NASCAR officials announced Thursday afternoon several key competition components of the August race weekend at the Daytona Road Course, including the addition of a chicane off Turn 4 of the famed oval.
The chicane will add another tactical element to the intricate road course that will force drivers to be up on the wheel at all times for what is sure to be an unforgettable weekend of racing among four series.
“I think, more than anything, it’s going to add even more excitement for the fans than we were already expecting,” Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile said. “It’s really, truly making it NASCAR-centric. Obviously we have our road course that’s been in existence since 1959. But now, we have something very unique that no driver has seen. It’s truly going to make that last lap so exciting. As they come off Turn 4, they’re going to make a hard left and then a hard right and a hard left back onto the race track. It’s going to be just an exciting piece to what is going to be a historic weekend here at the Daytona International Speedway.”
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The ARCA Menards Series kicks off the historic race weekend on Friday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m. ET. The NASCAR Xfinity Series follows on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (12 p.m. ET) and NASCAR Cup Series (3 p.m. ET) combining for a doubleheader on Sunday.
Also announced were stage lengths for each of the three national series and race distances on the 3.61-mile course, and the confirmation that the NASCAR Cup Series will run a high downforce rules package that targets 750 HP.
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“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 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 developed rules package for this event combines elements of both the 2020 rules packages currently in use. The high downforce aero package, which is also high in drag, will be combined with the 750 HP engine used at short tracks and road courses. This package is only scheduled to be used at the Daytona Road Course.
News of the first NASCAR national series races on Daytona’s road course was announced earlier in July. The addition to the Cup Series schedule serves as a race realigned from NASCAR’s annual visit to Watkins Glen International, as New York state health and safety regulations cannot allow for the previously scheduled NASCAR weekend to happen there at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These races will be held on the same road course as the Rolex 24 at Daytona, North America’s premier race for sports cars. Road-course racing has always been an anticipated, vital component of the makeup of the speedway, with the Rolex 24 first held in 1962 as a three-hour race called the Daytona Continental. The Daytona 200 for motorcycles was moved off the old Daytona Beach Road Course to the speedway in 1961, and the majority of today’s course is used for the Daytona 200.
In March, it was announced that the 2021 Busch Clash would move to the speedway’s road course and be held under the lights on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Now, however, the August 14-16 weekend will be on the pole for the track’s first NASCAR road-course weekend.