How NASCAR’s Limited Practice Schedules Could Help Smaller Cup Teams in 2024

Jackson Wheeler
3 Min Read

NASCAR is limiting the majority of its practice sessions on race weekends to 20 minutes in 2024, a decision drivers with small Cup teams believe puts them on more equal footing with the three- and four-car operations.

“If you start stretching that (practice) out, the big teams definitely, I think, start collecting more data on a weekend and can send all four cars in a different direction and kind of hone in on something,” says Ricky Stenhouse Jr., whose single-car team won the 2023 Daytona 500. “In 20 minutes, it’s tough for them to run that many different setups and then change it for qualifying and the race.”

Michael McDowell, who won the 2021 Daytona 500 and the 2023 Verizon 200 at The Brickyard with a two-car team, agrees with Stenhouse.

“I think anytime that we give us more time to practice, the bigger teams do a better job of maximizing their car potential and setup,” McDowell says. “If you allow them the opportunities to go get everything just right when you’ve got 75 eyes back at the shop, looking through videos and looking through pictures and running simulation … you’re gonna make it better than a team that doesn’t have those resources. So, I think no practice for us or the limited practice for us has been a huge help of keeping us beating a few more cars than we would on a given weekend.”

Stenhouse admits there are times he wishes the practice sessions were longer and he realizes the shorter time period puts rookies at a disadvantage.

“The (NASCAR) Xfinity cars or the Trucks are so different depending on what series you’re coming in from,” Stenhouse says. “I think the good news for them is this car, the feel doesn’t really change from track to track. I think they’re (rookies) all good enough that after three or four races in a row, I think they’re going to be acclimated and know exactly what they’re looking for.”

The 2024 race weekend on-track schedules haven’t been released for Daytona in February and the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro. The rest of the NASCAR Cup race weekend schedules show 20-minute practices at 25 races.

The inaugural Cup race at Iowa, the Chicago Street Course, the return to the oval at Indianapolis and the season finale all have 50-minute practices.

No practice is scheduled for the Talladega, Atlanta, second Daytona, and Sonoma races.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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