NASCAR confirms practice, qualifying for eight races

A majority of NASCAR national series races last season were held without any on-track pre-race sessions after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, a measure taken to streamline events and limit the disease’s spread. Following last year’s racing pause, only one race had qualifying — the Coca-Cola 600.

Here are the eight Cup Series events for the upcoming season — a mix of high-profile races and events at new venues — for practice and qualifying to be held:

 Feb. 14: Daytona 500
 March 28: Bristol Motor Speedway dirt
 May 23: Circuit of the Americas
 May 30: Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway
 June 20: Nashville Superspeedway
 July 4: Road America
 Aug. 15: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
 Nov. 7: Phoenix Raceway

Official weekend schedules — including details on qualifying format and the amount of practice time — have not been released, and the 2021 schedule remains subject to change. Plans to potentially include practice and/or qualifying at NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events will be determined at a later date.

Last season, starting lineups for events without qualifying were determined first by a random draw among groups in national series standings. That format was replaced by a performance-metrics formula that blended season-long performance with the previous week’s results to establish the starting lineup. Officials indicated the format for setting starting lineups at 2021 events without qualifying will be announced later.