The New Journos

What channel is NASCAR on today? TV schedule, start time for Darlington night race

The TV channel for a NASCAR race is elusive enough in a normal season when Fox and FS1 trade broadcasts of Cup Series events through the first half of the schedule. The challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic make the "what channel is today's NASCAR race on" question even more understandable.


Tonight, for just the second time in a couple months, those who seek the TV channel for the NASCAR race will be doing so in order to watch a real, live event rather than a virtual competition. The Cup Series’ newly scheduled Wednesday night race at Darlington, the second Cup race at the track in a four-day span, will broadcast live on FS1 with a start time of 6 p.m. ET. (UPDATE: The race start has been delayed to 7:50 p.m. ET because of rain.)

The upcoming Darlington race is the second on an altered, short-term schedule for NASCAR’s races as it attempts to keep a 36-race slate intact. For now, with remaining doubt about how NASCAR can construct its schedule beyond June given differing restrictions on gatherings of people from state to state, the short-term schedule includes only a handful of tracks.

As for Wednesday night’s Darlington race, it will run in place of the April 19 Richmond race that was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. NASCAR chose the South Carolina venue as the host track for the first couple races in its return in part because of its proximity to race teams based in Charlotte, N.C. Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s race at Darlington.

Below is how to watch Wednesday night’s Cup Series race at Darlington, including the TV channel and live stream options.

MORE: Latest weather updates for Darlington

What channel is NASCAR on today?

  • Race: NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway
  • Date: Wednesday, May 20
  • TV channel: FS1
  • Live stream: Fox Sports Go | fuboTV (7-day free trial)
  • Radio: MRN

Like the schedule itself, the TV channels for Cup Series races after June are up in the air. Wednesday night’s race at Darlington, though, as well as three more Cup Series races currently on the modified 2020 schedule, will broadcast live on FS1.

Sunday’s Darlington race, which was the first for NASCAR since the coronavirus pandemic shut down live sports in March, reportedly drew 6.32 million viewers with its 3:30 p.m. ET start time on Fox. That was a 38 percent jump over the last Cup Series race, which ran March 8 at Phoenix Raceway.

Though Wednesday night’s Darlington race doesn’t get the advantage of broadcasting on Fox’s cable network, the prime-time start time should lead to more strong TV ratings.

What time does the NASCAR race start today?

  • Date: Wednesday, May 20
  • Start time: 6 7:50 p.m. ET

NASCAR’s annual trip to Darlington in recent years has been a night race, and while Sunday’s special occasion called for an afternoon green flag, Wednesday night’s race will play out under the lights.

Wednesday night’s race at Darlington is scheduled for 311.4 miles. It will include three stages, which will end on Laps 60, 125 and 228.

There will be no practice or qualifying for Sunday’s race. The lineup was set by the results of Sunday’s race at Darlington. The top 20 finishers from the May 17 event will be inverted for the start of the May 20 race, and the bottom 20 finishers from the May 17 event will start the May 20 race from the same positions.

NASCAR live stream for Darlington race

Anybody who has a cable or satellite subscription can stream Sunday’s Darlington race live via Fox Sports Go. This should be the preferred route for a viewer who has such a subscription but isn’t able to get in front of his or her TV.

For those who don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, there are five OTT TV streaming options that carry FS1 — Sling, Hulu, YouTubeTV, fuboTV and AT&T Now. Of the five, Hulu, YouTubeTV and fuboTV offer free trial options.

Below are links to each.

NASCAR schedule 2020

NASCAR on May 14 released its revised Cup Series schedule for May and June of 2020. It remains committed to running 36 races, four of which were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world. According to Fox Sports, NASCAR hopes to keep its 10 playoff races in the fall intact and at their original tracks.

Below is the schedule revision for the Cup Series:

Date Track Series Distance Stage lengths (laps) TV channel Start time
Sun., May 17 Darlington Cup 400.2 miles 90-95-108 FOX 3:30 p.m. ET
Wed., May 20 Darlington Cup 311.4 miles 60-65-103 FS1 6 p.m. ET
Sun., May 24 Charlotte Cup 600 miles 100-100-100-100 FOX 6 p.m. ET
Wed., May 27 Charlotte Cup 312 miles 55-60-93 FS1 8 p.m. ET
Sun, May 31 Bristol Cup 266 miles TBD FS1 3:30 p.m. ET
Sun, June 7 Atlanta Cup 500 miles TBD FOX 3 p.m. ET
Wed, June 10 Martinsville Cup 263 miles TBD FS1 7 p.m. ET
Sun, June 14 Miami Cup 400 miles TBD FOX 3:30 p.m. ET
Sun, June 21 Talladega Cup 500 miles TBD FOX 3 p.m. ET

To start, NASCAR is scheduling races within driving distance of the Charlotte area, where most race teams are headquartered. That eliminates most of the travel-related logistics issues associated with running multiple races in one week, which appears necessary for a full season of racing.

Because those tracks are hosting more races than originally scheduled, NASCAR had to take races away from Chicagoland, Richmond and Sonoma. Via NASCAR, below are the details of those changes:

— “Chicagoland’s NASCAR Cup Series race, originally set for June 21, has been reassigned to Darlington on May 17. The 1.5-mile Illinois track’s Xfinity Series race that was scheduled June 20 will be held May 19 at Darlington. Chicagoland was also set to host the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (June 19) and ARCA Menards Series (June 18); officials indicated that those races will be reassigned at a later date.”

— “Richmond Raceway’s springtime Cup Series event on the initial schedule for April 19 has been moved to Darlington on May 20. A Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race that was to be run April 18 remains postponed, with officials saying details would come later for rescheduling. The .75-mile Virginia track’s Sept. 11-12 race weekend remains on the schedule.”

— “Sonoma Raceway’s Cup Series date for June 14 has been moved to Charlotte on May 27. Officials for the road course said in a release that they had worked with NASCAR to find an alternate date on the schedule, but that a suitable replacement could not be reached, ‘given the ongoing uncertainty around large events in California.'”

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