'Air Titan' track-drying availability highlights 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule
NASCAR unveiled the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. With the unveiling it was announced that there would be a welcomed visitor at each race weekend.
The vaunted Air Titan will complete its first full-time schedule in the upcoming season. The revolutionary track drying system has been available during eight race weekends so far this season. NASCAR is requiring tracks hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup events in 2014 to have the Air Titan onsite.
The Air Titan made its successful debut in April 2013 at Martinsville Speedway where its drying capabilities prevented a NASCAR Sprint Cup practice session from being cancelled. Its best performance of the season, however, came during the spring Talladega race weekend where it shaved nearly an hour off the drying time allowing both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events to be completed on their scheduled days.
"One of the things we're excited to announce today is that in addition to another great season of racing we're also working as hard as we can for our fans in the stands and those watching on TV for them to have the best chance at each of our events to see a completed race," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations.
"So we're happy to announce that the NASCAR Air Titan drying technology will be at every NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend in 2014. We all know that the time it takes to dry the track and the impact it's had on those either watching it in the stands or on TV was really the main reason Brian France asked for a solution to reduce that time frame."
For the 13th consecutive year, the schedule will consist of 36 points races as well as five non-points races. Although there are minimal changes to this year's schedule, four tracks have had their spring race dates shuffled slightly. Martinsville Speedway's weekend moves up one week to March 30, while the Texas Motor Speedway event is also one weekend earlier than this year. In addition, the Texas race switches from Saturday night to Sunday. Darlington Raceway's weekend jumps up one month in the season to April 12, while Kansas Speedway's event shifts from late April to May 10 and switches to a night race -- a first for the 1.5-mile track.
The balance of the schedule will remain the same with the 56th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23 opening the season with the "regular-season" finale at Richmond International Raceway. The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will begin the following weekend (Sept. 14) at Chicagoland Speedway and end Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As in years past, three of the non-points events will take place prior to the official beginning: the Sprint Unlimited (Feb. 15) at Daytona International Speedway and two Daytona 500 qualifying races (Feb. 20). In May, Charlotte Motor Speedway will once again host the Sprint Showdown and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race during NASCAR's all-star weekend.