Blog Entry

Drivers anxious, but don't see delay as big deal

Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:37 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 6:44 pm
 
Posted by Brian De Los Santos


It was a soggy day at Daytona International Speedway. (Getty Images)

NASCAR wanted desperately to be able to run the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but the weather would not cooperate, forcing the first postponement in the race's history. Drivers and crew chiefs were in some disagreement about how much the rain will ultimately impact the race when it does get under way.

On postponement

Carl Edwards: “Well, this is one of the toughest things for us drivers and you guys are living it as well. You planned on getting this race in and writing the stories and covering the event. When you put that off for another day, for all of us it is now who can really stay focused. That is not just the drivers; it is the pit crews, crew chiefs and everyone, including the officials. I think we will be just fine. Someone told me this was the first time it was postponed. A couple years ago I remember it was late or something. I think that is a pretty good record for NASCAR. They have been living right to have 53 of these and never have one of them postponed. That is pretty spectacular. We will come race tomorrow and I think everyone is really excited about this race. All the drivers I have spoken with and all the fans. This is going to be a very good Daytona 500 and I think NASCAR is doing the right thing in not dragging this out. Everybody knows we will be racing tomorrow during the day, it will be a good event and hopefully the weather will hold off and we aren’t in the same position tomorrow.”

Greg Biffle: "I just tweeted that I guess I’m gonna have to win the first Monday Daytona 500. As you can tell, I’m still in my uniform because I was optimistic that this weather was gonna get out of here and we were gonna get this thing going, but I’ll just have to save my energy for tomorrow. I got all of the hard work done today. I did all the hospitality and that stuff, so I’m ready to go. I just can’t wait. I guess I’ll have to wait until 12 o’clock tomorrow and take that green flag. I’m just excited. I’m still on the front row. Hopefully, the weather is better tomorrow. I know a lot of race fans are disappointed and a lot of people at home on TV, but we just hope they tune in tomorrow. It’ll be a great race.”

Dave Rogers (Kyle Busch's crew chief): "This has proved to be a historic event -- 54 years and the first time the Daytona 500 has ever been rained out. Everyone wishes we could have raced today. It's an exciting day to be down here in Daytona. The first race of the year and we were real excited to get on the race track and see how strong our Toyota Camry is -- obviously want to duplicate our performance from the Shootout last Saturday, but we're going to have to wait another day. Tomorrow's looking pretty bad too -- 80 percent chance of thunderstorms and then as a race team you start to think about the logistics. Phoenix is next week -- it's a long trip for these transport drivers. If it gets delayed too long, it could have consequences that bleed over into next week's event. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate and we'll get the Daytona 500 in tomorrow afternoon."


How will the rain effect the track?

Carl Edwards: “The only thing is that the rain will make the track a little more abrasive to start. I think NASCAR will have a competition caution and we will get to look at the tires. We didn’t see any trouble in the Gatorade race, the shootout, that is something you worry about at these places because of the speeds. If you get the camber wrong, we have had trouble at these places because too much camber heats up that outside edge of the tire sometimes even on the straightaway. I don’t think anyone will have an issue though.”

Greg Biffle: “I think this race track, because of the grip and the downforce the race cars have, I think that you won’t see a big difference with the track rubbering up. The speeds will be a little bit faster because the track will be green, but I think for that first run the track is gonna get some rubber on it. NASCAR will probably do a competition caution just to make sure that everything is going OK – probably lap 30 or 25 – so I think it’ll be OK. It’ll just be fast at 12 when we start, but then it’ll be the same game after the first pit stop.”

Joey Logano: "It's not going to change the track that much. It's not a big handling race track, so it shouldn't change much. Just another day to be thinking about it -- another day to be getting ready. Go to sleep and go at it again tomorrow at noon."

Dave Rogers (Kyle Busch's crew chief): "It certainly will, but this track still has a lot of grip in it. The pavement is still fresh. I would be more concerned at other tracks than I am here at Daytona. There's definitely some things you have to think about. You can't really do anything about it, but the cooling. We were all excited to race on a cooler day -- low 60s. That means we can get a little more aggressive,we can push on people a little bit more and not have to worry about that water temp as much. If we end up racing in 70, 75, 80 degree weather then obviously the drivers aren't going to be able to push as hard and you're going to have some affects there. The weather is definitely going to affect the way the race plays out, but at this point, as a crew chief there's not much you can do because you can't work on the cars at all. We just have to stay here and play it out."

Jason Ratcliff (Joey Logano's crew chief): "It does a little bit. Obviously, with the new surface -- the tire is pretty durable here. Goodyear brought a tire that's really durable because the surface is so new. I don't think it's going to show up as much as maybe another race track that had an older, abrasive surface. It's going to be much cooler outside -- the track is going to be green. It could change dramatically until we get some rubber back on the track. Then as the temperatures start dropping, we may see something that is more similar to what we saw in the Shootout than what we saw in the 150s."

Brian Pattie (Clint Bowyer's crew chief): "I don't know that it changes much here. If we were at an intermediate track, it would probably change the setup somewhat, but we're so wide open here. It actually gains grip, so it wouldn't be a bad thing for us. Definitely cooler weather would help our Toyota run better, I think. I don't know if I would change anything."

Daytona Speedweeks



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