As NASCAR plans to run all the races without practice or qualifying for all the three national series, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer demanded that the Daytona road course, at least, demands some practice.
While the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic demanded that the time on the track be minimized, but the Cup series race at the Daytona road course on August 16 presents a unique challenge to most of the drivers in the series as they have not raced on the track before.
Hamlin said that a 30-minute practice session would only make the race better.
“I really, personally would have liked to have seen even 30 minutes (of practice) to get us acclimated to some braking points. I definitely understand the owner’s side of it and NASCAR’s side of it where you don’t want to have to prepare backup cars just in case. Heck, maybe even – I’m just politicking through (the media) – why not have the implication of knowing that this 30-minute practice session, if you wreck, you finish last. Just like you would in the race. If someone is going to wreck in that 30-minute practice session, they were more than likely going to wreck in the race anyway.
“I think that we can take it easy, we can go slow and make sure we just get acclimated before we go green. You don’t want to put on a bad race that’s just filled with cautions. I worry that could be the case.”
While Bowyer might have raced in the track before, he is still in favor of practice at the track.
“I voted to practice at Daytona. I guess I’m probably unique in at least I have some laps on the racetrack, it was a long time ago, I don’t even remember those laps but I ran the Rolex 24 (in 2013) and have some experience on that track. But that being said, not in our cars and anything else.
“I think it’s a tall order to show up there and run a track that we’ve never been on before with the tire combination with the package, with the aero, horsepower, we’ve never seen before, it’s going to be a crapshoot for everybody.
“I think there’s definitely drivers and teams that have experience running that Rolex that will be ahead of the pack, ahead of the curve for sure. These are challenging times. To ask the teams to come up with a unique car and again for a backup car and everything else. It’s saving them money (not to do so). I get it. Everything is tight right now. You’ve got to give and take in this scenario, and I think that’s definitely a give for the Daytona race.”
Daytona road course came in the Cup Series schedule by replacing the race at Watkins Glen International, due to quarantine restrictions in New York.