Nationwide Series testing wraps at Daytona
January 12, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing wrapped up 90 minutes early for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Sunday, closing the two-day session.
Most teams had loaded up by mid-afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, partly driven by having collected a sufficient amount of data and perhaps mostly motivated by avoiding the risk of a crash in the multiple drafting sessions that sprung up throughout the day. JR Motorsports and some of the Turner Scott Motorsports team shut down after the hour long lunch break, and Richard Childress Racing and others soon followed suit.
Even before the final day of testing trickled to an end, NASCAR officials said they were satisfied with the progress teams had made after adjusting to minimal rules changes.
"What we've heard so far, haven't seen anybody give me a thumbs down," said Wayne Auton, NASCAR Nationwide Series director. "It's always been a thumbs up so far. They like the feel of the car."
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton agreed, saying it was encouraging to see the multicar packs form early on Sunday.
"It was good to see everybody get out there and get right to the drafting part of it," Pemberton said. "I think guys are pretty anxious to see how their cars react with the cooling systems and the spoiler changes. I'm really pleased with the test. I mean, I think everybody has done a nice job. Our conversations that we've had with the drivers the other morning and Wayne working through the garage area, getting good feedback, it looks like a good effort on everybody's part to do all the right things out there. It looked really nice."
NASCAR Next member Dylan Kwasniewski sat atop the Day 2 speed chart with a lap at 190.022 mph in the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet. The 18-year-old champion of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2013 (he also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title in 2012) mixed it up in the draft for the first time at Daytona; content with the test results, the team pushed its Camaro onto the hauler and headed back to North Carolina.
Rookie Chad Boat topped the afternoon session with a lap at 187.778 mph before the garage began to clear out.
Neither Auton nor Pemberton elaborated on the news that the Nationwide Series would be among the national divisions to abandon single-car qualifying this season.
"They know we are not going to run single-car qualifying," Auton said with a smile. "That's all they know."
But Pemberton shed some light on the penalty phase for tandem drafting at Daytona and Talladega, the two tracks where the two-car aerodynamic tactic runs rampant. In the case of a last-lap tandem draft, Pemberton said the sanctioning body would issue penalties as it has always done.
"Well, we have the ability to just not score the lap or time penalty post-race," Pemberton said. "That's been there all along. I think you can remember far enough back, I believe a team penalty was imposed on maybe Ricky Rudd or somebody at (Sonoma Raceway) a long time ago, and so we have that ability. You know, the rule that --the unwritten rule that you get three laps from getting a black flag, it really doesn't hold water. I mean, we only give them that, and that started back in the day when people a lot of times didn't even have radios. So that's just kind of -- it's the unwritten rule.
"But we expect teams that get the black flag to immediately obey the order from the tower, and we do have the ability to fix the scoring when it's over with."