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Column: NASCAR schedule may not be the overhaul fans sought

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway will not be part of next year's NASCAR schedule, so come to terms with that now. Fans have a wish list of changes for NASCAR's stale and stagnant schedule, and they have been led to believe series leadership heard their desires. The highly anticipated 2020 schedule is expected to be announced Tuesday and will show just how seriously the sport's stakeholders have been listening. A vocal majority has called for more short tracks, more road courses, dirt racing and basically anything new at all to a never-ending 38-race schedule. Steve Phelps became NASCAR's fourth president last October and a month later at the season finale vowed nothing was off the table in regards to a scheduling shake-up. "Will we see a lot of the things that have been talked about? More short tracks? More road courses? Double-headers? Midweek racing? Pulling the season forward? All those things would be in play," Phelps said. But NASCAR has five-year agreements in place with all its venues that don't expire until after next season, and that legally prevents the sanctioning body from ripping up the existing schedule and starting from scratch. Those massive changes can't actually happen until 2021, when NASCAR reclaims negotiating power on its events. So what will be released for next season is a collaboration involving NASCAR, track operators and the television partners that strikes a balance of freshening up the schedule within the existing rules and regulations of swapping race dates. Fans may have mixed reactions to the final result. Those hoping for everything under the sun are going to very disappointed because it just can't happen for next year. Others will likely embrace what is coming as a starting point for eventual sweeping changes. Yes, Phelps promised changes, but a total and...