James Davison

Will chaos (and rain) reign on Daytona road course?

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The biggest unknown for Sunday’s inaugural Cup race on the Daytona road course?

Ryan Newman says “there are so many unknowns that it would be fabricating for me to tell you if I knew what the biggest unknown was.”

But with all the uncertainties heading into the race (3 p.m. ET on NBC) on a new course for Cup teams — and no practice — Newman is counting on one near certainty.

“I hope it rains,” he said. “I hope you add in the extra that we have to bolt on rain tires and we get something that is just spectacular. I hope that. The reality is that could be the biggest unknown that we have. We’re in Central Florida in the middle of August when it pretty much rains every day. We’ll see. I don’t know. I look forward to it.”

Good chance he gets his wish.

The wunderground.com forecast for Sunday calls for scattered thunderstorms throughout the afternoon. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:24 p.m. ET. There is a 58% chance of scattered thunderstorms at that time.

Will rain tires be needed for Sunday’s Cup race on the Daytona road course? They’ll be available. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Goodyear will bring rain tires for the weekend and teams will run in the rain, provided it is not a downpour and there is not lightning within an 8-mile radius of the track. Cup teams have never run a race on rain tires.

Only three times in Cup history have rain tires been employed. Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin used them in a test in 1995 at Watkins Glen. Teams practiced and qualified on rain tires at Suzuka in 1997 for the exhibition race in Japan. Rain tires were last used in Cup for a practice session at Watkins Glen in 2000.

Rain or shine, the task of racing on a new course without practice will be challenging enough for competitors.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being difficult, this is a 10,” Kurt Busch told NBC Sports.

“I’m excited for the challenge, the uniqueness of it all, how it’s just crazy, basically.”

MORE: Starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race

Said Chase Elliott, who won last year’s race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval after crashing: I’ve never entered a race where you literally just have no idea what to expect.

Patience will be key. But not all 39 drivers will practice that equally when the green flag waves.

“I’ve got laps around that track without the extra chicane but that doesn’t mean I won’t haul off into Turn 1 and blow through the grass,” Newman said. “You don’t know. It will be more patience than aggressiveness I promise you by pretty much everyone. Those that don’t, you’ll notice.”

Kevin Harvick, who swept the Cup races at Michigan last weekend, will lead the field into Turn 1 and he’s not sure what to expect.

“I think me leading everybody into Turn 1 at Daytona could be interesting because I have no freaking clue where I’m going as we go down there,” he said. “Most everybody in the field is the same way.”

Turn 1 on the Daytona road course is a left-hand turn off the frontstretch just past pit exit. That begins the six-turn infield portion of the 3.61-mile course before cars return to the oval in what is its Turn 1. 

Teams stay on the oval through the backstretch before turning into the chicane there and going back on to the oval. A chicane was added off what is Turn 4 on the oval to help slow the cars before returning to the infield portion of the course. That was done for fear that the high speeds would wear the brakes over the race.

“I think it’s going to take everybody a little bit of time,” Matt Kenseth told NBC Sports. “I think there are going to be some people who have raced road courses a lot that probably feel more confident than others and possibly be overzealous and just charging it hard right away, and there’s probably going to be other people who are careful and see how many people slide into things. … It should be really interesting. If I was a fan, I’d be all about not having practice.”

Here are Cup drivers entered for Sunday’s race who have competed on the Daytona road course (overall finish)

Clint Bowyer 2013 Rolex 24 (finished 16th)

Kurt Busch — 2005 Rolex 24 (27th), 2008 Rolex 24 (3rd)

Kyle Busch — 2009 Brumos Porsche 250 (10th), 2020 Rolex 24 (26th),

Cole Custer — 2018 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (3rd), 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (9th)

James Davison — 2014 Rolex 24 (48th), 2015 Rolex 24 (29th), 2016 Rolex 24 (44th), 

Kevin Harvick — 2002 Rolex 24 (69th)

Timmy Hill — 2012 Rolex 24 (51st)

Jimmie Johnson — 2004 Rolex 24 (28th), 2005 Rolex 24 (2nd), 2007 Rolex 24 (36th), 2008 Rolex 24  (2nd), 2009 Rolex 24 (7th), 2010 Rolex 24 (21st), 2011 Rolex 24 (15th)

Matt Kenseth — 2005 Rolex 24 (27th), 2006 IROC race (10th)

Michael McDowell — 2005 Rolex 24 (42nd), 2007 Rolex 24 (10th), 2008 Rolex 24 (15th), 2011 Rolex 24 (7th), 2012 Rolex 24 (3rd)

Ryan Newman — 2006 IROC race (3rd)

Martin Truex Jr. — 2006 IROC race (6th)

NASCAR entry lists for Michigan, Road America

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The NASCAR entry lists are out for this weekend’s racing at Michigan International Speedway and Road America.

