Posted By Pete Pistone
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After a hectic few days and the start of "Speedweeks 2011," Daytona International Speedway is dark for the next couple of days.
On track activities don't start back up again until Wednesday with a full day of practice set for the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series teams.
Wednesday will be the first day to see if NASCAR's rule changes will have any impact on the Sprint Cup teams in the quest to break up the two-car drafting tandems that were so prominent in last Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout. The sanctioning body's attempt to tinker with the cooling systems in an effort to stop drivers from drafting together for extended periods is still being digested by crew chiefs and team engineers.
Drivers seemed to be okay with the idea once word spread after Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session but how much the changes will actually impact the proceedings is still a great unknown.
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton told reporters on Sunday when the new procedures were unveiled that the sanctioning body will monitor things very closely and is prepared to make more modifications if necessary. Speeds in excess of 206 mph is way out of NASCAR's comfort zone and the possibility of introducing a smaller restrictor plate before next week's Daytona 500 remains very real.
Monday will be spent catching our collective breaths and taking in some of the sights and sounds of Daytona. Today after co-hosting "The Morning Drive" on Sirius NASCAR Radio, I'll be heading over to Halifax Memorial Hospital for a visit to the "Speediatrics" care center and a chance to say hello to children who are battling the challenges of a variety of illnesses. Several other NASCAR-related personalities including media people, drivers and crew members are also scheduled to visit the facility.
We'll keep you updated if news breaks or any more reaction comes from the controversial rules changes.