NASCAR “Preseason Thunder” testing to expand in 2014

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All three NASCAR national touring series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck – will take part in an expanded version of “Preseason Thunder” testing at Daytona International Speedway in January of 2014.

The Thunder sessions will begin with two days of work for the Sprint Cup contingent (four sessions overall) on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 9-10. Nationwide drivers and teams will follow on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11-12, and then the Trucks will hit the track on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 13-14. All sessions will run from 9 a.m. to Noon ET and again from 1-5 p.m. ET.

“Races at Daytona International Speedway are unique to NASCAR competition, and Preseason Thunder will not only give all three of our national series an opportunity to test, but will allow us to settle upon a rules package that will benefit our teams and provide the best on-track action for our fans,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said in a statement.

Daytona president Joie Chitwood III also chimed in, saying his track was happy to host all three national series.

“Having the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series teams join the stars of the Sprint Cup Series in testing the high banks will ignite plenty of excitement for the start of the new NASCAR season,” he said in his own statement.

Additionally, NASCAR and DIS have announced two “Fan Fests” for those attending the Thunder sessions, complete with autograph sessions and question-and-answer opportunities with drivers.

The Sprint Cup Fan Fest will go off on Thursday, Jan. 9, and the Nationwide Series will have theirs on Saturday, Jan. 11. For those planning to be in the area, the tests will be free and open to the public with seating in the Oldfield Grandstands on the DIS frontstretch.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.