The NASCAR Toyota Series has announced its 2013 race schedule, and it will begin with a historic event and end with a new championship format.
In the series’ seventh season under the NASCAR banner, there will be 15 races at eight different tracks, including three night races.
For the first time, the NASCAR Toyota Series will compete at a US facility. The season will get under way under the lights on March 1 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway during the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at the track.
The series will return to Mexico for the season’s second event on March 24 on the half-mile oval at San Luis Potosí.
The second night race of the year will be at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City on April 6, before moving on to the city of Querétaro on April 21.
The third and final night race will be held on May 11 at El Dorado Speedway in Chihuahua. Last October, a capacity crowd was on hand to witness the series’ inaugural date at the high-banked .625-mile concrete oval.
Dates at Aguascalientes on May 26, Puebla on June 16 and Monterrey on June 30 will follow.
The second half of the season begins on July 28 in Querétaro followed by a second trip to the capital of Mexico City on Aug. 11. Later in the month on Aug. 25, the Toyota Series will return to San Luis Potosí. September dates include Puebla and Chihuahua on the 8th and 29th, respectively.
Aguascalientes will host the season’s penultimate event on Oct. 13 with the season finale scheduled for Nov. 10 in Mexico City.
In a new twist, the NASCAR Toyota Series will move to a chase format to determine its champion. The "Desafío" will begin with the August San Luis Potosí race at Autódromo Potosino.
In this format, the top eight drivers in points following round 10 in Mexico City are guaranteed a spot to fight for the championship over the final five races. These drivers will have their point totals reset to 1000 and receive a bonus of three points for each victory over the first 10 races of the year.
Additionally, the two drivers with the most wins following the August event at Mexico City will also be eligible for the chase. These two competitors will begin the "Desafío" with 1000 points, and not gain any bonus points for their previous victories.
In the event of a tie, the driver with the most second-place finishes will claim the spot. If necessary, the tiebreaker will continue down to third-place finishes and so on until the deadlock is broken.