Following the Busch Clash last week Tuesday on the Daytona road course, NASCAR made a decision to change the layout of the Bus Stop chicane ahead of this weekend’s return. When the series first raced on the international road course layout last summer, it was determined that an extra chicane would be needed, and it was added at the exit of NASCAR 4 down on the apron where it wouldn’t be a problem for the Daytona 24 race.
This time, however, the bus stop changes will make a huge difference for the next sporty car race on that track.
During the Busch Clash there were a few instances of drivers dropping wheels off the edge of the track, bringing dirt up onto the racing surface. This caused at least a few front runners to spin up their rear wheels going over the loose and head up into the outside wall with some momentum. Rather than just telling these drivers to keep their fucking tires on the black stuff, the series decided to dig up the chicane and add a couple extra “turtle” curbs. You know, despite sports cars running on this layout basically since the Bus Stop was added in 1973.
Below you’ll see some onboard video of the Mazda DPI race car jumping over the curbs at the chicane in question en route to a new record lap time during qualifying for the 2019 Daytona 24. Coming off the back stretch at nearly 200 miles per hour, the carbon-tubbed two-liter monster manages to haul it down to an appropriate speed and not dip its wheels in the dirt.
We don’t yet know whether Daytona International Speedway will unbolt the new curbs for the Daytona 24, but either way the new addition will have a huge effect on the race. If the curbs remain in place, the lower carbon-bodied prototypes and GT cars will not be able to negotiate the chicane nearly as quickly for fear of launching several feet off of them, or outright smashing undertrays and splitters. If the curbs are removed for the Daytona 24, the chicane will run much quicker, as there is an extra foot or more of pavement added to the track, allowing drivers to straightline just a bit more.
I can’t decide if I like this change or loathe it. I guess we’ll see what it looks like in its final form on Friday night when the NASCAR Truck series takes to the track for the first time. Should be interesting, either way.