New Ford may cause crashfest in Daytona
A major league crash-fest appears to be shaping up for Friday night's Nationwide 250, drivers and crew chiefs worry, after first rounds of practice.
The new Nationwide cars have very little downforce, they complain.
"This is a very tough place to bring out a new race car," Greg Biffle says. "I love driving Nationwide races, but I'm glad I'm sitting this one out.
"This track is really slick and hot in July, and even the Cup cars are a stinking handful. I've raced some Nationwide races here in the summer, and this is by far the toughest track for that. Remember when Dale Earnhardt Jr. even ran away from the field? We never seen that in plate races..."
A number of Cup stars are running in the 250, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Reed Sorenson, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.
Bowyer says the new Nationwide car "just seems light...all the way around. They are a handful.
"It's like what we fought the first time we had to run the Cup car-of-tomorrow. It will take us a while to figure this new car out."
The new Nationwide car uses the Cup COT chassis but with much different body work.
It is the body that has hurt the aerodynamics. Teams say they have complained to NASCAR about the lack of downforce but to no effect.
But it was another, even more serious issue that was the talk of the Nationwide garage Friday – Mark Green's car lost six heavy lead bars of ballast at a 180 mph, and that lead smashed into Steven Wallace's car.
At least one of those lead bars crashed through the nose of Wallace's car and actually ripped apart some of the heavy steel rollbars. Another bar bounced off the top of the windshield, narrowly missing slicing through the windshield right at the driver's head.
"That boy was awfully lucky," Rusty Wallace, Steven's father, said. "That could have killed him." MikeMulhern.net