Daytona 500

February 12, 2011 by staff 

Daytona 500, (AP) – The recently refurbished area at Daytona International Speedway is fast. Very fast. Maybe too fast. In the most significant test on the 2 ½-mile superspeedways, cars top 203 mph Friday during practice for the Budweiser Shootout. Joey Logano turned his fastest lap with an average speed of 203,087 mph in the second of two test sessions. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch has exceeded 203 mph. Several others followed closely. In all, 10 cars hit 200 mph. Four others were in the range of 199 mph, creating some concern on the track’s most famous NASCAR.

“The conditions are great, four-time champion Jeff Gordon NASCAR said.” It’s really good; it has a lot of grip. Fast. ”

But will the sport’s governing body to allow these speeds to last? Two-time champion of the Daytona 500 Bill Elliott exceeded 210 mph during qualifying for the Daytona 500 in 1987, and NASCAR responded by introducing horse-sapping restrictor plates next year.

“I do not think the plate will shift gears a lot,” Gordon said. “We are locking and that is making it faster. I’m curious to see if they do something. ”

NASCAR already reduced the size of the restrictor plate Daytona after a tire test in December. The speed was then 197.5 mph.

Another adjustment could be on tap.

Yes it’s cool but no way it will last, “driver Brad Keselowski posted on Twitter.

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said officials would monitor the speed during Daytona 500 practice on Saturday “and see how things settle out.”

The 24 cars entered in the race Saturday night’s exhibition was in practice rounds. But instead of the pack of three races across many expect when the green flag drops, drivers connected in bumper-to-bumper, training in tandem and wrote their way around the track’s most famous NASCAR.

Projects of two cars were faster than anything seen at Daytona in years.

“The game has changed, man,” said Gordon. “We just figured it out. Everybody’s figured out how to shut himself behind the other guys. Once you get there, and you hit it and hit it away. Now we have achieved, we’ve figured out how to hold the brake and bring the car there. Once you get in, they’re just hooked.

“You did not think you could drive around this track, and you certainly could not before, but with the new pavement and as smooth and as much grip as he was, now you can.”

Daytona has recently completed his second rehabilitation project, the first since 1979. Notorious bumps in turns two and four have gone, as is the pothole misleading who suffer from stroke last February. Pit road is wider for added security. The result is a smooth track that leads to fewer tires makes handling almost a non-issue and creates fast laps.

The Shootout could be a wild, 75-laps event.

“Who knows how this will work?” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

Drivers with teammates on the field should have an advantage, especially if the race ends up being decided by two cars connections.

“Everyone who tries to push, push, when and how long to push,” said Busch.

The speeds are not only eye opener Friday. The lights on the backstretch was released during the second practice session, with several cars racing through the dark at over 200 mph. Track officials quickly ended the session, parked the car and got the problem solved.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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