NASCAR starts the 2012 season with three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway this week. NASCAR has provided this preseason test session to allow this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Teams the opportunity to see how the new rules package that will be run for the 54th annual Daytona 500 will affect their cars. NASCAR gathered information from all of the restrictor plate races from last year as well as some other testing and came up with this year's Daytona rules package.
This year rules package will consist of a smaller cooling system, a smaller rear spoiler, rear spring rate reduction (softer springs), and a 1/64th inch larger restrictor plate than what was used last year. NASCAR has made these changes thinking that it will reduce the amount of two car drafting that all of the superspeedway tracks were plagued with last year that had the majority of NASCAR fans voicing their displeasure for the racing.
More than likely we will see faster speeds out of all of the cars once they get hooked up in a draft, not only because of the larger restrictor plate but because the rear of the car will be sprung softer and allow for the down force that these cars create to push it further down into the ground and get the rear spoiler out of the air. One vice to that is the reduction of size of the rear spoiler. This size reduction should also add some instability into the fragile equation.
From the first day of testing today at Daytona we saw that the package is working in some aspects and maybe not working in others. Kyle Busch and Joey Lagano hooked up for a fast lap of 202.402 mph. Cars were hooked up in two car drafts but could only stay together for a few seconds before the trail car would start to overheat.
Depending on what the teams and NASCAR do from now until February 26th the 54th Annual Daytona 500 has the potential to be a very chaotic race. The drivers are still going to draft, cars are going to overheat quicker, drivers are going to make more passes to keep their cars cool and the added instability of a smaller spoiler and the ban of communication between drivers on the track should make all of that passing a handful for even the best in the world to handle.
202.402 mph (44.466 sec)
|2||Joey Lagano||202.388 mph (44.469 sec)||3||Brad Keselowski||202.224 mph (44.505 sec)||4||A.J. Allmendinger||202.220 mph (44.506 sec)||5||Dale Earnhardt JR||200.920 mph (44.794 sec)|
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