NASCAR to Run Four Races on the Daytona Road Course This August

By Colin Wood
Jul 9, 2020 | nascar, Daytona International Speedway

Photography Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Daytona International Speedway will hold four NASCAR race events in total during the August 14-16 weekend. Originally set to run at Watkins Glen, the ARCA Menards Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Cup Series have been rescheduled to run at Daytona using the famous road course layout. We were just there this past weekend for the IMSA season reboot as well as the ChampCar 14-hour contest

Photograph Courtesy Daytona International Speedway

As well, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, originally set to run on June 12 at Iowa Speedway, will be running that August 14-16 weekend.

Friday will feature the ARCA Menards Series race, followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Sunday will feature both the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race and the NASCAR Cup Series race back-to-back. Sunday's races, we're told, will be open to fans. 

Are you excited to see more NASCAR events use road courses?

We've already seen several road race pros, including Andy Lally and Jordan Taylor, seeing if anyone needs a road course ringer. 


Read the full release below:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2020) – NASCAR was already set to return to Daytona International Speedway in late August, but now the iconic venue is set to host a double dose of two exciting NASCAR weekends during the month, one with unprecedented twists, literally.

NASCAR announced today that, in addition to the scheduled August 28-29 doubleheader weekend featuring the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola, for the first time in history, Daytona International Speedway’s world famous 3.56-mile road course will play host to NASCAR’s three top national series, along with the ARCA Menards Series, on August 14-16.

Three events to be held on Daytona’s 12-turn, high-banked tri-oval/infield road course, are realigned races that were originally scheduled to be held at Watkins Glen International on August 14-16 – the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series race and ARCA Menards Series. In addition, the fourth race – a NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series event is realigned from Iowa Speedway that was originally set for June 12.

The new scheduled August 14-16 weekend for Daytona International Speedway’s road course includes:

  • Friday, August 14 - ARCA Menards Series at 5:00 p.m. ET (MAVTV); Distance TBD
  • Saturday, August 15 - NASCAR Xfinity Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN); 182 miles (51 laps)
  • Sunday, August 16 - NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors at 12 Noon ET (FS1): 153 miles (43 laps)
  • Sunday, August 16 - NASCAR Cup Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC): 231 miles (65 laps)

The historic 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. The ribbon of asphalt was used in action this past weekend with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA.

In March, it was announced that the 2021 Busch Clash At DAYTONA would move to the speedway’s 3.56-mile 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 for NASCAR’s premier series and others.

Daytona International Speedway has a storied history like no other in motorsports,” said Speedway President Chip Wile. “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, is currently being finalized and will be announced in the near future.

Competition on the road course will be unlike any other challenge drivers have faced at Daytona International Speedway. In contrast to the tightly packed competition on the speedway’s famed 2.5-mile high-banked trioval, drivers will utilize approximately three-quarters of the tri-oval along with the challenging infield portion of the road course. That translates into 12 turns instead of the usual four. That challenge entails the high-speed entrance into Turn 1, as drivers dive left off the front straight to begin the twists and turns the infield offers, including the International (east) and west Horseshoe turns and the tricky negotiation of the backstretch chicane prior to a climb back atop the bank in Turn 3.

While this will be the first attempt of NASCAR’s three top-tier series on the heralded road course, it won’t be the first time NASCAR vehicles have been on the coveted layout. In the late 1960s, in smaller, stock-type cars, the NASCAR Grand Touring Division competed on the road course while the NASCAR Grand American cars were a constant in the early ‘70s, as well as the NASCAR Modifieds in the mid to latter part of the decade. Noted names of winners in those divisions included stars like Pete Hamilton, Buck Baker, Jim Paschal, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. The International Race of Champions (IROC) actually had its first race at Daytona in 1974 on the road course, with Mark Donohue winning in a Porsche (the next year moving to a Chevrolet Camaro and the oval).

Current NASCAR drivers who have competed in the Rolex 24 on the 3.56-mile road course include Kyle Busch, who was a participant earlier this year, and his brother Kurt, who was part of the event in 2005 and 2008, when he wound up third-place overall. Two-time DAYTONA 500 champion Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time starter in the Rolex 24, has two runnerup finishes in the event, in 2005 and 2008. Other former NASCAR drivers who had success in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA include AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and Juan Pablo Montoya.

In addition to the dates for Daytona’s Road Course, NASCAR also announced the next installment of the 2020 schedules through the end of August. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Aug. 29) will mark the final time drivers have a chance to secure their position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs while the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola will see the NASCAR’s future stars tackle the 2.5-mile trioval.

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.

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View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/8/20 3:57 p.m.

So, who else is free to drive that weekend? JG, you gonna walk around the pits with your helmet? 

slowbird SuperDork
7/8/20 4:05 p.m.

I've always wanted to see the stock cars tackle the roval. This is gonna be interesting. laugh

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/8/20 4:06 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

Should be way cool. 

We went to the last IROC race there a million years ago. It was fun. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/8/20 4:09 p.m.

So who has lap time predictions? I'm saying GT4 lap times or thereabouts. I think a the fast Cup cars would be toward the front of the Pilot Challenge grid.

Yee-haw! NASCAR on the road course at Daytona sounds like fun!  How about racing the trucks or Xfinity cars at Sebring next?

Chesterfield Reader
7/8/20 4:20 p.m.

I am looking forward to this, I think Nascar should do more rovals and road courses. I grew up going to dirt track races, but somehow I became enamored with road course racing. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/8/20 4:23 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

So who has lap time predictions? I'm saying GT4 lap times or thereabouts. I think a the fast Cup cars would be toward the front of the Pilot Challenge grid.

