NASCAR says James Davison can't run Talladega Cup Series race after initially approving him for event
James Davison is not making his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday.
Davison was announced earlier this week as the driver of car number 77 for Sunday's race in Talladega, and his name appeared on the NASCAR start list. It was, to say the least, a confusing entry. While Davison has raced in several Indianapolis 500 and raced in IMSA, NASCAR's sister for sports car racing, he has never raced on an oval in NASCAR.
Without training and qualification for Sunday's race due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first lap of Davison's race would be the first lap in Talladega in a Cup Series car.
Yes, you can see that this is not the best idea. And on Thursday Davison said in a team statement that he would not drive the car on Sunday.
"I was contacted by NASCAR and informed that, although I was previously admitted to the race, they had to rethink their position on Superspeedways as there will be no training or qualifying before the race in Talladega on Sunday," said Davison in a Spire Motorsports Statement. "I was thrilled with the opportunity to take the green flag, but I fully understand and appreciate the position of NASCAR. I am approved for the race in Pocono next weekend and I am just as excited to make my series debut there."
Participant lists are collected in the weeks leading up to the races and NASCAR has ended its season with no training or qualification since the race resumed on May 17th. NASCAR should have prevented him from running in Talladega long before the start list appeared, and avoided a scenario in which many NASCAR fans wondered why the sanction agency was using a driver to race in Talladega with only four Xfinity series street circuit races NASCAR experience would approve.
The same reasoning can apply to Pocono, although NASCAR apparently believes that his experience with IndyCar and sports cars is sufficient to pre-register him for the 2.5 mile triangle without a single training or qualifying round.
B.J. McLeod will drive No. 77 in Davison's place. The No. 77 car driven by Justin Haley won the race in Daytona in July 2019 thanks to a lightning strike. It will require another lightning strike or a confluence of extremely rare events for the weekly backmarker car to have a chance of winning on Sunday.
James Davison will drive in Pocono. (AP Photo / Michael Conroy)
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Nick Bromberg is an author for Yahoo Sports.
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