2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule announced

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR has released the 2014 Nationwide Series schedule and it looks much like the 2013 version.

For years NASCAR's No. 2 series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has provided a nice melting pot of veteran drivers and up-and-coming talent on their way toward stardom in NASCAR. Likewise, the drivers competing in the second-most popular motorsports series in the United States have been able to test their talents at a variety of tracks.

With NASCAR's announcement of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule today, the 33rd season of competition promises once again to deliver the same type of action-packed racing the series has always been known to produce.

"As it continues to provide our fans with great racing, the NASCAR Nationwide Series is also a launching pad for our rising talent," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "It's exciting to watch the growth of current and former series drivers Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. among others in their progression to challenge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars like Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick."

The schedule will consist of 33 races visiting tracks of varying shapes and sizes: superspeedways, intermediate tracks, short tracks and road courses. After its successful inaugural visit in 2013, the series will return Mid-Ohio (Aug. 16), a road course located near Nationwide Insurance's Columbus, Ohio headquarters. The series will also visit two other road courses in 2014: Road America (June 21) and Watkins Glen International (Aug. 16).

The NASCAR Nationwide season officially kicks off on Feb. 22, the day before the Daytona 500, and runs until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 15. Texas Motor Speedway's date is now slated for April 4, one week earlier than last season. The Darlington Raceway date moved up a month to April 11, while the first Iowa Speedway date jumped a couple weeks to May 18. The Texas and Darlington date changes coincide with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule released earlier this week.

The 2014 schedule includes six "standalone" dates: Iowa (May 18, Aug. 2), Chicagoland Speedway which returns to night racing on July 19, Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 20), Road America and Mid-Ohio. Additionally, NASCAR and Nationwide Insurance will bring back the "Dash 4 Cash" bonus program during the summer months that will allow drivers and fans to compete for large cash bonuses. More details on the 2014 program will be released at a later date.

2014 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES SCHEDULE

Feb. 22 Daytona International Speedway

March 1 Phoenix International Raceway

March 8 Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 15 Bristol Motor Speedway

March 22 Auto Club Speedway

April 4 Texas Motor Speedway

April 11 Darlington Raceway

April 25 Richmond International Raceway

May 3 Talladega Superspeedway

May 18 Iowa Speedway

May 24 Charlotte Motor Speedway

May 31 Dover International Speedway

June 14 Michigan International Speedway

June 21 Road America

June 27 Kentucky Speedway

July 4 Daytona International Speedway

July 12 New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 19 Chicagoland Speedway

July 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Aug. 2 Iowa Speedway

Aug. 9 Watkins Glen International

Aug. 16 Mid-Ohio

Aug. 22 Bristol Motor Speedway

Aug. 30 Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sept. 5 Richmond International Raceway

Sept. 13 Chicagoland Speedway

Sept. 20 Kentucky Speedway

Sept. 27 Dover International Speedway

Oct. 4 Kansas Speedway

Oct. 10 Charlotte Motor Speedway

Nov. 1 Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 8 Phoenix International Raceway

Nov. 15 Homestead-Miami Speedway

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Kurt Busch's "Talladega Nights" paint scheme

NASCAR power rankings: Johnson, Kenseth create distance

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule released

The good times, hard life and shocking death of Dick Trickle

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