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It looks to be a wild Daytona 500

By admin | February 13, 2011

By Richard Allen


After Saturday’s Bud Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway there have been a number of adjectives used to describe the type of racing seen so far in SpeedWeeks. Unique, strategic, crazy, fast, frustrating, confusing, risky, exciting and unpredictable have been said. However, the one I choose to use above the rest is wild.

For whatever reason, be it the track’s new asphalt or the new nose on the cars mandated by NASCAR, the drivers have found that the fastest way around the 2.5 mile speedway is in groups of two cars running closely together. That creates the odd looking situation of having cars running in little pairs as if they are lining up to board Noah’s Ark.

The two car drafts cause a significant increase in speed which in turn creates a situation where a duo of cars coming from behind close rapidly on those in front of them. The speed difference is estimated to be as much 10mph, if not more. However, cars cannot stay in this formation for long as the car in the rear tends to overheat due to the fact that no air is allowed to its radiator while tucked so closely behind the lead car.

A potential problem with this type of racing comes from the possibility of several of those two car tandems arriving in the same place at the same time. This happened in the Bud Shootout and resulted in a multi-car wreck.

For those who have at some time played NASCAR Kart on the Wii game player may recognize the racing at Daytona. On that game two cars work together in a partnership to build up a charge and slingshot by the other teams. That was very much what racing in the Bud Shootout looked like on Saturday.

After Dale Earnhardt, Jr. captured the pole position for the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon, NASCAR issued some rule changes it hopes will break up the two car drafts and thus eliminate some of this Wii type racing. By mandating a smaller opening on the grille and reducing radiator pressure the sanctioning body believes the rear car in the tandems will be forced seek air to cool the engine which will break up the pairings.

Whether these changes work or not remains to be seen. NASCAR is rumored to be considering lessening the opening on the carburetor restrictor plates after the Dual 150 qualifying races on Thursday if speeds remain too fast and pairs racing continues.

Just because NASCAR forces teams to reduce the air intake area of the grilles will likely not cause drivers to give up on the fastest way around the track. They will risk the car running a little hot to win the biggest race on the schedule.

The bottom line is, this is certain to be one of the most unique, strategic, crazy, fast, frustrating, confusing, risky, exciting and unpredictable races in Daytona 500 history. No doubt, it’s going to be wild.

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5 Responses to “It looks to be a wild Daytona 500”

  1. Charles Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Here Nascar in a panic mode!!!!!!!

    The speeds need to be atleast 210 to 220 mph!!!!!!!!

    This slowing race cars down everytime they hit 200 plus takes all the prestage out of the sport!

    They run 197 at Atlanta on a 1.5 miler, Bill Elliot average 186 at Talladaga in 1987 with two caution flags! Qualified at 210 at Daytona!!!! Pole speed in 2011 at Daytona 186?
    Now thats progress!!! Just because they run over 200 in groups they probably did that before! No need to redo rules! This just turns car fans off period!!!

    No this isnt your fathers Nascar and thats the problem! Just take Richmond Speedway for instance they have “banned cigarette smoking in the main grandstand”, said it was to promote a more positive image!!! but “Crown Royal” is the race sponsor!!! Cant get much more positive than that can you????

    Again if this leadership was at the helm of Nascar at the begainning there would have never been a Nascar!!!!!!

  2. Bill B Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Great, now reality is emulating a video game.

  3. Steve Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Not to get off topic, but if the folks in the stands could go more than 10 seconds between cigarettes, there probably wouldnt be a rule against smoking in the stands, lol, but if you give people an opportunity to complain, then they are going to…. And that isnt a NASCAR thing, that is an America thing, whether you agree or not. You cant smoke in the stands at an NFL game, you cant smoke in the stands at a MLB game, etc.

    As far as the 2 car packs, I dont care if the cars are going 165, 185, or 210, it is all relative on the track (in other words, everyone is going the same speed so it doesnt matter what the actual number is). I am no physics major, but we have seen several times over the last 2 years that cars leave the ground at high speed (when they get turned out), so I cant really argue against “safety”. But I will say, if the 500 is anything like the Shootout, I am going to be very very disappointed. The two car tango is TERRIBLE! Plus, there are 43 cars on track, someone is going to be left without a partner….and Kenseth knows what that is like (lapped in 5 minutes on Sat night)

  4. Charles Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 6:17 pm


    Its a commonsense thing!!!!! I mean you go to a football game, you dont smell or breathe ‘car exhaust” that is untreated, by that I mean the races cars have no smog equipment on them!! So a little cigarette fumes should be of little importance to a Nascar fan.!

    But what is important is all the ones drinking, them selling ‘24oz’ beers, they get high, spill, bust coolers, or fight, or whats worse get on the roads after a race!

    Never in 40 years of races seen where a cigarette fan caused as much problems as a alchocol fan!!

    When RJ Reynolds sponsored and made Nascar, they would give cigarettes at a race! Now they have exchanged that for Hard Liquior! Its all about the money!

    Exchanging Winston for Crown Royal is a little hypocritical
    if you are concerned about a healthy image!

  5. sylvia richardson Says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    AMEN about smoke free. thats ABIG BS. DRUNKS ARE THE WORSE….