Cup Series Making History, Slated To Run The Daytona Road Course

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For the first time in NASCAR Cup Series history the series will compete on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course for the inaugural Go Bowling 235 this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The Daytona International Speedway Road Course has been measured at 3.61-miles and the competitors will have to navigate through 14 turns; including the newly added chicane on the Frontstretch between Turn 4 and Tri-Oval. This weekend’s Go Bowling 235 will be 65 laps (231.465 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 15 laps each and the final stage will be 35 laps.

Cup Road Course TracksRaces
Watkins Glen37
Charlotte ROVAL2
Augusta (RC)1
Road America1

Over the course of its 71-year history (1949-2020) the NASCAR Cup Series has held 129 road course races among 11 different tracks, the Daytona Road Course will be 12th different road course the series has competed on. Riverside International Raceway has hosted the series-most road course events at 48; followed by Watkins Glen International with 37 and Sonoma Raceway with 31. 

The 129 NASCAR Cup Series road course races have produced 52 different winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon with nine victories (Sonoma: five wins, Watkins Glen: four) and Tony Stewart with eight (Sonoma: three, Watkin Glen: five). NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds NASCAR Cup Series record for the most wins on a single road course with six victories at Riverside International Speedway (1971, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1981 sweep).

While this will be the NASCAR Cup Series’ first visit on the road course, the iconic layout that has been the home of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, North America’s premier sports car race, since 1962. Most of the NASCAR Cup Series field will be making their track debuts this weekend, but 10 active drivers entered this week have some experience competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events at the Daytona Road Course – the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Paul Revere 250.

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has made seven Rolex 24 starts posting a career-best finish of runner-up in 2005 and 2008.

“It’s a fun track,” said Johnson. “It might seem like a surprise to some, but in my mind, I felt like it would be a good option. It’s fun just doing different things, new things and this year has brought a lot of that. There’s silver lining moments we’re all experiencing with this pandemic. You look at the schedule and races moving around and Daytona being an example of that with the road course, it’s nice to have something a little different, especially where I sit with my career and looking for new experiences.”

The only other driver with that much experience on the Daytona Road Course is Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell who also made seven starts in the Rolex 24 posting a best finish of third in 2012.

But of the 10 active NASCAR drivers with Daytona Road Course starts only one has ever won at the famed track – Brendan Gaughan finished 12th overall and won the Rolex 24 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge class in 2011.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is the most recent to compete on the road course. He drove a GTD-class Toyota Lexus-RCF in the 2020 Rolex 24, finishing 26th overall, ninth in class.

The 10 active NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered this weekend with previous starts on the Daytona Road Course in other series:

·       Jimmie Johnson – Rolex 24 (2004, ‘05, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11); Paul Revere (2007)

·       Michael McDowell – Rolex 24 (2005, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘11, ‘12); Paul Revere (2005, ‘06)

·       James Davison – Rolex 24 (2014, ‘15, ‘16) Qualified on GTD class pole for 2015 Rolex 24

·       Kyle Busch – Paul Revere (2009), Rolex 24 (2020)

·       Kurt Busch – Rolex 24 (2005, ‘08)

·       Kevin Harvick – Rolex 24 (2002)

·       Clint Bowyer – Rolex 24 (2013)

·       Matt Kenseth – Rolex 24 (2005)

·       Timmy Hill – Rolex 24 (2012)

·       Brendan Gaughan – Rolex 24 (2011 – won the event in the Porsche GT3 class)

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