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A Glimpse at What is to Come at Daytona was Provided on Friday by the Generation-6 Cars

January 13th, 2013 at 7:05 PM
By Mark Eddinger

NASCAR seemed to be pleased coming out of the three-day Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. For NASCAR it was the first time that the new Generation-6 cars were on the restrictor plate track.

“We think we’re in a good spot,” said NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton. “The speeds are slightly higher with single cars and slightly down for the pack. We feel like we’re in a way better place than we were a year ago. We’re in the ballpark. We know the teams will go back and bring a little better this and a little better that. We feel comfortable with that. The speeds will fluctuate a lot. But we’re right in the ballpark. We don’t foresee any changes.”
 
'Kenseth Wins 500' photo (c) 2012, U.S. Army - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
 
So with that in mind we now know what to expect when the Sprint Cup Series returns for Speedweeks leading up to the running of the Daytona 500. Top speeds with single car runs were in the high 194 mph range with Greg Biffle turning the fastest lap and in the short drafting time that occurred during the 21 hours of testing the top drafting speeds hit the 199 mph mark.

It looks as if the two-car tandem drafting style that has been common the past few seasons will be gone. Back will be the pack drafting. As evidenced by the 12-car crash on the back straightaway on Friday which was triggered when Dale Earnhardt Jr got into the back of Marcos Ambrose it looks like it will be hard for cars to bump draft at all.
 
Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said that he doesn't blame Earnhardt for the wreck and knew that someone was going to have to be the one who made the first mistake in the Gen-6 car so that drivers can learn what they can and cannot do. He also said that he can't speak badly of Earnhardt because he himself could be the next one to make a mistake that causes the big one.
 
What was learned and what seems imminent at Speedweeks and then in the Daytona 500 is that there could be a lot of carnage. Drivers will still want to push the envelope with bump drafting especially when it comes to winning time in a race. With the unknowns of drafting in the Gen-6 car mistakes will be made and crashes will happen.
 
It could be a wild and wacky Speedweeks unless the drivers all decide to take it easy which could end up making for a boring Speedweeks. Only time will tell but if the short time that the drivers drafted during Preseason Thunder is any indication to things to come a lot of teams will leave Daytona with wrecked racecars while they try to end up like Matt Kenseth pictured above winning the 2012 Daytona 500.
Tags: Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daytona International Speedway, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose, Motorsports, NASCAR, robin pemberton, Sprint Cup Series

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