Quiet day of testing at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR officials declared Day 1 of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway uneventful, which they translate to successful.
"It's about as perfect as it gets," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said on Thursday after the first of the three-day test of the new "Gen 6'' car. "It was uneventful because we weren't running around pulling our hair out."
NASCAR, manufacturers and teams spent almost two years preparing the car for the 2013 season so there wouldn't be issues as there was with the previous car when it was unveiled in 2007.
Darby said there is not "another racing series that could do what these guys did."
Matt Kenseth, moving from Roush Fenway Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing, had the fastest lap (192.757 mph) of the morning session in his new ride. Teammate Denny Hamlin had the fastest lap (195.712 mph) in the afternoon when he, Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Mark Martin teamed for the largest multi-car pack.
Hamlin said the aerodynamics and overall nature of the new car likely will do away with tandem racing that NASCAR attempted to eliminate a year ago.
"We just were not able to keep together for one solid lap," said Hamlin, who will miss the next two days of testing to be in Charlotte for the expected birth of his first child. "I think it's just the way these bodies are with the aero platform and everything. It's just going to lend itself more to the pack racing.
"It seems like the second car is getting just as much air thrown on the nose as what the front car is, so it's harder to suck up to the front car, which in turn will make for better pack racing versus two-car tandem."
NASCAR plans to encourage more drivers, hopefully up to a dozen, to get in packs on Friday to give officials a better idea of where they stand.
Darby said the size of the restrictor plate hole could be adjusted by maybe one size before the February Daytona 500 to give cars more speed.
Danica Patrick, who will run her first full Cup season this year, was third fastest in the morning session and seventh in the afternoon.
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