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Daytona 500 to be a Demolition Derby?
Dale Jr. caused a big wreck in testing
Getty Images for NASCAR
Huge 25-car pileups, such as the one on the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway last October, might be a thing of the past with the new 2013 Sprint Cup car.

That’s because if they remain unstable, there won’t be enough cars left to have a last-lap wreck.

What we learned after three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway:

New car unstable in draft
The cars are unstable, and anyone who tested at Talladega last October knew that.

What happened in the test session Friday shouldn’t have been a surprise as the curved front bumpers make it much more difficult to push-draft. Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned Marcos Ambrose to start a 12-car crash on Day 2 of the test.

Jeff Burton knew it would happen. That’s why he didn’t participate in the 20-car drafting session. He knew that with the bumpers not aligning well and the tiny 53-inch-wide rear spoiler that the cars would be unstable if they got a push.

“There will be wrecks in the Daytona 500,” Burton said. “I guarantee you that. And I guarantee in the last 100 miles there will be more than in the first 400. The question is how bad are the cars going to handle? That’s just something we don’t know yet.

“Right now, they’re going to handle bad.”

Ford teams not so happy
If there was an organization that appeared behind the other manufacturers, it was Ford.

No more than two Fords were in the top 10 of single-car speeds in any of the first five sessions during the test. Biffle eventually posted the top speed at 194.936 mph but that was late in the weekend when most of the teams already had stopped testing.

With no tech and different agendas for different teams, not too much should be put into the speeds. But those who don’t appear as strong left scratching their heads.

“You can only guess what people are doing for tape and spoilers and how legal they are,” said Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates. “Are we a tenth (of a second) off? Two-tenths? Three-tenths? … We’ve always wanted to come down here and have good single-car speed.

“It’s a pretty good indicator. All we can do is go back and work on our program.”  More at Sporting News

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