NASCAR‘s August trip to the Daytona International Speedway road course will feature a new but big change to the usual layout. On Thursday, track president Chip Wile announced NASCAR’s races there will include a chicane exiting the oval’s turn four.
“It’s gonna add even more excitement for the fans than we were already expecting,” Wile began in a press conference. “It’s really truly making it NASCAR-centric. Obviously, we have our road course that’s been in existence since 1959, but now that we have something very unique that no driver has ever seen and it’s truly going to make that last lap so exciting.
“As they come off turn four, they’re gonna make a hard left and then a hard right and a hard left back onto the race track. It is going to be just an exciting piece to what’s going to be a historic weekend here at the Daytona International Speedway.”
As explained in a track statement, the chicane is located about 500 feet from the “the point of entry to the last point of exit off the straightaway racing surface, ranging from 38-48 feet width throughout.” With the inclusion of the chicane, the track will be 3.57 miles long with fourteen turns.
On Twitter, the track shared a video of NASCAR Vice President of Racing Development and former driver Ben Kennedy driving through the course with the chicane.
A similar chicane is featured at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, forcing drivers to slow down and go through a new passing zone before crossing the start/finish line. With lower speeds coming to the line, it reduces the danger for drivers as they prepare for the left turn into turn one.
Like Charlotte, the chicane will feature large kerbing, with Wile remarking the “friends at Charlotte Motor Speedway very nicely let us borrow their turtles.”
The infield road course layout is traditionally used for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, but NASCAR will use the track for the first time to make up for the lost road race at Watkins Glen International. Some Cup Series drivers have experience on the road course thanks to the Rolex 24 including Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. The configuration had been planned for use for the 2021 Busch Clash.
Sports car racer Andy Lally and dirt track ace Mark Smith are entered for the Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series support events. The ARCA Menards Series will also participate in the weekend.
The race weekend begins on Friday, 14 August with ARCA doing a 104-mile, 29-lap event (split into two stages of 15 and 29 laps). Saturday will see the Xfinity Series race, which is 188 miles and 52 laps (stages at laps 15, 30, and 52). The final day on Sunday begins with the Trucks doing a 159-mile, 44-lap race (stages at 12, 25, 44) and ends with the Cup Series’ 235-mile, 65-lap leg (stages at 15, 30, and 65).