DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On the heels of a 2017 season that saw the impact of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – and its graduates – reverberate throughout the NASCAR ladder, the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East calendar was announced today. It features a slate of some of the most historic short tracks on the East coast, as well as a number of combination events with the NASCAR national series designed to provide an elevated opportunity for the sport’s rising young stars.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season will again take the green flag on the season on Sunday, Feb. 11, as a featured part of the 52nd Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. The high-banked half-mile, just 10 miles from Daytona International Speedway is an instrumental part of the NASCAR season launch.
The champion will be crowned on Friday, Oct. 5, on the concrete high-banks of Dover International Speedway. The “Monster Mile” saw a pair of NASCAR Next drivers, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, battle it out for the 2017 title, with Burton taking the win and his first NASCAR championship.
The Burton-Gilliland duel – they combined for nine K&N Pro East wins, and Gilliland took the K&N Pro West title – was part of a monumental season for the series. William Byron, the 2015 K&N Pro East champion, won the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, and Martin Truex Jr., who got his start in the K&N Pro East, won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.
Byron and series alumni Alex Bowman and Darrell Wallace Jr. were elevated to renowned rides in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2018, where they will join the likes of fellow series’ graduates Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Daniel Suarez.
“Over the last decade, we’ve seen the NASCAR K&N Pro Series transform into the primary developmental series for our next generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The 2018 schedule is designed to provide a proving ground for the next crop of young drivers looking to make their mark on our sport.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINTY Series weekend. The second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24. Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.
Other highlights of the 2018 schedule include:
• The K&N Pro Series East will be part of five national series event weekends. In addition to Iowa and Dover, the series will run at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 14, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 21, and Watkins Glen International on Friday, Aug. 3.
• Three of NASCAR’s historic short tracks will again host events. Virginia’s South Boston Speedway returns with its unique twin 100-lap championship events on Saturday, May 12, and is preceded by Virginia’s Langley Speedway on Saturday, April 28. Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host its popular throwback weekend on Saturday, July 14; Truex recorded one of his five career K&N Pro Series East wins at Thompson in 2001.
• Memphis International Raceway will bring the series back to its three-quarter mile oval on Saturday, June 2. Last year, Burton scored the win at Memphis en route to his championship.
• The K&N Pro Series will also be part of the triple-header race day on Saturday, Sept. 22 at New Hampshire, along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Canadian-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
• New Jersey Motorsports Park race date has been moved to Saturday, June 16 and gives the drivers a second chance to gain experience on a road course, along with the August Watkins Glen race.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.
2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Schedule
|11-Feb||New Smyrna Speedway||New Smyrna, Fla.|
|14-Apr||Bristol Motor Speedway||Bristol, Tenn.|
|28-Apr||Langley Speedway||Hampton, Va.|
|12-May||South Boston Speedway*||South Boston, Va.|
|2-Jun||Memphis International Raceway||Millington, Tenn.|
|16-Jun||New Jersey Motorsports Park||Millville, N.J.|
|14-Jul||Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park||Thompson, Conn.|
|21-Jul||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||Loudon, N.H.|
|27-Jul||Iowa Speedway**||Newton, Iowa|
|3-Aug||Watkins Glen International||Watkins Glen, N.Y.|
|24-Aug||Gateway Motorsports Park**||Madison, Ill.|
|22-Sep||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||Loudon, N.H.|
|5-Oct||Dover International Speedway||Dover, Del.|
*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com