Rewind: The debut of the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet produced a 6th place finish. Jeff Gordon fell to the back and drafted with Clint Bowyer late in the first 20-lap segment to finish 9th. His best lap in the first segment was over 202 miles per hour. Depsite the speed, the small two car drafts reduced the possibility of a “big one” eliminating several cars. In the second segment, Gordon worked almost exclusively with Kevin Harvick. He led 1 lap as he was pushed to the lead and then fell seconds behind. In the closing laps, his pairing was distantly behind the front two pairings. The finish was Gordon’s fourth consecutive top-6 finish in the Shootout.
Road ahead: The new pavement ushered in a different style of racing. The large 30-car drafting packs are gone. There will be little 3-wide racing in the Daytona 500. Instead, the two-car breakaways have now become standard operating procedure. The key will be running in the two-car draft without having the oil temperature spike too high. The closing rate of two cars working together will be the difference in the Daytona 500. As witnessed in the Shootout, two cars closing on the lead pack have a distinct advantage. The goal is to lead a two-car draft running in 3rd entering the final corner of the Daytona 500. And then find a way around the leader without causing chaos.
JG’s comments: On paired racing “It’s interesting. It has its own excitement and interest that’s all new that all of us are trying to get adjusted to. But it’s wild out there; it really is. It’s a lot harder than it looks and it’s just trying to get the right guy to either push or push you. Right there at the end we had the right guy I thought, but he kept hitting the rev-limiter and every time he did he fell off me do I just having to back up to him and back up to him. We just couldn’t go anywhere. But we had a good, fast race car so I was excited about that.”
It seems like this is a whole new learning process “Oh, yeah; for everybody (including) the fans, for NASCAR, for us, it’s pretty crazy.”
In Car Audio
In car audio without spotter chatter
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In car audio with spotter chatter
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