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Motorsports 101 Debate: What is the Most Interesting Thing to Look for During Preseason Thunder Testing at Daytona?

January 9th, 2013 at 10:00 AM
By Mark Eddinger

There are 35 team and driver combinations set to open the 2013 season with the annual Preseason Thunder testing session at Daytona International Speedway. The three-day test session will take place from Thursday, January 10th through Saturday, January 12th with both morning and afternoon sessions each day. Motorsports 101 debates what the most interesting thing to look for in testing will be.

The Unknown of the Rear Spoiler – By Clayton Caldwell
There will be a lot of changes when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the track at Daytona International Speedway for the 2013 version of Preseason Thunder. The new car adds a whole new element for sure. The front bumper and rear bumper will not line up for the first time since the 2007 season.
While the new car is part of the thing I am looking forward to the most in the 2013 season, it’s not the front bumper I am going to pay the most attention to come testing time on Thursday. I am going to pay attention to the rear spoiler which is now four inches high on the racecar. Dale Earnhardt Jr said after the Charlotte test back in December that it was really hard to see out of the back end of the racecar and it reminded him a lot of how the COT was with the wing on them.
'P8157110' photo (c) 2009, Sheri Vegas - license:

If that’s the case a whole new element is added in itself. If these cars do not push draft, like the COT use to do, then it will be interesting to see how the cars and drivers react to the different circumstances.
I can’t imagine it being easy to stay in line with someone in a draft without looking out the back window. If you don’t anticipate a bump draft, who knows what will go on. If a driver thinks he or she is clear of another car and they are not, it’s going to cause a big mess.
We will see if drivers are more cautious with the big spoiler and how that will affect the racing. Will they push the limit at all or will they make sure they are clear before making a daring move. Will we even see hard racing and drafting in the test or won’t we know the affect it will have on the car until the drivers are all out at the Daytona 500.
The spoiler to me is a big deal with this new car and it will be interesting to keep an eye on during the test. If it poses a problem, we could see NASCAR trim that spoiler down a little bit and if that’s the case that will affect the racing for the 500 and affect how the teams will set up their cars for the big dance. That’s why I think the spoiler is something to keep a major eye on during Preseason Thunder at Daytona.
Which Team Can Gain the Biggest Advantage with the Gen-6 Car – By Mark Eddinger
Preseason Thunder is a big deal like always because Sprint Cup Series teams will have a chance to fine tune on their cars in preparation for the season opening Daytona 500. But this season it might be more important than ever with the introduction of the Gen-6 cars.
'IMG_2428' photo (c) 2012, Parker Anderson - license:
The most important thing to come out of Preseason Thunder will be which team and driver can learn the most about the new car. Not only what will help them in the upcoming Daytona 500 but what will also serve the team well at all the tracks on the schedule.
Whether that type of information can be learned at a test on a restrictor plate track is something that is an unknown but any advantage that a team can pick up during this three-day test will certainly help them in this 2013 season.
There are 35 different teams and 18 different organizations scheduled to be at Preseason Thunder and every single team will be gunning to come out with information that will make them a contender to win the biggest race of the season and then catapult that into a great 2013 season. 
The race organization or single race team that learns the most and can grasp the Gen-6 car the fastest will have a distinct advantage early on in the season. Teams that can’t find the handling and struggle will fall behind on the learning curve and that could spell for a disastrous 2013 season as a whole.
This is why the 2013 Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona could be the most important session ever.
Tags: Clayton Caldwell, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daytona International Speedway, Mark Eddinger, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, restrictor plate

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