Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series does not officially begin until February, we NASCAR race fans are getting treated to three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway. Testing began on Thursday and will continue on Friday and Saturday.
Many changes have been put into place this year, not only for the restrictor-plate races, but now NASCAR has introduced fuel injection. Fans complained about the drivers racing two by two, instead of in big packs at Daytona and Talladega. So NASCAR has implemented several changes to keep them from driving 2×2. There will be softer springs, a smaller spoiler and a reduction in downforce. If the drivers choose to race two by two, they will not be able to do so for very long, or the engine will heat up.
The drivers are now limited to crew members to talk to on their radios. They will no longer be able to talk to team members or other drivers. This will keep them from pairing up because they will not be able to tell each other what they are doing. At Talladega, a big deal was made when Trevor Bayne agreed to pair up with Jeff Gordon and then dropped him to pair up with fellow Ford driver. If they do pair up, they will have to resort to hand signals to show their intentions.
Personally, I liked the pairing up. There were record number of lead changes using this method. And some great finishes. The fans are used to pack racing. Three wide, ten deep. Only they were limited to staying in line. Changing lanes was almost impossible as they were too close to each other to move out of line. Pairing up gave them the space to move forward. There were still three wide racing, but only two deep. Pack racing begged for “the Big One”. If one driver makes a mistake or tries for a spot that isn’t there many, many cars were involved in that mistake. Two by two racing generally involved only the two cars without involving the whole field. I like watching racing, not crashing. Perhaps tandem racing is not “edge of your seat” racing, but I find it just as exciting watching them go so fast past other pairs.
In the first test session on Thursday, Jeff Gordon was the fastest. Paul Menard and Kurt Busch also posted speeds over 192 mph. In the second test of the day, team mates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano paired up to go over 202 mph, as did team mates Brad Keselowski and A. J. Allmendinger. Apparently they drive faster while paired up.
All for now. Next test sessions are on Friday, beginning at 1 PM Eastern. You can watch the testing on SPEEDTV. But be aware, they are mostly test cars on the track and not the colorful cars we race fans are used to on race day. And the announcers are always explaining something. So you are limited on what you get to see in testing. But you get to have your “NASCAR fix”.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.