While the NASCAR Cup Series’ historic first visit to the iconic DAYTONA Road Course is still more than a week away, that hasn’t stopped the chatter about the element of the unknown that awaits the greatest drivers and race teams in the world.
When the cars hit the asphalt for the Go Bowling 235 At The DAYTONA Road Course on Sunday, Aug. 16, it will be to take to take the pre-race parade laps and then take the green flag. There will not be any practice leading up to the event, and that has led to the teams and drivers to use computer simulation seeking answers.
“It’s going to be something to watch. There are just so many questions to answer,” says 2015 Daytona 500 Champion Joey Logano, who has never driven on the DAYTONA Road Course that has hosted the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, North America’s premier race for sports cars since 1962. “You can’t really answer them until you get there. You are wondering what’s real and what’s not. I’ve done two simulations – one at home on iRacing and nothing has changed since quarantine. I still stink at it.
“You’re making laps and at least figuring out what turn is coming up next but you have to take everything with a grain of salt. It’s a simulator. How do you build a car for it? How much faith do you put into the simulator? How big are the curbs in the bus stop? How do you prepare for the load of the cars in those big corners? It’s not like you can change anything so what you have is what you have. Who the heck knows!”
Those questions will answered at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 16, as the Go Bowling 235 At The DAYTONA Road Course will be the second race of a doubleheader, with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, also its first attempt at the storied road course, getting a Noon start that day.
A limited number of fans will get the opportunity to take in both events as tickets start at $49 (both races included) for adults and $10 for kids 12 years old and younger. Just visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PIT-SHOP for details. Frontstretch seating is available, plus there are options for infield camping guests.
For Logano, he has one career road course triumph, coming at Watkins Glen International in 2015 in his seventh attempt at The Glen.
A select few drivers have driven in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, headlined by Jimmie Johnson with seven starts. Other than Michael McDowell and Kurt Busch, who have five and two starts respectively, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Timmy Hill and Kyle Busch have just one start on the road course. It will mean a much more level playing field, especially with the addition of a new turn four chicane that makes it a 14-turn, 3.57-mile layout.
“It’s going to be fun to be able to go out to the race, and you don’t know who’s going to be good and who’s going to be bad with no practice,” said Toyota driver Christopher Bell, who is running for NASCAR’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor. “It’s going to be interesting to go to a road course that none us have been to in a Cup car. That’s going to be a change of pace, and then to throw in no practice as well – you just have to go out there and figure it out.”
Bell, too, has been practicing via simulation.
“I have been putting in a lot of effort into the Daytona road course on the simulator and stuff,” added Bell, who will be making his first road course attempt in the Cup Series. “Hopefully it will pay off.”
Time will tell for both Bell and Logano.
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.
The ARCA Menards Series kicks off the DAYTONA Road Course weekend on Friday, Aug. 14, at 5:00 p.m. ET (MAVTV) while the NASCAR Xfinity Series will do battle on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN). There will be no fan admittance on either day.
Tickets, however, do 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.
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and was awarded the SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is the home of “The Great American Race” – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the “World Center of Racing,” boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the Speedway grounds are also used extensively for events that include concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.