On Wednesday, NASCAR and IMSA announced revised dates for the traditional January test sessions to the start of the 2015 racing season. First up, the Roar Before the 24, which is a three-day open test at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the Rolex 24, will be held from January 9-11, 2015, which is roughly a week later than this year. As a result, there will be only ten days between the end of the test and the beginning of on-track activity for the Rolex 24 race weekend. Also, the test is a direct clash with the 24 Hours of Dubai, a race for FIA GT3 machinery that has become popular with drivers as a 24-hour tune-up.
Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to take to the 2.5 mile tri-oval on January 15-16, once again, one week later than last year. In response to this year’s rains reducing Preseason Thunder for Sprint Cup teams to only one day of on-track, a rain date of Saturday, January 17, 2015 has been added as well. Finally, the annual Preseason Thunder Fan Fest will be held on January 15th. Further information about the Fan Fest will be announced at a later date.
NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton is sure that the date change will not affect the action.
“Each year, Preseason Thunder gives fans a sneak peek into the upcoming season, and specifically, NASCAR’s crown jewel, the Daytona 500,” Pemberton said. “In 2015, the date will change. The anticipation, and the thrill of cars returning to the race track, will not.”
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood is in favor of the shift to later dates for the test sessions.
“A later starting date for January testing will be more convenient for both teams and fans,” Chitwood said on Wednesday. “Both testing sessions are important opportunities for teams as they prepare for their season-opening events … It’s also an exciting time for fans as they get gear up for the start of the new season.”
Reportedly, keeping members of IMSA teams together with their families for the holidays played in a role in the Roar Before the 24 being moved back. For the last decade and change, the test had been the first weekend of January.