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There has never been a Daytona like there was this year. When the checkered flag fell early on Tuesday morning, it ended an endurance race for the fans and the NASCAR cup teams. From the first ever postponement of the 500 to a burning Jet dryer, this Daytona 500 was one to remember for everyone, (at that’s not even to mention, Dale Jr finished second and very well could have won.)
From this fan’s view it does look like NASCAR has managed to make the two car draft a lot less effective than it has been in recent Super Speedway races. The biggest problem seemed to be over heating in short order if they did try the two car draft and, at times, even when they were drafting in the pack. This fan wonders what kind of a problem that will be when the teams visit other tracks and Super Speedways and experience warmer temperatures than they had at Daytona.
As for the EFI addition, the jury is still out but, it did appear there were very few problems with it. One noticeable problem was fluctuating fuel pressures and it did affect more than one car. It does appear the problem is somewhat related to the fuel pickups in the fuel cells but more input is needed from different tracks before it should be considered a major issue, at least from my view.
As expected the Fords were fast and Matt Kenseth put his racing prowess and the horsepower under the hood to use to take the victory over Dale Jr and Greg Biffle out of the final turn. It does appear, at least for the time being, that one car is as fast (or maybe a little faster) than two when it comes to those final dashes for the flag. Side drafting works again and timing is everything in the last 1000 feet or so to the finish line. That was one thing that was evident, at least to this fan, in all of the Cup races this last weekend.
Danica Patrick had a rough start to her Speed Weeks and entry into the NASCAR circuit full time. Some said she was in over her head and others said she shouldn’t be there. I, however, disagree with the negativity she may have endured during Speed Weeks. From this fan’s view, her accidents had very little (or absolutely nothing) to do with her actions on the track. Her accidents were caused by others she was racing with and she suffered the crashes much as Jimmie Johnson did with a little help from Elliott Sadler in the first two laps of the 500 Monday night. There was nothing he could do and there was nothing she could do after the contact. Both of them were, “along for the ride,” and Danica more than once over the last weekend.
In this fan’s opinion, Danica is a good racer and a grand addition to both the Nationwide and Cup series and just a good addition to the overall picture of NASCAR. How she will do remains to be seen but it is this fan’s opinion she will do well. The more seat time she gets, the better she will do and let’s not forget, when it came to finishing the Daytona 500, hardly anyone believed she would finish ahead of four time Champion, Jeff Gordon or five time Champion, Jimmie Johnson, but she did. Yeah, I know Jeff’s engine blew near the halfway point of the race and Jimmie’s car was pretty much destroyed in the accident that took him out on lap two, but Danica was also caught up in Johnson’s accident. After her team put her car back in race-able shape, she ran well the rest of the night in “the pack” and finished 38th.
Well, as I said in the earlier article for Daytona, it was unpredictable. I don’t think anyone expected the postponement for rain and I know no one expected one of the Jet Dryers to be caught up in a collision with one of the Cup cars, burst into flames and delay the running of the last forty laps for two hours. All in all, Daytona didn’t disappoint this fan and, from the looks of the fan-filled stands on Monday evening, Daytona will always be Daytona.
As we look forward to this coming weekend in Phoenix, two things I’ll be looking forward to finding out. First – Will the EFI have any different effect on the competition than it did in Daytona? Second – Will the new racing surface have aged enough to cause any drastic difference in what the teams experienced on their last visit there?
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 01, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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