Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 20, XFINITY replaces Nationwide

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MotorSportsTalk will be counting down the top 20 stories of the 2014 NASCAR season over the month of December. To kick things off, a look back at XFINITY taking over in 2015 as entitlement partner of NASCAR’s second-tier division, what had been known as the Nationwide Series.

Announced in September, Comcast’s XFINITY brand takes over as entitlement partner for what had been the NASCAR Nationwide Series starting in 2015. It was announced as a 10-year deal.

XFINITY has big shoes to fill as Anheuser-Busch and Nationwide, its two predecessors, have helped raise the second level series’ profile over the last 30-plus years.

The XFINITY Series won’t be lacking for stars, though. Defending champion Chase Elliott, who turned 19 on Friday, will return for an encore. From there, the series has the traditional mix of veterans, talented young guns and regular Cup participation to keep the races going.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.