Easter Sunday is today, and for the first time since the 1970 season, the NASCAR Cup Series has a race scheduled for that day.
The last time the NASCAR Cup Series raced on Easter Sunday was the 1989 season. But that only happened because the race at Richmond Raceway was postponed from February to Easter due to snow.
The most recent season in which a Cup Series race was actually scheduled for Easter Sunday was the 1970 season, more than five decades ago. Bobby Allison won this race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
With the exception of Easter Sunday, there hasn’t even been a race on Easter weekend since the 1985 season, when Bristol Motor Speedway held a race the day before the holidays. Prior to that, it hadn’t happened since the 1971 season when Greenville-Pickens Speedway hosted a race.
But that’s all set to change this weekend, and it’s a decision few people like very much.
There’s only one weekend on this year’s Cup Series 36-race schedule, from the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. season at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 6.
And this weekend off is the third weekend in June, Father’s Day weekend – not Easter weekend.
For only the 12th time in Cup Series history, the series is set to hold a race on Easter Sunday. The Food City Dirt Race, the second dirt race ever at Bristol Motor Speedway, is set to take place tonight (full start list available here). It is scheduled to air live on Fox starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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Today’s race is set to end a streak of 51 consecutive seasons in which no race was originally scheduled on Easter Sunday.
There have been just 19 Cup Series races contested over Easter weekend since the sport’s inception, including eight on the Saturday before Easter and 11 on the bank holiday itself.
Easter weekend Cup Series races were much more common. From 1952 to 1971, there were 17 in total, including 14 in a row from 1958 to 1971.