For the first time in NASCAR history, all three national series will compete on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.
The Xfinity Series will go first Saturday (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Then, on Sunday, the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (noon ET on FS1) and Cup Series (3 p.m. ET on NBC) will hunker down.
Here’s all the tea for the 23rd race of the Cup Series season — the GoBowling 235. Just three regular-season events will remain after the weekend.
The Daytona Road Course — originally called the International Horseshoe bend — has been around for 61 years now, with the annual Rolex 24 as a highlight event, but 2020 will mark NASCAR’s debut on winding track in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s normally 3.56 miles long.A new chicane located off Turn 4 in the famed oval, though, was added and ultimately extended the course to 3.61 miles. NASCAR introduced the addition July 30.
“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, senior vice president of racing innovation. “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.”
The Daytona Road Course features 14 turns and includes part of the superspeedway’s high-banked turns and a tight, technical infield section. You can get a closer look at each turn here.
This will be NASCAR’s 147th Cup Series race at the Daytona venue overall, thanks to its history on the oval dating back to 1959. It’ll also mark the series’ 130th road-course race.
Stage 1 is set to end at Lap 15, Stage 2 at Lap 30, with the final stage slated to conclude on Lap 65.
Fore the first time, the starting lineup and pit-stall selection was determined by a competition-based formula, eliminating the random-draw element from all three national series through the end of the 2020 season.
The formula uses three performance metrics, which will be weighted and averaged to determine the lineup and pit selection order:
Finishing position from the previous race (weighted 50%)
Ranking in team owner points standings (35%)
Fastest lap from the previous race (15%)
The competition-based formula also brings back the awarding of the Busch Pole Award in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kevin Harvick will lead Sunday’s Cup Series field to green.
The developed rules package for the GoBowling 235 combines elements of both the 2020 rules packages currently in use. The high downforce aero package, which is also high in drag, will be combined with the 750 horsepower engine used at short tracks and road courses. This package is only scheduled to be used at the Daytona Road Course.
The Daytona Road Course is expected to be a fast course that incorporates much of the 2.5-mile superspeedway oval. Therefore, with speeds expected to be close to what cars run at Watkins Glen International — as compared to a slower, more technical course like Sonoma Raceway — the Watkins Glen tire was determined to be the best fit.
“Our history in other series at Daytona, plus our extensive experience with these cars on the oval, helped us come up with our decision,” Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker said. “We are very familiar with the requirements of running the banking as a part of this road course, and that helped us with choosing a tire with the correct compounds. While we were not able to run a test with the Cup cars on the course, we did confirm our recommendation using the simulation data that NASCAR and the OEM‘s generated. The Watkins Glen tire is a good choice for this high speed course from a technical standpoint, and it is also a known quantity for the teams.”
NASCAR’s three national series will all run the same tire. Goodyear will also bring its wet weather radials for use in the event that rain occurs during a race.
The Cup Series will be given seven tire sets. The Xfinity Series will receive six. And the Gander Truck Series will have five. All three will be allotted two sets of “wets.”
STATS TO KNOW
— Two drivers won six of the last seven road-course races. Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. split the wins at three victories apiece.
— Ford has only one win in the last seven road-course races. Ryan Blaney took the 2018 checkered flag at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval after the leaders wrecked on the final corner.
— Six of the last seven road-course winners started in the top 10 when the initial green flag dropped.
— Six (again) of the last seven-road course races were won by the driver who led the most laps.
— There has not been an overtime finish in the last 17 road-course races.
— The Stage 2 winner has gone on to win the race in the last three races of 2020, and Ford drivers have won Stage 2 in the last nine races.
Source: Racing Insights, NASCAR statistics
Tune in to television coverage Sunday for the Cup Series on NBC or on the NBC Sports App at 3 p.m. ET. For full radio coverage from the Daytona Road Course, dial in to MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90.
RELATED: Ways to follow the races
For a more interactive experience, steer over to NASCAR.com or the NASCAR app to check out an enhanced Race Center, live Lap-by-Lap coverage, the customizable live leaderboard with Scanner and the return of Drive (featuring in-car cameras).
ACTIVE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE WINNERS
None. Whoever wins Sunday will be the first.