The NASCAR Nationwide series is gearing up to welcome newcomers to the series for 2012. Austin Dillon, grandson of the legendary Richard Childress, is moving to the Nationwide Series after two full seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Danica Patrick made anticipated announcement in late August that she would be running the NNS in 2012 for JR Motorsports. The last newcomer so far for 2012 is one of the most versatile athletes in the world and charismatic personalities Travis Pastrana. Pastrana was supposed to make his debut at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at the end of July but an injury at the X-games is pushing it back until Phoenix in March 2012.
Even with all of these newcomers coming into the series there are still plenty of questions surrounding this series, which is struggling to find an identity. It was rumored the NNS would only see 30 races on it’s schedule for 2012, which would four fewer races than in 2011.
The series will host 33 races during the 2012 campaign. Only one race on the scheduled is an inaugural event, the July 28th race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The addition of the Brickyard means the departure from Lucas Oil Raceway Park, which had hosted the Nationwide series since 1982.
The Nashville Superspeedway, which has hosted races on the NNS scheduled since it’s inaugural race in 2001, won’t be on the schedule for the 2012 season. It’s unfortunate because Nashville is one of three tracks on the schedule that is concrete and had allowed NNS drivers only to shine away from the Sprint Cup Series drivers.
Iowa Speedway will host the first standalone event for NNS drivers May 20 and follow it up with their second race on August 4. During the 2012 season only six races will be stand alone events for the NNS. In 2011, there were eight standalone events.
The NNS will follow the Sprint Cup Series schedule shift, Kansas Speedway’s date moves to October 20, which will accommodate the repaving of the track, which is scheduled for April 2012.
For the first time, Kentucky Speedway will host two NNS races, on July 29 and September 22.
Daytona International Speedway opens up the 33 race schedule on February 25, a week later than the season has opened in the past. 2012 marks the 30 anniversary of the NNS.