Gen-6 Cars Disappoint At Daytona 500 As Drivers Find Passing Difficult
While the ending of the Daytona 500 yesterday might have earned “rave reviews, the first 450 miles consisted primarily of a long parade of monotonous single-file runs,” according to Cary Estes of SI.com. Several drivers had “warned after the drab qualifying races on Thursday that it looked like it was going to be extremely difficult to make passes in the new Gen-6 car.” There had been “optimism that the new car actually would improve the quality of racing, which had deteriorated in recent years under the old car design.” Driver Kasey Kahne yesterday “admitted that his initial expectations” for the new car after a test session “turned out to be incorrect.” Kahne said, "When we did that test, it just seemed like you could get some really good runs. I thought the runs would get better once we got in a big pack (of cars), but they actually got worse. It's different than I thought it would be." Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. “put the blame not on the new car but on Daytona's new surface.” Estes noted the track was “repaved less than three years ago, and the fresh asphalt provides plenty of grip for the tires.” That makes it “harder to pass because the cars are all running at almost identical speeds” (SI.com, 2/24). In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski writes under the header, “A Dull Day At Daytona In Follow-The-Leader 500.” The Gen-6 cars “supposedly look just like the Fords, Chevys and Toyotas for which they are named.” Based on yesterday’s “single-file racing and limited passing, they must drive like them, too” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/25). In K.C., Randy Covitz writes a “truer test” of the car “will come next week on the one-mile track at Phoenix” in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 (K.C. STAR, 2/25).
CELL TRAFFIC: In Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote NASCAR has "for the first time" allowed cell carriers other than Sprint "to boost their respective signals at race tracks as long as they did not engage in any marketing.” Sprint’s sponsorship of the Sprint Cup Series “allowed it be the only carrier to boost its signal at the track,” but “that has now changed.” NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Steve Phelps said, “Sprint understands our desire to enhance the at-track connectivity for all our fans.” Utter noted all NASCAR tracks “will now be able to offer Wi-Fi to all fans in attendance and can offer other cell carriers the option to provide the necessary equipment to boost their signal on property” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 2/23).
FRIENDLY CHAT: USA TODAY’s Nate Ryan reported NASCAR execs on Friday met with driver Brad Keselowski after he "outlined the challenges facing the sport in a USA TODAY Sports cover story" published that morning. NASCAR VP & Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said that Keselowski "wasn't penalized nor faced further punishment." He added that the meeting "wasn't directly a result of the USA TODAY Sports story, but it was discussed." The Penske Racing driver "met separately for 30 minutes" with NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France and ISC Vice Chair & CEO Lesa France Kennedy (USATODAY.com, 2/23). In Jacksonville, Don Coble noted Keselowski used his Twitter account “to play down his meeting with two of the most powerful people in NASCAR.” Keselowski wrote, “Spent some time with Lesa and Brian from the NASCAR team after yesterday’s article, the passion we all share for our sport is amazing!” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 2/24).