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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]
Team XTREME Racing #44 entry - driven in the Daytona 500 by Reed Sorenson (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the The Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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