Pocono Raceway announces NASCAR schedule for 2020 doubleheader weekend

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 27: Austin Hill, driver of the #16 United Rentals Toyota, and Ross Chastain, driver of the #45 Niece/Acurlite Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Gander RV 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 27, 2019 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Next year’s Pocono Raceway schedule will feature a longer weekend, shorter Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races but considerably more racing action at the 2.5-mile triangular track.

For the first time, NASCAR will run two points-paying Cup races on the same weekend, culminating in a 350-miler on Sunday, June 28. The day before, Cup drivers will run their first race of the weekend, with a length still to be determined.

Practice and single-car qualifying for the first Cup race will take place on Friday, June 26, and cars will be impounded thereafter. Drivers will use the same cars for both races, with the starting order for the second race determined by an inversion of the cars remaining on the lead lap at the end of Race No. 1, reporters learned Saturday during the announcement at Pocono.

“There’s a little flux here,” Pocono Raceway CEO Nick Igdalsky said of the first Cup race. “The race length is tentative at this point… We’re shooting for a 350-miler on that one, but that one may flex a little bit.”

Accordingly, the Cup cars may have to run as many as 700-miles under race conditions in the same weekend.

“After (Race 1), we will give the competitors back their cars, and they can do all their maintenance,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “They can’t really run the 700 miles without having their cars back for general service and all that.

“So we’ll give them their cars back. They will likely change valve springs and work on any slight damage from the race and all the maintenance to prepare for 350-mile Race 2.”

Teams will keep the pit stalls they earn during Friday’s qualifying for both races.

Both Cup races will be part of doubleheaders, with the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series running a 200-mile event before Saturday’s Race 1 and the NASCAR Xfinity Series competing over 225 miles before Sunday’s Race 2.

The ARCA Menards Series will feature a 200-mile race on Thursday afternoon.

Greg Engle