By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
NASCAR announced Wednesday its latest batch of races for August, highlighted by the Daytona International Speedway Road Course as all three national touring series and the ARCA Menards Series are set to compete there for the first time.
Initially planned for the Busch Clash next year, the 3.56-mile road circuit will kick start a busy month for “The World Center of Racing” as it’ll host two race weekends in a span of three weeks, highlighted with Cup’s regular season finale being held at the 2.5-mile superspeedway August 29.
“Daytona International Speedway has a storied history like no other in motorsports,” said Chip Wile, President of Daytona International Speedway.
“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.”
While vital details such as the race weekend schedule and whether or not fans can attend are being finalized, the inclusion of the Daytona road course will also fill the void on the lack road racing this year.
This was the case as Wedneday’s announcement confirmed three road circuits have been cancelled across the three national touring series. The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will lose Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Xfinity loses the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Cup won’t be competing at Watkins Glen International for the first time since 1985.
Michael McDowell commented about losing Watkins Glen from the Cup schedule as the track has gained a positive reputation of tremendous racing and sell out crowds over the last few years.
“I love the Glen. It’s one of my favorite tracks and so I’d hate for it to not be on the schedule, but this year is crazy and there’s so much going on, and obviously we can only go where we can go and where it’s safe to go. You can’t worry too much about that,” said McDowell.
“As much as I’m upset that we can’t go to Watkins or potentially not go to Watkins Glen, it’s probably somewhat an advantage for me to go to Daytona just because the laps that I have there and the seat time that I have there compared to some of the other drivers, but it’s still hard because Watkins Glen is definitely one of my favorite tracks.”
Daytona is meant to replace Watkins Glen while the Truck Series race is part of the realignment from Iowa Speedway, which cancelled its NASCAR events on May 14th.
The rest of the tracks losing a date this season are as follows:
The Truck Series will also lose the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway, a landmark event since 2013 which would’ve marked the debut of Tyler Courtney and perhaps David Gravel, who was heavily rumored to race at the Rossburg, Ohio venue.
“This year’s lineup of dirt racers who planned to battle the Truck Series regulars was going to produce one of our strongest fields ever. Losing this event is a gut punch for everyone who is a part of it,” said Roger Slack, General Manager of Eldora Speedway.
“We’ve now lost races for every single local and national division that competes at Eldora. We cannot hold events without healthy race fans and racers. It’s that simple. The fastest way for us all to be back together again at Eldora, with full grandstands and full campgrounds, and $2 beers, is another collective team effort.”
Slack highly encourages the racing community to heed the advice of local medical personnel and practice social distancing so racing can resume at multiple places across the country.
“The virus knows no country line or state border and it’s on all of us to do our part to stop the spread,” Slack added. “Until we do so, Eldora and a lot of speedways are going to sit empty.”
On the Xfinity side, not only Mid-Ohio has been dropped, but also Michigan International Speedway.
Makeup races for Eldora, Mosport (Canadian Tire), Mid-Ohio and Michigan (Xfinity only) have yet to be announced at this time.
The announced schedule which runs from August 7 to August 30 is as follows:
Michigan International Speedway
- Fri, August 7: Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – 200 mi – FS1 – 6:00 PM
- Sat, August 8: Cup Series – 312 mi – NBCSN – 4:00 PM
- Sun, August 9: ARCA Menards Series – 200 mi – MAVTV – 1:00 PM
- Sun, August 9: Cup Series – 312 mi – NBCSN – 4:30 PM
- Sat, August 8: Xfinity Series – 182 mi – NBCSN – Noon
Daytona Road Course
- Fri, August 14: ARCA Menards Series – TBA – MAVTV – 5:00 PM
- Sat, August 15: Xfinity Series – 182 mi – NBCSN – 3:00 PM
- Sun, August 16: Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – 153 mi – FS1 – Noon
- Sun, August 16: Cup Series – 231 mi – NBC – 3:00 PM
Dover International Speedway
- Fri, August 21: ARCA Menards Series East – 125 mi – NBC Track Pass – 2:00 PM
- Fri, August 21: Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – 200 mi – FS1 – 5:00 PM
- Sat, August 22: Xfinity Series – 200 mi – NBCSN – 12:30 PM
- Sat, August 22: Cup Series – 311 mi – NBCSN – 4:00 PM
- Sun, August 23: Xfinity Series – 200 mi – NBCSN – 1:00 PM
- Sun, August 23: Cup Series – 311 mi – NBCSN – 4:00 PM
Daytona International Speedway
- Fri, August 28: Xfinity Series – 250 mi – NBCSN – 7:30 PM
- Sat, August 29: Cup Series – 400 mi – NBC – 7:30 PM
World Wide Technology Raceway
- Sat, August 29: ARCA Menards Series – 150 mi – MAVTV – 6:00 PM
- Sun, August 30: Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – 200 mi – FS1 – Noon