NASCAR »

Drivers test out Daytona's new surface

NASCAR drivers have been back in action ahead of the 2011 Sprint Cup season with a three-day testing event at the newly-resurfaced Daytona International Speedway.
Daytona's 2.5 mile track was repaved for the first time since 1978 - and for only the second time in the entire 48-year history of the circuit - after problems at last year's Daytona 500 pushed up the resurfacing schedule by a year. The three day testing event has been the first opportunity for the drivers to get accustomed to the new feel of the resurfaced Daytona International Speedway with the old bumps, dips and potholes consigned to distant memory, opening up the possibility of more bump-drafting.

The timesheets on the first day on Thursday were topped by the Toyotas of Michael Waltrip Racing driven by David Reuitmann and Martin Truex Jr. running together to set a top speed of 195.780mph, a lap time of 45.970s set during the afternoon session. Afterwards, Truex gave the circuit two thumbs-up: "It's going to be wild. It's going to be fun. I love racing here. Here and Talladega are some of the [most fun] races for us as drivers."

Brian Vickers was third-fastest on his return to NASCAR duty after taking most of 2010 off for medical reasons. His fastest time was set testing a two-car breakaway with his new Red Bull team mate Kasey Kahne, but most of the teams opted for single car runs which set slower times in the 185mph range.

The running on Friday was delayed until after midday because of rain overnight and during the morning. Denny Hamlin set the fastest time working with his team mates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, the fastest lap of 45.716s (196.868mph) beating Thursday's times and managing to just stay ahead of Tony Stewart.

Many teams opted to pack up and head home after Friday, including reigning champion Jimmie Johnson who finished Friday eighth fastest on the timesheets. That left the Saturday session to be topped by Brad Keselowski who pushed the fastest time down to 45.316s (198.605mph) ahead of his Penske team-mate Kurt Busch. Keselowski will inherit Busch's familiar blue deuce livery in 2011, with Kurt now in new sponsor Shell Pennzoil yellow.

"It's a completely new breed of racing," said Keselowski about the new Daytona surface, comparing it to a baton relay. "If you have the two fastest runners in the world and you put them in a baton relay and they can't exchange, an average Joe that can will beat them."

Along with a new-look Daytona as the first race of the 2011 season, NASCAR will see other changes including a new look to the Sprint Cup cars - a redesigned front splitter doing away with the splitter races and making the cars look a lot better as a result. "It will be less utilitarian-looking," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said last year. "It'll have a little more style in it, and I think people will like that."

The cars will also be running on the new Sunoco Green ethanol-blended E15 fuel in 2011, switching from unleaded race fuel in previous seasons. The change will mean a new sight in pit lane - new-style, self-venting dump cans with a dry-break mechanism that is proving challenging for teams to adjust to and not spill any fuel during pit stops. The change of design also means a reduction of about a half-gallon of fuel capacity, which will mean decreased mileage.

"Between the fuel burn being greater with E15 and less capacity in the fuel system, you're going to see shorter stints during the races," said Andy Graves, Toyota Racing Development's vice president of chassis engineering and Cup Series program manager. "And because of that, that changes strategy a little bit and that's a bigger impact, in my eyes - and along with the handling of the fuel - than what the engine shops have to do." He added, "At Sonoma, for example, you could always calculate that as a two-stop race, but now I'm sure it will be three."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Truex and Mark Martin lead the field away to start the 51st Daytona 500 [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and the rest of the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith prepares to stand in for Tony Stewart at short notice at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas vice-president Greg Ziparelli addresses the media at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #12 Snap-On Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burn out after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, wins the Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, drives in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #11 Joe Gibb Racing Toyota, consult in the garage area during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.