One day after a wild Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway, 18 drivers took part in a two-day Goodyear tire test Monday at Daytona International Speedway a track where speeds are near what they were at Talladega.
Only two hours before Sunday?s race, NASCAR told the drivers that the practice of bump drafting would not be allowed in the turns. The crackdown came after the spring race at Talladega that saw Carl Edwards become airborne and careen into the fence along the frontstretch, while Edwards was unhurt, eight fans were injured.
NASCAR had earlier mandated smaller restrictor plates then were used in the spring although speeds were down very little.
Despite their efforts however, Sunday?s race turned into a crash fest in the final laps.
Many have said that NASCAR?s policy of trying to slow the cars down using restrictor plates, which lower the horsepower in the engines, are to blame for the accidents that happened in the spring and on Sunday. For its part NASCAR seems to point a finger not only at high speeds but bump drafting as well.
Tuesday during a break at Daytona, 2004 series champion Kurt Busch said that perhaps the answer to solving the problems at Talladega was to learn a lesson from Daytona.
?It?s a continuing debate,? Busch said. ?We?re here at Daytona. This track has older asphalt that?s why we?re here working with the tire. This track separates what I would say the ?men versus the boys when it comes to your setup?. Talladega, anybody can get around that racetrack and the cars are very equal. Daytona is much more of a challenge it?s exciting to really race your car here because you?re sideways at 180 miles an hour and the longer you can keep your foot in the throttle the more you?re going to stretch out from the cars behind you. You can?t do that at Talladega.
?All of us can armchair quarterback what we should do,? he added. ?In my opinion what we need are different restrictor plate sizes for Talladega versus Daytona and what I mean by that is we should go faster at Talladega and create that need for the cars to slide a little bit and put a little more emphasis on set up and less on bump drafting.?
Busch also feels that when NASCAR returns to Daytona next February, the rules they had concerning bump drafting at Talladega won?t be needed.
?The bump draft is a necessary evil at Talladega,? Busch said. ?Here you don?t need it as much, you can just run single file and feel the effects of the draft. You don?t necessarily have to push the guy in front of you because the setup becomes more involved; it?s not just raw speed, so there?s always that give and take on who?s got the downforce in their car versus their setup that?s what helps the cars here separate themselves a little better is the setup.?
Sunday at Talladega two cars flipped, the Chevy?s raced by Ryan Newman and Mark Martin. According to Busch, NASCAR needs to focus on the new generation racecar that was introduced fulltime to the series in 2007.
?It?s ?careful what you ask for?? Busch said. ?We wanted bigger greenhouses to protect the drivers but ultimately all a bigger greenhouse does is create a bigger parachute for the air to grab when the car turns around in reverse that?s why the cars are lifting a little easier. Do we need better roof flap systems? That?s something we need to look at. Cars are definitely flipping over too easily.?
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