Daytona to add a chicane for the road course weekend

There’s a new “turn” of events for NASCAR’s historic race weekend on the heralded DAYTONA Road Course, Aug. 14-16.

NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway announced Thursday a new twist to the storied, high-banked tri-oval/infield road course with the addition of a chicane at the exit of the NASCAR turn four that will provide competitors with yet another passing zone. The new chicane now creates a 14-turn, 3.57-mile layout (from the 3.56-mile/12 turn) on the storied DAYTONA Road Course, which, for the first time in history, will play host to NASCAR’s three top national series, along with the ARCA Menards Series.

“Daytona International Speedway is known for producing iconic moments in the history of NASCAR, and this will surely join that long list,” said track President Chip Wile. “Just when you thought the racing couldn’t get any more intense and interesting at the ‘World Center of Racing,’ it did. The turn four chicane gives the drivers a final shot to make a pass coming to the famed finish line. The fans in the venue are going to be in for a treat on the DAYTONA Road Course – just like the races on the old Daytona beach/road course that were put on by Bill France, Sr. in the 1940s and ‘50s.”

The races will be held on the same road course as the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, North America’s premier race for sports cars. The new chicane, located on the skid pad off turn four, measures nearly 500 feet from the point of entry to the point of exit off the straightaway racing surface, ranging from 38-48 feet wide throughout.

A limited number of fans will get the opportunity to take in the doubleheader on Sunday (Aug. 16), consisting of the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Fans can get tickets, which start at $49 (both races included) for adults and $10 for kids 12 years old and younger, by visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or calling 1-800-PIT-SHOP.

The finalized schedule for the DAYTONA Road Course, including distances, laps and stage lengths are:

  • Fri, Aug. 14 – ARCA Menards Series at 5:00 p.m. ET (MAVTV); 103 miles (29 laps); Stages 15/29
  • Sat, Aug. 15 – NASCAR Xfinity Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN); 188 miles (52 laps); Stages 15/30/52
  • Sun, Aug. 16 – NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks Series at 12 Noon ET (FS1): 159 miles (44 laps): Stages 12/25/44
  • Sun, Aug. 16 – NASCAR Cup Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC): 235 miles (65 laps); Stages 15/30/65

o    The Cup, Xfinity and ARCA events are realigned from originally scheduled races at Watkins Glen International while the Gander Trucks event is realigned from Iowa Speedway.

One driver looking forward to competing on the DAYTONA Road Course is reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who, along with Martin Truex, Jr. leads all active drivers in road course wins with four, competed in his first Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in January.

“I’m looking forward to the DAYTONA Road Course race,” said Busch, who was impressive behind the wheel of his AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus, which finished ninth of 18 entries in the GTD class after several mechanical challenges. “It’s something different for us. I obviously have experience there running in the Rolex 24 this year. It’s good that I am familiar with the course layout, but those cars I raced back in January are much different than our Cup cars, so the handling and feel will be much different this time around.”

NASCAR also announced drivers will be prohibited from running multiple races during the weekend, as well as a NASCAR Cup Series competition change, that will now see a high downforce with 750 horsepower aero/engine package.

“NASCAR and its OEMs ran several simulations to determine the course layout and engine/aero package for the inaugural NASCAR race on the Daytona International Speedway road course,” said NASCAR’s John Probst, Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation. “Due to the predicted high speeds and loads on the braking system, NASCAR will add a chicane off oval Turn 4 at Daytona and move to a high downforce 750 hp aero/engine package for the NASCAR Cup Series race on Aug. 16. We believe this will combine vehicle performance and safety to provide the best possible road course race for our fans.”

The limited number of fans for the doubleheader of action is in accordance with public health officials and local, state and federal authorities on amended safety protocols and procedures that will provide a safe experience for all fans in attendance. Frontstretch seating is available, plus there are options for infield camping guests.

Tickets also remain on sale for the Saturday, Aug. 29 Coke Zero Sugar 400, which will take place under the lights on the 2.5-mile trioval. A summertime staple since 1959, the switch of the race from July to August this year makes this the Cup Series Regular Season Finale prior to the start of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Tickets also start at $49 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Limited infield camping is also available. Special pricing options are available for the “August Double,” featuring both DAYTONA Road Course events (Cup and Gander Trucks) and the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Chase Briscoe though said that he didn’t think necessarily think a chicane was needed.

“I personally don’t think we need a chicane,” Briscoe said.  “I know that the speeds are gonna be really fast getting into turn one, but, to me, on the simulator the chicane that I’ve run two or three different styles now and every one just doesn’t flow good at all.  You’re braking in the middle of turn four.  I think it’s gonna make it harder to pass because it funnels in so tight, where if you had that long straightaway out of the bus stop all the way to the natural turn one, it creates a lot of drafting and I feel like a lot of passing opportunities.  I would like to see them put bigger curbing in the bus stop to really slow us down where we can’t kind of skip through it and kind of run two tires off the racetrack.  I feel like if they slowed us down out of the bus stop, maybe that would slow us down seven, eight, nine miles an hour on the big track and then we wouldn’t need that chicane.  I don’t know if they’re gonna do the chicane or not.  Like I said, I’ve practiced for two or three different ones and I’m not a fan typically of any of them.  I just think the normal racetrack is good.  Every other series in the world runs on it, I don’t see why we can’t run on that one as well.  But if they feel like they need to make a chicane to make brakes last or whatever, then obviously I don’t want to be the guy to go blow a brake rotor and hit the wall really hard, so what I really think, I mean, they normally have our best interest in mind and hopefully that’s what will happen.”

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