richmond International Raceway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. ET MRN
9/30 Charlotte Motor Speedway NBC 2 p.m. ET PRN
10/7 Dover International Speedway NBCSN 2 p.m. ET MRN
10/14 Talladega Superspeedway NBC 2 p.m. ET MRN
10/21 Kansas Speedway NBC 2 p.m. ET MRN
10/28 Martinsville Speedway NBCSN 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
11/4 Texas Motor Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. ET PRN
11/11 Phoenix Raceway NBC 2:30 p.m. ET MRN
11/18 Homestead Miami Speedway NBC 2:30 p.m. ET MRN

Follow Matt on Twitter, @mattlovisa.

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