Are you guys ready for the 2011 Daytona 500? I hope so because this year it’s going to be unlike every other time you’ve watched it! Recently, the high-banked, 2.5 mile superspeedway, home to the Daytona 500 and Speedweeks, was first repaved since 1979. Last Wednesday and Thursday, multiple drivers, including Mark Martin, Trevor Bayne, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, tested in new cars and engines (ones for next year) or in cars and engines from last year and tested the new Goodyear tires.
As for the racing, it’s definitely going to be very different from what we’re used to. Remember the horrible pothole that from last year’s Daytona 500? Yeah, it’s gone! The infamous bumps in Turns Two and Four? Gone! Pit Road? Made wider for amplified safety for the drivers and crew members. You know what that means? Higher speeds, crazier racing, outrageously close finishes, 43 cars running three wide in tighter packs, and out of this world wrecks! With all this newfound excitement for us about Daytona, it has one drawback for the drivers and spotters, it will definitely be harder.
The new tires? Pretty much everyone loved them! Mark Martin exaggerated by saying how he thought they would last the whole 500 miles, Jamie McMurray explained how the amount of steering they had to do six months ago is about half now because the car has a lot of grip. Does this mean we’re going to see less blown tires and fewer tire only pit stops? I guess we have to wait and see!
I wanted to leave with a quote from the Wood Brothers Racing page on Facebook, “The tire test in Daytona went very well! The speedway did an awesome job with the new pavement and the team learned a lot of useful information for Feb!” I guess this means we should be excited for what’s to come.