In The Tracks...
Daytona 500:
Wednesday Notes from Daytona
February 16, 2011

After two quiet days at Daytona the action heated up on Wednesday as the Cup cars prepared for Thursday's Duels and the N''wide cars and Truck Series also took to the track to prepare for their season openers this weekend.

Junior Heads to the Back

In the first practice session, Junior hooked up with his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, and then Martin Truex Jr. and one of the Red Bull Toyotas pulled up behind Junior and they were making their way off turn four when they caught a pack down low that seemed to be moving up the track and Junior said it was getting tight and he lifted off the gas and Truex got into the back of him and they both spun to the inside wall. Both Junior and Truex will go to back up cars for their Duel races and since Junior was qualified for the pole of the Daytona 500 with that car, he will have to start at the back for the 500 on Sunday no matter where he finished on Thursday. Truex on the other hand, will be able to start the 500 based upon where he finishes the Duel race.

206 Is Too Fast; NASCAR Slows Them Down

Following the 206 MPH speeds on Saturday in the Bud Shootout, NASCAR took the two quiet days on Monday and Tuesday to decide just how to slow the cars back down below the 200 MPH barrier. They came up with two ideas to slow the cars down and try to create better racing.

The first step was too enhance the cooling changes they mandated following the Bud Shootout practice that didn't have much of an effect for the Bud Shootout. So, NASCAR took it a step farther by closing up some more of the air openings in the grill that would cool the engines. The purpose of this is to force the teams to not be able to lock bumpers together for long periods of time to create the two car drafts around the track. The back car of the two would get too hot to stay in behind the lead car and would be forced to break up the two car draft.

Then there is their old standby measure to slow the cars down a bit and that is to decrease the holes on the restrictor plates to reduce the amount of air that can get through the carburetor and mix with the fuel to create more horsepower. Today, NASCAR announced that the plates would have 57/64ths holes in them, which is a 1/64th smaller than used in the Bud Shootout.

Wednesday Top 20 Practice Speeds

The changes helped slow them a little bit as only 4 cars topped the 200 MPH barrier in practice on Wednesday.

Pos Driver Car Make Sponsor Speed Time
1 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota M&M's 200.254 44.943
2 Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M 200.249 44.944
3 Kasey Kahne 4 Toyota Red Bull 200.067 44.985
4 Joey Logano 20 Toyota The Home Depot 200.062 44.986
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88 Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 199.526 45.107
6 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 199.517 45.109
7 Juan Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 199.411 45.133
8 Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 199.411 45.133
9 A.J. Allmendinger 43 Ford Best Buy 199.119 45.199
10 Mark Martin 5 Chevrolet 199.119 45.199
11 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Budweiser 198.974 45.232
12 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Peak / Menards 198.974 45.232
13 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 198.746 45.284
14 David Ragan 6 Ford UPS 198.741 45.285
15 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet U.S. Army 198.676 45.300
16 Kurt Busch 22 Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 198.658 45.304
17 Matt Kenseth 17 Ford Crown Royal Black 198.430 45.356
18 Brian Vickers 83 Toyota Red Bull 197.941 45.468
19 Martin Truex Jr. 56 Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 197.933 45.470
20 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Express 197.555 45.557

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