NASCAR releases full surprising, frustrating 2011 schedule

The 2011 NASCAR schedule was the 21st-century equivalent of a blockbuster movie -- there were rumors, early leaks, bits and pieces online before the big announcement, and finally a total package that was both revelatory and disappointing.

You know most of the big details already: Kentucky joins the schedule; Kansas gets a second date; Atlanta and California each lose one; Chicago moves into the Chase. Certainly, everyone can find something to love about the schedule -- it's great to get a new track into the fold. But there's also the ever-present reminders that NASCAR is first and foremost a business, not a fan-service charity.

ESPN's Terry Blount has a great take on the way that the push-pull politics between rival track owners Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corporation are strangling any hope for real progress in the sport's schedule. And the fact that widely panned tracks like Pocono continue to hold onto two races is a testament to the entrenched nature of NASCAR politics.

One of the key changes that wasn't made was the widely discussed movement of the final race from Homestead to Las Vegas. It's a fine call; Vegas embraces NASCAR during the awards banquet, and NASCAR could own the town for two weeks in November/early December. But Homestead is an ISC property and Vegas an SMI one, meaning there's not going to be any switching of dates without a little quid-pro-quo.

Another matter to consider is the length of the schedule. There's sentiment that the NASCAR schedule is too long, that cutting the 36 races to 32 or 30 would add a bit more excitment to what can occasionally turn into a long slog. One would think that there's no way a track owner would give up a date for nothing in return, but the Nationwide series dropped a date to go from 35 to 34. (That was the result of Gateway losing both of its races but only adding one Chicago date.)

So there you have it. Thoughts on the schedule? How does it shake out for you?

Full schedule below.

2011 Sprint Cup Series schedule

Feb. 12: x-Budweiser Shootout, Daytona International Speedway

Feb. 20: Daytona International Speedway

Feb. 27: Phoenix International Raceway

March 6: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 20: Bristol Motor Speedway

March 27: Auto Club Speedway

April 3: Martinsville Speedway

April 9: Texas Motor Speedway

April 17: Talladega Superspeedway

April 30: Richmond International Raceway

May 7: Darlington Raceway

May 15: Dover International Speedway

May 21: x-Sprint All-Star Race, Charlotte Motor Speedway

May 29: Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 5: Kansas Speedway

June 12: Pocono Raceway

June 19: Michigan International Speedway

June 26: Infineon Raceway

July 2: Daytona International Speedway

July 9: Kentucky Speedway

July 17: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 31: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Aug. 7: Pocono Raceway

Aug. 14: Watkins Glen International

Aug. 21: Michigan International Speedway

Aug. 27: Bristol Motor Speedway

Sept. 4: Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sept. 10: Richmond International Raceway

Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races:

Sept. 18: Chicagoland Speedway

Sept. 25: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Oct. 2: Dover International Speedway

Oct. 9: Kansas Speedway

Oct. 15: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Oct. 23: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 30: Martinsville Speedway

Nov. 6: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 13: Phoenix International Raceway

Nov. 20: Homestead-Miami Speedway

x-non-points races

2011 Nationwide Series schedule

Feb. 19: Daytona International Speedway

Feb. 26: Phoenix International Raceway

March 5: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 19: Bristol Motor Speedway

March 26: Auto Club Speedway

April 8: Texas Motor Speedway

April 16: Talladega Superspeedway

April 23: Nashville Superspeedway

April 29: Richmond International Raceway

May 6: Darlington Raceway

May 14: Dover International Speedway

May 22: Iowa Speedway

May 28: Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 4: Chicagoland Speedway

June 18: Michigan International Speedway

June 25: Road America

July 1: Daytona International Speedway

July 8: Kentucky Speedway

July 16: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 23: Nashville Superspeedway

July 30: O’Reilly Raceway Park

Aug. 6: Iowa Speedway

Aug. 13: Watkins Glen International

Aug. 20: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Aug. 26: Bristol Motor Speedway

Sept. 3: Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sept. 9: Richmond International Raceway

Sept. 17: Chicagoland Speedway

Oct. 1: Dover International Speedway

Oct. 8: Kansas Speedway

Oct. 14: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Nov. 5: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 12: Phoenix International Raceway

Nov. 19: Homestead-Miami Speedway

2011 Camping World Truck Series schedule

Feb. 18: Daytona International Speedway

Feb. 25: Phoenix International Raceway

March 12: Darlington Raceway

April 2: Martinsville Speedway

April 22: Nashville Superspeedway

May 13: Dover International Speedway

May 20: Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 4: Kansas Speedway

June 10: Texas Motor Speedway

July 16: Iowa Speedway

July 22: Nashville Superspeedway

July 29: O’Reilly Raceway Park

Aug. 6: Pocono Raceway

Aug. 20: Michigan International Speedway

Aug. 24: Bristol Motor Speedway

Sept. 2: Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sept. 16: Chicagoland Speedway

Sept. 24: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Oct. 1: Kentucky Speedway

Oct. 15: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Oct. 22: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 29: Martinsville Speedway

Nov. 4: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 18: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Note: One additional date to be added