The Supercars championship wants to return to Newcastle as the opening round of the 2022 season after bypassing the city next year.
The motor racing organisation's chief executive, Sean Seamer, was locked in talks with state governments on Thursday trying to thrash out a calendar for 2021 amid uncertainty over COVID-19.
Supercars is expected to announce next year's schedule in the coming days.
The Newcastle Herald understands the Newcastle 500 is almost certain to be left off the calendar for the second year running due to doubts over coronavirus restrictions, but Supercars' preferred option is to return in early 2022 as the season opener.
That would shift the fledgling Newcastle East street race from early December to late February or early March.
The six-week track set-up would start in January.
Some inner-city businesses have complained that the Newcastle 500, which was due to be held in early December this year, disrupts their pre-Christmas trade.
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive officer Bob Hawes welcomed the prospect of the event shifting to the start of the year.
"It would certainly be a relief not having that issue of the constraint of running into Christmas," he said.
"That concern about it being cleared in time so it wasn't compromising people's plans around Christmas was materialising the further they were putting it back in the calendar.
"Obviously this would neutralise that as an issue."
If Newcastle hosts the opening round of the 2022 season, it will usher in a new era for the sport when Chevrolet Camaros replace Holden Commodores on the grid.
The series will morph into a contest between the Camaro and fellow American muscle car the Ford Mustang, which replaced the Ford Falcon in 2019.
Supercars' five-year agreement with City of Newcastle and Destination NSW to race in the east end has two years to run after this year's event was cancelled.
Mr Hawes said he was happy to hear Supercars wanted to return to the city.
"We appreciate having it and still giving this region the opportunity to demonstrate that it can host successful major events," he said.
He said he did not know if a new time slot would clash with other events in the city.
City of Newcastle plans to hold its inaugural New Annual cultural festival from February 12 to 21 next year.
The South Australian government's decision last week to axe the long-running Adelaide 500 next year and not seek a new contract has left Supercars scrambling to reshape its season.
SA Tourism Commission boss Rodney Harrex said the decision was in part due to the "long-term decline in our core motorsport fan".
The NSW government announced on October 19 that the state would host next year's opening round under a new five-year deal with Supercars.
The announcement locked in Bathurst and Sydney races until 2025 but did not mention Newcastle.
Destination NSW has said repeatedly that its negotiations with City of Newcastle and Supercars are "ongoing".
Next season is likely to start with a new event in Bathurst and could finish at the Gold Coast street circuit.
Queensland allows outdoor sporting venues to have up to 75 per cent of their seated capacity, compared with a 10,000 limit in NSW.
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