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2012 Sprint Cup schedule unveiled

The Sprint Cup schedule for the 2012 season has been published, with a slightly later start to the year but otherwise featuring few changes to this year's line-up.
NASCAR has published the 2012 Sprint Cup season schedule, featuring the 36 Cup races together the pre-season Shootout and Duel events at Daytona, and the mid-season Showdown and All-Star exhibition races.

The season-opening non-championship Speedweek at Daytona International Speedway will start one week later than it did in 2011, with the Shootout on February 18. The official Cup opener, the Daytona 500, is scheduled for the following weekend on Sunday February 26 - the latest start to the season since 1966. That forces a knock-on week's delay to the Phoenix and Las Vegas rounds which are now scheduled for the start of March.

The spring race at Texas has been moved to April 14 as a result of the timing of Easter next year, and the mid-week timing of the July 4 holiday in 2012 means that the summer race at Daytona will swap with Kentucky Speedway.

Perhaps the most significant change in an otherwise unsurprising schedule is that the autumn restrictor plate race at Talladega Superspeedway - which can have a big impact in the championship battle - is moved up to occupy the fourth slot of the Chase.

"Next year's schedule has a few adjustments that we think will be good for the fans and good for the overall flow of the season," said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. "We believe the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule will once again provide fans with what they've come to expect every season: the world's most exciting and competitive form of motorsports."

In the US, TV coverage continues to be split into three blocks across networks, with Fox taking the first 13 Cup races as well as the Speedweek and All-Stars exhibition events, TNT the next 6 and then ABC (and its cable sports channel ESPN) the final 17 races.

NASCAR is still to announce the 2012 schedules for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series competitions.

2012 Sprint Cup schedule

-- . Shootout - February 18
-- . Daytona 500 qualifying - February 19
-- . Duel 1 - February 23
-- . Duel 2 - February 23
1. Daytona 500 - February 26
2. Phoenix - March 4
3. Las Vegas - March 11
4. Bristol - March 18
5. Auto Club Speedway, Fontana - March 25
6. Martinsville - April 1
7. Texas - April 14
8. Kansas - April 22
9. Richmond - April 28
10. Talladega - May 6
11. Darlington - May 12
-- . Showdown (Charlotte) - May 19
-- . All-Star (Charlotte) - May 19
12. Charlotte - May 27
13. Dover - June 3
14. Pocono - June 10
15. Michigan - June 17
16. Infineon Raceway, Sonoma - June 24
17. Kentucky - June 30
18. Daytona - July 7
19. Loudon - July 15
20. Indianapolis - July 29
21. Pocono - August 5
22. Watkins Glen - August 12
23. Michigan - August 19
24. Bristol - August 25
25. Atlanta - September 2
26. Richmond - September 8
27. Chicago - September 16
28. Loudon - September 23
29. Dover - September 30
30. Talladega - October 7
31. Charlotte - October 13
32. Kansas - October 21
33. Martinsville - October 28
34. Texas - November 4
35. Phoenix - November 11
36. Homestead - November 18



Related Pictures

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Daytona International Speedway - panorama. [Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Smoke pours from the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, driven by Darrell Wallace Jr., during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick, driver of the #19 DrawTite Ford, poses with the 21 Means 21 poll award after qualifying for pole position during Pinnacle Propane Qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Goof Off/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 30, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Smokey Mountain/Curb Records Toyota, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 30, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Smokey Mountain/Curb Records Toyota, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 30, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Danica Patrick alongside the #10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing on pit road at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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