The single-file racing in the outside lane that has led many to describe the action at Daytona speedweeks in 2019 as dull or boring will not be seen in Sunday’s Daytona 500 … if NASCAR chairman Jim France has his way.
Speaking at the driver’s meeting a couple hours prior to the start of the 2019 Daytona 500, France reportedly told the competitors, “I hope some of you drivers get down on the bottom with Denny (Hamlin) and Chase (Elliott) and make a show out there.”
France referenced Hamlin and Elliott because those two drivers have shown an aggressiveness in trying to make the bottom lane work during pack runs in last Sunday’s Clash and Thursday’s Gander RV Duel races.
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In the three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races over the past week at Daytona — last Sunday’s Clash and Thursday’s two Duel races — drivers have floated their cars to the preferred, outside lane at the drop of just about every green flag. The drafting aerodynamics appear to work better for the cars closer to the wall, though drivers have failed to provide an explanation as to why.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 will be the last NASCAR Cup Series race in which cars will be equipped with restrictor plates. Moving forward, NASCAR will use only a tapered spacer to manage speed at superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega.)
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Saturday’s Xfinity Series race was described by many as a snoozer simply because this single-file style of racing prevailed as the preference for almost all of the event. Friday night’s Truck Series race, however, was action-packed with two- and three-wide racing from green to checkered. (Which is part of the reason the race set a record for cautions and only a handful of trucks actually finished.)
France evidently shares the concern that Sunday’s Daytona 500, the premier race not only of the weekend, but of the Cup Series schedule, could feature the single-file, racing in the outside lane.
France took over for his nephew Brian France as NASCAR chairman in August after the latter was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to NBC Sports, Jim France has yet to speak with media since he took the job.
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