What does your fancy iRacing rig say? 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/8/20 4:31 p.m.

And I guess this past IMSA weekend was a bit of a dress rehearsal. It seemed to go very smoothly on our end. 

Cooter UberDork
7/8/20 5:16 p.m.

This is about the best thing NASCAR can do to make their races relevant.   I like cars that turn both directions.

Tom1200 Dork
7/8/20 5:20 p.m.

This is cool, I seldom watch NASCAR but will for these.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/8/20 5:49 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:
JG Pasterjak said:

So who has lap time predictions? I'm saying GT4 lap times or thereabouts. I think a the fast Cup cars would be toward the front of the Pilot Challenge grid.

What does your fancy iRacing rig say? 

Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports

It just gave me a few answers. Let me figure out how to get stuff froma PC to a Mac and I'll report back.

T.J. MegaDork
7/8/20 6:04 p.m.
Cooter said:

This is about the best thing NASCAR can do to make their races relevant.   I like cars that turn both directions.

I'll watch these. I usually only watch the Glen or Sonoma. Not interested in ovals.

Ranger50 UltimaDork
7/8/20 6:36 p.m.

Forewarning: somehow NASCAR will berkeley it up. 

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/8/20 7:22 p.m.

Who will be broadcasting the races? Fox, NBC, other? And nationally or streaming only via Foxsports etc?

Sidewayze New Reader
7/8/20 7:28 p.m.

This could actually make NASCAR.... not suck?  

I'm not even sure how to deal with that. 

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/8/20 7:31 p.m.

If this goes well I'd like to see them run in the 24 Hours again.


slowbird SuperDork
7/8/20 7:42 p.m.

In reply to Wally (Forum Supporter) :

Either that or they could bring back Trans-Am style cars as the new Am class, since GTD keeps trending more and more pro. cheeky

dxman92 HalfDork
7/8/20 9:49 p.m.

NASCAR turning left and right. surprise. Everything aside, I like when they run road courses and wish they would run em more.

z31maniac MegaDork
7/9/20 7:37 a.m.

OK NASCAR, you have my attention. 

The few times here and there I would catch a NASCAR race, always a road course. Watching them muscle those big beats over the curbs and around the turns is a ton of fun to watch. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/9/20 7:52 a.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:

If this goes well I'd like to see them run in the 24 Hours again.


Yes, please. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/9/20 8:06 a.m.

It should be really interesting from a car set-up POV.  Low downforce for the oval or high for the road course? The road course parts would preclude running restrictor plates, which could make the oval parts different than the drivers are used to.  My guess is whoever is best at saving their brakes will be the one who wins.

ChrisTropea Associate Editor
7/9/20 8:24 a.m.

This is going to be a really cool race to watch. The road course races for NASCAR have always been my favorite. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/9/20 8:25 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

Excellent question: Do you want more or less aero at Daytona? Do you maximize the car for the road couse or the oval? 

Some testing that JG did with the Corvette covers that very subject. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/9/20 9:05 a.m.

And the big question around the office: How quickly will a Cup car lap Daytona?

So we're working on that one right now. Look for our findings around lunchtime today. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/9/20 9:18 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Looking at the track map, brakes seem like they'll be a big factor.  Coming into Turns 1 and 10, the cars will be flying - possibly faster than at any other road course NASCAR races at.  How much will the brakes wear during each lap?  Would teams be allowed to replace brake pads during the planned segment stops? 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/9/20 9:25 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

At least brakes have a chance to cool at Daytona. I wonder, will the Daytona road course be tougher on brakes than Martinsville? (I doubt it but, still, good question.)

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/9/20 9:39 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That Brembo article is interesting.  At the end, it mentions they see more pad wear at Watkins Glen than at Martinsville (might be different pad compounds?). While the long oval sections should allow the brakes to cool, the infield section after Turn 1 should put a hurting on them.  I suppose an unknown is how quickly an un-restricted Cup car will be able to get up to speed on the oval sections and what that speed will be.  You know the drivers are going to push those braking points as deep as they can.  

Should be fun to watch.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/9/20 10:14 a.m.

Yeah, could be different compounds, cooling, etc., as the pads only have to last through that race. 

I know a guy. Let me reach out. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/9/20 2:23 p.m.

JG's comparison video is fun to watch:


chada75 Reader
7/9/20 3:45 p.m.

In reply to Chesterfield :

Same here. Seems like a dirt driver makes a great road racer.

MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
7/9/20 5:38 p.m.

The brakes could be interesting as they will get up to pretty stout  speeds into both turn one and the chicane. If you go onto YouTube and watch some of those old  kelly American American challenge races they are basically short track cars road racing and guys always had brakes going and those were much shorter races without pit stops. Granted break technology has come a long way but it will probably still be key to not using them up.

MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
7/9/20 5:43 p.m.

The other interesting thing to see is if Goodyear brings a tire that works for this layout. Granted they have made them for other types of racing at Daytona but a cup car at Daytona will be a very different animal. They will probably just bring the tires they use for the Charlotte rovall but speeds will be much higher.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/9/20 6:09 p.m.

This is awesome!  I gotta go!  Are they allowing spectators?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/9/20 6:42 p.m.

Re: brakes

Been having a good conversatin with a NASCAR engineer (and occasional CAM autocrosser) on Twitter. Long story short, Daytona will extract fairly close to the same thermal energy/km at Roaad America, which the Xfinity cars run at with no issues. Martinsville is about 40% higher than both, though. So the Cup cars should have plenty of brake to survive Daytona.

But these are still solid-axle 3300lb cars on relatively skinny tires. While they may have "enough" brake, the braking precision or distances are not like a GT car. I think it's gona be a heck of a show.

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