Watkins Glen International

Daytona road course trophy: Handle with care

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A word of warning for the Cup Series driver who wins Sunday’s inaugural race on the Daytona road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

When you’re celebrating the victory, don’t get too excited with the trophy.

It could wind up all over Victory Lane.

That’s because the trophy waiting at the end of the 65-lap/234.65-mile-race is made out of glass.

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

Via: NASCAR

The 18” tall/4.5” wide trophy for the Daytona road course race was produced by the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. It’s the same institution that’s been responsible for designing the Watkins Glen International trophy since 2012.

Sunday’s race is being held in the place of the Cup Series’ annual visit to Watkins Glen.

Incorporating a blown glass cup, the trophy is inspired by the history of NASCAR and racing at Daytona.

“Thinking about the history of the track and long-held traditions, I was reminded that historically, trophies used to be cups and have evolved into sculptural forms,” said Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs at The Corning Museum of Glass, said in a media release. “We took this trophy back to a more traditional shape. Daytona is the most historical track, and in thinking about a trophy design for a race held in this storied location, I was transported back to the golden age of speed. I wanted to design something that felt like a bit of a throwback – like it belonged in the era of streamline racers and the quest to go faster.”

NASCAR reveals schedule through end of Cup regular season

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NASCAR has revealed its updated schedule through the end of the Cup regular season, plus dates for the Xfinity, Trucks and the ARCA Menards series.

The stretch of announced races begins Aug. 7 and ends on Aug. 30.

The Cup Series schedule includes doubleheaders at Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 8-9) and Dover International Speedway (Aug. 22 – 23) and two visits to Daytona International Speedway.

While the Cup regular season will end on Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval (Aug. 29), the first visit to the track will be for a race on Daytona’s road course (Aug. 16), which replaces the originally scheduled race at Watkins Glen International that was canceled because of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in New York.

All three national series and ARCA will hold races on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.

“Daytona International Speedway has a storied history like no other in motorsports,” track president Chip Wile said in a release. “The sport of NASCAR gets to add a surprise chapter of road course racing to the venue’s legacy. Throughout the years, we have had many memorable moments with sports cars and motorcycles, but now NASCAR will take center stage on the road course at the World Center of Racing.”

Complete details on the road-course weekend, including fan attendance, are being finalized and will be announced in the near future.

These will be the first NASCAR points races held on Daytona’s road course. The Cup Series originally was set to debut on the road course with next year’s Busch Clash.

This will be the first season without a NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International since the Cup Series returned there in 1986 after a 21-year absence.

The layout of the Daytona road course.“This is an unprecedented time in the history of our nation and Watkins Glen International,” WGI President Michael Printup said in a release. “The dynamic situation we are all confronting is impacting our daily lives and activities in unimaginable ways. While we are disappointed we will not experience NASCAR in New York this year, as we look broadly at the current pandemic in our country and around the world, we must focus first on everyone’s safety and well-being as NASCAR seeks the best way to continue delivering a remarkable on-track product week after week.”

The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Daytona (Aug. 16) has been realigned from Iowa Speedway. The Truck Series also will not race at Eldora Speedway (originally scheduled for July 30) and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (originally scheduled for Sept. 6). Those races will be realigned to dates and locations to be determined.

“As a community, racers and race fans need to heed the advice of our local doctors and nurses: practice social distancing; wear a cloth face covering, bandana or mask; wash your hands; and keep sanitizer at the ready,” Roger Slack, general manager of Eldora Speedway, said in a release. “The virus knows no county line or state border and it’s on all of us to do our part to stop the spread. Until we do so, Eldora and a lot of speedways are going to sit empty.”

The Xfinity Series will not race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (originally scheduled for May 30) and Michigan (originally scheduled for June 6). Those races will be realigned to dates and locations to be determined.

The Truck Series race at Gateway at WWT Raceway on Aug. 30 will be part of a same-day doubleheader with IndyCar. Fans will be allowed to attend the event.

Below is the full schedule slate announced by NASCAR.

(ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN)

Aug. 7 at Michigan: Truck race (6 p.m. on FS1)

Aug. 8 at Road America: Xfinity race (Noon on NBCSN)

Aug. 8 at Michigan: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 9 at Michigan: ARCA race (1 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 9 at Michigan: Cup race (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Aug. 14 at Daytona road course: ARCA race (5 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 15 at Daytona road course: Xfinity race (3 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 16 at Daytona road course: Truck race (Noon on FS1)

Aug. 16 at Daytona road course: Cup race (3 p.m. on NBC)

Aug. 21 at Dover: ARCA race (2 p.m. on Trackpass)

Aug. 21 at Dover: Truck race (5 p.m. on FS1)

Aug. 22 at Dover: Xfinity race (12:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 22 at Dover: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 23 at Dover: Xfinity race (1 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 23 at Dover: Cup race (4 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 28 at Daytona: Xfinity race (7:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

Aug. 29 at WWT Raceway: ARCA race (6 p.m. on MavTV)

Aug. 29 at Daytona: Cup regular season finale (7:30 p.m. on NBC)

Aug. 30 at WWT Raceway: Truck race (Noon on FS1)

NASCAR, IMG Arena to offer virtual betting game to global sportsbooks

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NASCAR on Wednesday announced a new virtual sports betting game in partnership with sports betting service/content hub IMG Arena.

Created by Leap Gaming, the game — called “The Official NASCAR Virtual” and expected to be released in the next few weeks — will be offered to international sports betting operators and will replicate some of NASCAR’s most noted tracks including Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Watkins Glen International.

In addition, NASCAR and IMG Arena have formed a long-term partnership that will allow international sports betting operators outside of the U.S. and Canada to live-stream NASCAR Cup races for the first time.

“Adding NASCAR to our client roster is a proud achievement,” Freddie Longe, Executive Vice President and Marketing Director at IMG Arena, said in a media release. “The brand is renowned in sport and entertainment with the high-octane race series providing must-watch, appointment-viewing content for more than 70 years.

“The partnership significantly bolsters our streaming and official virtual sports offering with a product that we expect to be popular in a number of different markets.”

London-based IMG Arena works with more than 460 sportsbook operators worldwide, offering 24/7 live streaming and on-demand virtual sports products.

Earlier this year, NASCAR created its first free-to-play mobile game with Penn National Gaming called “NASCAR Finish Line,” which offers fans the chance to win a $25,000 jackpot every race.

Jimmie Johnson never missed a lap in 26 Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway

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Jimmie Johnson was really good at Auto Club Speedway.

In fact, he was the best.

It would be easy to just cite his record six wins in 26 starts on the 2-mile track. But here’s another number.

5,906.

That’s the amount of laps Johnson successfully completed in all 26 of his starts on his home rack, from his first Cup win there in 2002 to the seventh-place finish Sunday in his final Auto Club 400.

That’s every lap. Johnson never failed to finish on the lead lap at Auto Club Speedway

It’s far and away a Cup Series record.

According to Racing Insights, the closest a Cup driver has come to that is Tony Stewart.

Like Johnson, he did it at his home track. From 1999-2016, Stewart made 18 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He completed all 2,895 laps he was eligible for.

The next four drivers in this category all earned their numbers at the same track: Watkins Glen International.

Martin Truex Jr: 14 starts/1,262 laps
Darrell Waltrip: 14 starts/1,221 laps
Carl Edwards: 12 starts/1,084 laps
A.J. Allmendinger: 10 starts/902 laps

Brad Keselowski gives the vivid inside story of 2012 Watkins Glen finish

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Brad Keselowski didn’t win the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

He came in second to Marcos Ambrose.

But the way he finished second, in a dramatic last-lap battle with Ambrose, resulted in it being voted the No. 1 race finish of the decade by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers. 

Late Thursday night, the Team Penske driver took to Twitter and for roughly two hours shared his perspective on the last lap around the road course, which he is “proud” to be part of, even if it did add fuel to his rivalry with Kyle Busch for “years to come.”

Here’s his tweet thread.