NASCAR announces details for Daytona road course races

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NASCAR revealed competition details Thursday for the Aug. 15-16 races on the Daytona International Speedway road course, including the addition of a second chicane, making it a 14-turn, 3.61-mile course.

Among the details announced were the Cup rules package and the length of the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series races.

Cup teams will use the high downforce package with a 750 horsepower engine.

A chicane is being added to the exit of Turn 4 on the oval to help slow speeds before entering the infield portion of the course. There is already a chicane on the backstretch of the oval.

Race lengths

“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, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing innovation, in a media release. “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.”

Track President Chip Wile said in a press release “The Turn 4 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.”

In a Zoom press conference, Wile said the rumble strips used for the chicane are the same ones used for the Charlotte Roval. Wile also said temporary lights will be brought in for the infield in case the race has to be run into the night.

“You guys got to think three weeks ago we weren’t even running this race, so for NASCAR competition to figure out what we needed to do and give it to us to execute is pretty remarkable,” Wile said. “I think it will certainly keep the speeds down. There are a lot of folks that had a say in getting us to this place and I just applaud our competition department getting the right people in the room and making the decision quickly.”

Daytona road courseRoush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman, who once competed on the road course in an IROC race, shared his thoughts on the possibility of adding the chicane earlier this week.

“Controlling the speed is obviously very important no matter what racetrack we go to and as we get to this situation with different angles of impact and walls and things like that, that we’re not used to, I guess my personal opinion on safety is not necessarily the slower the better, but the slower the safer,” Newman said in a Zoom press conference. “That’s just something that definitely needs to be considered and obviously has been considered otherwise you wouldn’t be talking about it, but I feel like if you are gonna do this, you have to err towards the side of safety and that will be with lesser speeds and trying to calculate what risk is involved with, again, the angle of impacts that we could have to entertain.”