NASCAR Set to host inaugural Battle at the Beach on Monday and Tuesday; what is it?

Streeter Lecka

Intended to be the Future’s Game or Prospects Challenge of stock car racing, NASCAR is set to debut the new UNOH Battle at the Beach portion of Speedweeks on Monday at Daytona International Speedway -- but what exactly is it?

The Battle at the Beach is NASCAR’s showcase for the organization’s Home Tracks department which sanctions races for the All-American Late Models, Wheelen Modifieds Tour and K&N Pro Series East and West regional divisions. In shorter terms, it’s NASCAR’s grassroots and short track department.

Most Sprint Cup Series teams have development drivers whom compete in these divisions but outside of the K&N Pro Series, which televises races on a tape-delayed basis, this is the first major opportunity for these drivers to showcase their talents in front of a national audience. That means a chance to gain some national recognition and perhaps impress the NASCAR world, which has descended upon Daytona Beach this week.

The races will be held on a temporary .4-mile short track composed on Daytona’s backstretch. The Wheelen All-American Late Model Series will run their 150-lap, 60-mile feature race at 7:15 p.m. ET with the Wheelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro Series East and West running their 150-lap feature races on Tuesday at 7:15 and 8:30 p.m. respectively.

Each of the feature races will be televised live on Speed with NASCAR’s Home Track website carrying live video and audio of the practice sessions throughout the day.

A quick glance at the track makes it appear like a cross between Martinsville and Bowman Gray Stadium. Unlike contemporary makeshift NASCAR short tracks like Charlotte and Atlanta, Daytona's temporary circuit features a long straight away and short winding turns that will surely inspire heavy braking and a lot of passing.

Like any first time event, there are a lot of unknowns but the track and talent level involved in all three divisions make for some compelling racing and a sustainable event.

Here's this week’s Battle at the Beach schedule, with TV information posted in parenthesis.

Monday, February 18 (All practice sessions will have live online video at NASCAR Home Tracks website)

8:30 AM Backstretch gates open

10 AM-Noon NASCAR Whelen All-American Series practice

12:30-1:50 PM NASCAR Whelen All-American Series final practice

2-3:30 PM NASCAR K&N Pro Series Practice

3:45-5:15 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Practice

4-5 PM NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Driver autograph session

5:30 PM NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps)

6 PM (approx.) NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps)

7:15 PM NASCAR Whelen All-American Series UNOH Battle at the Beach (150 Laps, 60 Miles, LIVE ON SPEED)

Tuesday, February 19 (All practice sessions will have live online TV at http://hometracks.nascar.com/)

10:30 AM Backstretch gates open

12:15-1 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice

1:10-1:55 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour final practice

2:05-2:50 PM NASCAR K&N Pro Series practice

3-3:45 PM NASCAR K&N Pro Series final practice

3-3:45 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Driver autograph session

4-4:45 PM NASCAR K&N Pro Series Driver autograph session

5 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps)

5:20 PM (approx.) NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps)

5:40 PM (approx.) NASCAR K&N Pro Series Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps)

6 PM (approx.) NASCAR K&N Pro Series Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps)

6:35 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour & NASCAR K&N Pro Series Driver Introductions

7:15 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race (150 Laps, 60 miles, LIVE ON SPEED)

8:30 PM (approx.) NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race (150 Laps, 60 miles, LIVE ON SPEED)

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