NASCAR’s first dance on the Daytona International Speedway road course race was graded as an ‘A’ by senior vice president of competition Scott Miller.
“I think from the start with the ARCA guys to what we just watched, I think it was a fantastic event, no problems with the racetrack,” said Miller after the Cup Series race Sunday afternoon. “The chicane on the frontstretch I think really made it possible for the stock cars to run here. I think you all read about some of the challenges with the speeds we would have seen getting into Turn 1 without it. Everybody buckled down, got that work done, held up nice, and really provided for an exciting race.”
Daytona’s road course replaced the sport’s annual summer trek to Watkins Glen. NASCAR found itself unable to travel to upstate New York because of the coronavirus, and the course traditionally used for the Rolex 24 became a destination. Officials did add a chicane off oval Turn 4 to slow the cars down, and teams did not get any practice or qualifying before their first trip into Turn 1.
All three national series ran at the road course. The action started Friday night with the ARCA race, and Sunday was a doubleheader with the Trucks and Cup Series. If Miller was surprised by anything, it was that the first few laps weren’t a little messier.
“I think everybody knows what (the drivers) are capable of, but with the high speeds and having to hit the brake markers getting into those chicanes was probably the biggest worry,” said Miller. “The rest of the racetrack is pretty straightforward for them. Both of the chicanes’ high rate of entry speed and hitting those brake markers the first few times was definitely going to be tricky, simulator or not.
“They did a fantastic job, and I don’t know that anybody underestimated them, but I think that again, they proved their worth today. It was a heck of a show.”
The Daytona road course is a one-off race to replace The Glen, but that didn’t stop the question from being asked of whether it could reappear on a future schedule.
“Well, I think that we certainly proved that it works, and we can put on an exciting show here,” said Miller. “I’m sure it will go into the talks of consideration for us coming back.”