Cup and Truck teams will compete this weekend at Michigan. Cup teams will race Saturday and Sunday.

Xfinity teams will race Saturday at Road America.

Here are the preliminary NASCAR entry lists 

Cup – Firekeepers Casino 400 (4 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered.

Joey Gase will be in the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

JJ Yeley will drive the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing.

James Davison will be in the No. 51 for Petty Ware Racing.

Click here for Saturday Cup race entry list

 

Cup – Consumers  Energy 400 (4:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered.

Josh Bilicki will be in the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing. That is the only change from the Saturday entry list.

Click here for Sunday Cup entry list

 

Xfinity – Henry 180 (Noon ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-seven cars are entered.

Among the drivers entered:

Mike Wallace, who made his first series start since 2015 last month in the road course race at Indianapolis, is back in the No. 0 car for JD Motorsports this weekend.

Andy Lally, a road racing expert and the 2011 Cup rookie of the year, will be in the No. 02 Our Motorsports car.

RC Enerson will make his NASCAR debut in the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing ride.

Jesse Iwuji will make his series debut in the No. 13 Motorsports Business Management car.

AJ Allmendinger will be in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

 

Truck – Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 200 (6 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Forty trucks are entered.

Cup rookie John Hunter Nemechek is entered in the No. 8 truck for NEMCO Motorsports.

David Gravel, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner, makes his Truck Series debut in the No. 24 ride for GMS Racing.

Brennan Poole is entered in the No. 30 On Point Motorsports truck.

Jeb Burton is entered in the No. 44 Niece Motorsports ride.

Parker Kligerman is entered in the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports truck.

Cup entry list for New Hampshire

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Thirty-eight cars are on the NASCAR Cup entry list for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The race airs at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The entry list has JJ Yeley in the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing. Joey Gase is in the No. 51 for RWR. James Davison will make his third start of the season but first for RWR. Garrett Smithley will drive the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports.

Click here for Cup entry list

The Xfinity and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series are both off this weekend.

MORE: What upcoming NASCAR races fans can attend

Entry lists for NASCAR’s doubleheader weekend at Pocono

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This weekend marks the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has held a doubleheader weekend at one track.

The premier series will compete in two races at Pocono Raceway, the 2.5-mile triangle speedway in Pennsylvania.

It will be preceded by the Truck Series on Saturday and the Xfinity Series on Sunday.

Here are the entry lists for both days.

Saturday

Cup – Pocono Organics 325 (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox; 130 laps/325 miles)

Forty car are entered.

Josh Bilicki is entered in Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

JJ Yeley is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 27 Ford.

James Davison is entered in Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet for both Cup races. Saturday will be his Cup debut.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Trucks – Pocono Organics 150 (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 60 laps/150 miles)

Forty trucks are entered.

Defending race winner Ross Chastain is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman is entered in Henderson Motorsports’ No. 75 Chevrolet.

Brandon Jones is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

Josh Reaume is entered in Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 00 truck. Angela Ruch is not in the truck due to a lack of sponsorship.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Sunday

Cup – Pocono 350 (4 p.m. ET on FS1; 140 laps/350 miles)

Forty cars are entered. All 40 drivers/cars are the same as for Saturday.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Xfinity Series – Pocono Green 225 (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 90 laps/225 miles)

Thirty-six cars are entered.

Brett Moffitt is entered in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet.

Ryan Vargas is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet.

No drivers is listed for DGM Racing’s No. 36 Chevrolet.

No driver is listed for B.J. McLeod Motorsports’ No. 99 Toyota.

Click here for the entry list.

B.J. McLeod replaces James Davison in No. 77 car at Talladega

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Spire Motorsports announced Thursday that it has replaced James Davison with B.J. McLeod in its No. 77 Chevrolet for Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway (3 p.m. ET on Fox) after NASCAR reconsidered its approval of Davison for the race.

Sunday’s race would have been Davison’s Cup debut and his first start on an oval track in NASCAR. Davison, who is a veteran of the Indianapolis 500, has made four Xfinity Series starts on road courses.

Davison is now set to make his oval track debut in NASCAR next weekend at Pocono Raceway.

“I have been contacted by NASCAR and informed that although I was previously approved to race, they had to reconsider their position on Superspeedways, given there won’t be practice or qualifying prior to Sunday’s race at Talladega,” Davison said in a press release. “I was pumped about the opportunity to take the green flag, but I fully understand and appreciate NASCAR’s position. I’m approved to race next weekend at Pocono and equally thrilled to make my series debut there.”

Garrett Smithley will now drive McLeod’s No. 78 car.