NASCAR was able to avoid what could have been a scheduling disaster, and things actually worked out even better than usual.
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to begin this afternoon with the 64th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Last year’s race was contested on the second Sunday of the month, and it took place just one week after Super Bowl LV. But with the NFL regular season having added an 18th week for the 2021-2022 season, Super Bowl LVI was naturally contested on the second Sunday of February this time around.
Some believed that this could have caused a problem for the Cup Series and the Daytona 500. Could you imagine having the Daytona 500 and the Super Bowl on the same day?
If a scenario ever unfolded where both events were slated to be held on the same Sunday, we all know which one of the two would be forced to find a new date.
But this potentially disastrous situation was able to be avoided – and there was really never a true threat of it unfolding, despite the addition of the 18th week of NFL regular season action.
The reason that all of the trouble was avoided was because of Presidents’ Day; thank you, George Washington.
Presidents’ Day is observed annually on the third Monday in February.
In 2021, that third Monday was February 15. In 2022, that third Monday is February 21.
With the Daytona 500 coming one day before Presidents’ Day in each of the last four years (and having never been contested earlier than that in the race’s 63-year history), that trend is set to continue to in 2022, with the race taking place this afternoon.
A 52-week gap between the 2021 Daytona 500 and the 2022 Daytona 500 would have seen the race take place on Sunday, February 13, which would have marked the earliest that it had ever taken place.
So despite the fact that Super Bowl LVI took place on Sunday, February 13 as opposed to Sunday, February 6, which it would have been if the 18th week had not been added, there is no conflict.
Interestingly, NASCAR actually made out better than expected.
The week between the AFC and NFC conference championship games and the Super Bowl was an off week for the NFL (aside from the Pro Bowl). This year, that off week was the week that would have previously hosted the Super Bowl.
This year, NASCAR is actually raced on what would have been Super Bowl Sunday – Sunday, February 6.
The 2022 season and the Gen 7 car era unofficially got underway with the annual Busch Light Clash exhibition race, and for the first time ever, that race was not contested at Daytona International Speedway.
Last year, the race was contested at the track’s road course layout after 42 straight years of being contested at the oval going back to 1979. But after just one year at this layout, the 44th annual running of the event took place on a purpose- built track inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the USC Trojans football team.
Interestingly, Super Bowl LVI took place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California (Inglewood, to be exact), so NASCAR running a race just seven miles away simply would not have been possible if not for this NFL schedule change – one that ironically had some fans worried about a clash, no pun intended.
The official 2022 season-opening Daytona 500 is set to be broadcast live from Daytona International Speedway on Fox beginning at 2:30 pm ET this afternoon. If you have not started your free trial of FuboTVbe sure to do so now!