IMSA will move races to Road Atlanta, Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

IMSA Roval Road Atlanta
Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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IMSA modified its 2020 schedule Saturday, announcing new race dates at Road Atlanta and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

The six-hour WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race Sept. 6 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will replace the previously scheduled event at Watkins Glen International. A four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race will be held at the track Sept. 5.

The Roval will play host to the GTLM and GTD classes Oct. 9-10 (with practice Friday and a 100-minute race Saturday) ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series racing in the Bank of America Roval 400 on Oct. 11.

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The GTLM and GTD classes had been scheduled to race Sept. 12 at Lime Rock Park. Both Connecticut and New York have quarantine restrictions because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that would have made the races at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock logistically impossible for IMSA and its teams.

In a statement, Watkins Glen said its IMSA races being moved were “a result of the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the state of New York.”

The Roval will mark the first time IMSA and NASCAR have shared a track on a race weekend in six years.

“When Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith first envisioned the Roval, part of that vision included bringing new series to the track in addition to our classic NASCAR Cup Series events,” Charlotte Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager Greg Walter said in a release. “We look forward to working in partnership with IMSA to provide a unique perspective to race fans and a one-of-a-kind challenge to the drivers who will be tasked with tackling this technically innovative course.”

Here’s the release from IMSA:

IMSA today announced realignment to upcoming dates on its 2020 schedule, which includes shifting of the Labor Day Weekend six-hour race from Watkins Glen International to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, and the GT-only event from Lime Rock Park to the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will host the six-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on Sunday, Sept. 6, with three other IMSA-sanctioned series that all were previously scheduled to compete at Watkins Glen also moving to Michelin Raceway that weekend. A four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5, with doubleheader races for both the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Super Trofeo races also planned for the weekend.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL will host the WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes in a 100-minute race as part of the NASCAR event weekend, Oct. 9-10, at the facility. This event will replace the Lime Rock Park race previously scheduled for Sept. 11-12.

Michelin Pilot Challenge, which also was scheduled to race at Lime Rock Park, instead will have a doubleheader of two-hour races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the weekend of Sept. 25-27. The GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will have three events per weekend at Mid-Ohio and the Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 14-17.

IMSA continues to monitor state and local COVID-19 guidelines which may make additional schedule revisions appropriate in the coming weeks. Current Provisional IMSA schedules follow below.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

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Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.