2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona – NASCAR Style

Every year at this time NASCAR fans long for the new season to begin. A sure sign that the NASCAR season will be soon is the running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. It is that time again and the long cold winter with NASCAR is about over.

This is the 54th annual running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This race features some of the stars of all forms of racing. This year is no exception. We have three NASCAR drivers entered into the race.

AJ Allmendinger will share driving duties for the DP Class No. 60 Tire Kingdom Honda HPD Michael Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian with  John Pew, Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Olivier Pla. This line up of drivers except Olivier Pla and team are the winners of the Daytona Prototype Class in 2014. Olivier Pla replaces Justin Wilson who died in August of last year after being struck in the head by debris from another wreck in an Indy car race.

The Rolex 24 is such a tough race to win. Every year teams show up and they have a lot of speed in their racecars. In the end, the race itself is the toughest thing. If you don’t get to the end of 24 hours, then you don’t have a shot to win so that’s the focus.”  Allmendinger added, “No matter what, it’s going to be difficult. There are a lot of cars here that have a lot of speed but I really do think we have the best line up, the best team and the best car and if we get to the end of the race we’ll have a great shot to win.

Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson will share driving duties for the DP class No. 02 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. This line up of drivers and team are the winners of the Daytona Prototype Class last year. Last year Jamie McMurray etched his name into the record books by becoming the third driver to ever win both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Daytona 500. The other drivers just happen to be racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

Both of these teams have been the class of the field in recent years leading NASCAR fans to think that this race is dominated by teams that have NASCAR ties. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. Most of the teams have the best drivers from all forms of racing. Click for a full entry list for the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Rolex 24 is a very interesting race in that several different classes of race cars race at the same time. Imagine if NASCAR held a very long race in which there were Sprint Cup Cars, Xfinity Series Cars and Camping World Truck Series trucks on the track at the same time. It makes for some interesting racing watching those cars that are out classed get passed by those that obviously have a large advantage.

When you consider the strategy that can be played by those drivers who are not too tired by setting up passing those slower cars; the interest level gets raised a bar or two. Then those drivers who are not fresh try a similar move and disaster strikes. That in a small nut shell is what this 24 hour race is all about. I recommend watching as much as you can.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway it will be televised on a combination of the TV and the Internet. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) Saturday January 30th 2016 from 2-4 PM ET then on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) from 4-10 PM. At 10 PM the race moves to the internet streaming live at imsa.tv until 7 AM Sunday. FS1 will pick up the coverage again at 7 AM ET until 10:30 AM ET when the race switch back to FS2 until 1 PM. The race will finish on FS1 until 2:40 PM ET. This race is a timed event so it will finish promptly prior to 2:40 regardless of the laps run so plan accordingly to see the finish.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 304272LAT Photo USA for IMSA

2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona TV Schedule
Start End Network
Saturday January 30th.
2:00 PM 4:00 PM FS1
4:00 PM 10:00 PM FS2
10:00 PM 7:00 AM imsa.tv
Sunday January 31st.
7:00 AM 10:30 AM FS1
10:30 AM 1:00 PM FS2
1:00 PM 3:00 PM FS1
* All Times ET

 

Cautions Breed Cautions. If not, Artificial Cautionization

Come on, you know you’ve done it, we all have; the NASCAR race has been running and the cars (or trucks) have gotten all strung out and you wished there was a caution flag to bunch them back up. Well NASCAR has given you your wish, well somewhat.

NASCAR is implementing a new program for the Camping World Truck Series where they will set a clock when the green flag waves and if there is no caution flag after 20 minutes of green flag racing they will through a caution flag.

The caution clock will be turned off with 20 laps to go at all events in the series, with the exception of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway, where the clock will be turned off with 10 laps remaining.

At first look at this it seems wrong, totally against what racing is all about; it is wrong. But in life and sports there are rules. Some rules are there to protect the participants others simply to make it more interesting and still others to help in officiating (game management).

This rule is not much different than the two minute warning in football. It adds some time to the game for all parties to reset, take a breather if you will prior to restarting the action. This will also help, like football; the television partners manage TV time outs or commercials.

Every fan knows that each and every race gets more interesting after a caution flag and the subsequent restart. That is the entire basis for NASCAR implementing this rule.

NASCAR did not provide much additional information. One would think that they should automatically clean the track when one of these cautions is thrown to ensure good racing at the restart. Another thought would be that since there was no debris it would be better to have a quick caution and get right back to it. We will see how this is implemented. This may end up being an option based on what is happening on track throughout the particular race.

In realty the majority of times this rule gets used will be on the 1.5 and 2 mile tracks and may perhaps only come into play one time during a race. Regardless, it can only make the racing more interesting.

One argument that many have is that this adds yet another gimmick to NASCAR racing. It doesn’t. It is another rule for teams to manage. The teams will not only have to manage laps, fuel and tires but also reconcile that with time. In other words this rule only adds to the game it doesn’t take anything away from it.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 313633 Tom Pennington/Getty Images