News & Media

Logano: Tandem opportunities will be at a premium

January 12, 2012, Dave Rodman,

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Joey Logano knows he'd rather tandem draft every time he's out on Daytona International Speedway during the upcoming Speedweeks 2012.

But he swears just as strongly that Sprint Cup drivers won't be able to, thanks to new technical regulations that NASCAR's put in place for Preseason Thunder which runs Thursday through Saturday and is the final on-track preparation for Speedweeks.

A test and a Fest

Complementing the testing portion at Daytona is a special two-day Fan Fest event.

"Either way's fine for me, but I personally like the two-car draft a lot, I have fun with it [because] it's kind of cool to communicate with someone and have fun with it," Logano said Wednesday at a special event at the track to introduce the Toyota Camry that will pace the 54th annual Daytona 500. "But a lot of people don't like it. So we'll go back to the other way, or whatever."

NASCAR has mandated a much smaller radiator and, as part of that system, a smaller capacity overflow tank in conjunction with a relocated radiator vent opening higher in the front-center of the car. Along with that, teams have a larger restrictor plate than a year ago with a smaller spoiler and softer rear springs.

Logano says that combination will mean less ability to tandem draft -- radically less. Some time Thursday afternoon he hopes to find out.

"Oh yeah, it's gonna change [the ability to tandem draft]," Logano said. "We've got a smaller spoiler so that's gonna make it a little harder to get together. Less rear spring will also take the spoiler out of the air so now you've got less of a hole in the air so it's a little bit harder to get to each other.

"That's not gonna keep us from doing it -- we'll still do it there. But that's gonna make the cars handle worse, because your blade's [spoiler] not up [in the air]."

Logano said the cooling restrictions are the bigger detriments.

"The [vent] opening and the smaller radiator are going to be the big deal [because] you're not going to be able to [tandem draft] long enough," Logano said of the puzzle that will begin to be solved Thursday afternoon, when teams can draft. "[Thursday] we'll know how long we can do it [but] I don't see us doing it much more than three-quarters of a lap.

"Think about where [the vent opening's] at. It's up high so now you're not getting no air. Before it was down low and you could sneak out and we had the fins that would suck air in from the side and OK, we could do this all day. But now we've got nothing. Zero air -- zero -- and [the vent] is more in the center and it's smaller. And you can't squeak out enough to get any air so you're kind of SOL in being able to get any air on the thing."

Logano did say at the end of races things might change, because tandem drafting is eight to 10 mph faster than any other configuration. But even that's not definite because of the basic dynamics of tandem drafting.

"At the end of the race will it come down to a push-fest?" Logano said. "It might. But the thing we've all got to realize, or practice or realize when the moment comes, is it takes some time to hook up.

"The front guy has got to slow down eight, nine miles an hour to hook up. By the time you get back up to speed, it's gonna take about a straightaway to do that, then another half a straightaway to get up 10 miles an hour.

"Now, are you too hot, and now you're done? Were you better off just drafting? You did all that work, did you gain anything? I don't really know yet, and when I figure it all out, I'll let you know."

Logano said the basic physics of a smaller radiator and a smaller vent would lead cars to run hotter. He said he could already run "240 [degrees of water temperature] all day, but you can't run 260 all day, or 250. Some guys can but our cars can't.

Preseason Thunder: Day 1

Morning Practice Speeds
Pos.DriverTimeSpeed PosDriverTimeSpeed
2.Paul Menard46.785 192.369 18. Kasey Kahne 47.160 190.840
3.Kurt Busch46.787 192.361 19. Kevin Harvick 47.176 190.775
4.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.46.885 191.959 20. Clint Bowyer 47.199 190.682
5. Juan Montoya46.911 191.853 21. Mark Martin 47.225 190.577
6. Jimmie Johnson46.933191.763 22. Marcos Ambrose 47.238 190.525
7. Greg Biffle46.987 191.542 23. Aric Almirola 47.255 190.456
8. Danica Patrick47.004 191.473 24. Jamie McMurray 47.269 190.400
9. Jeff Burton47.019 191.412 25. Regan Smith 47.374 189.978
10. Trevor Bayne47.022 191.400 26. A.J. Allmendinger 47.419 189.797
11.Dale Earnhardt Jr.47.025 191.388 27. Carl Edwards 47.435 189.733
12. Tony Stewart 47.032 191.359 28. Brad Keselowski 47.504 189.458
13. Kyle Busch47.037 191.339 29.Casey Mears 47.508 189.442
14. Joey Logano 47.059 191.249 30. Martin Truex Jr. 47.633 188.945
15. Ryan Newman 47.110 191.042 31. Joe Nemechek 48.304 186.320
16. Denny Hamlin 47.122 190.994

Preseason Thunder: Day 1

Afternoon Practice Speeds
Pos.DriverTimeSpeed Pos.DriverTimeSpeed
2.Joey Logano44.469202.388 18.Jeff Burton46.945191.714
3.Brad Keselowski44.505202.224 19.Juan Montoya46.969191.616
4.A.J. Allmendinger44.506202.220 20.Matt Kenseth46.997191.502
5.Dale Earnhardt Jr.44.794200.920 21.Marcos Ambrose47.007 191.461
6.Jimmie Johnson44.795200.915 22.Ryan Newman47.010191.449
7.Denny Hamlin44.965200.156 23.Kevin Harvick47.052191.278
8.Kasey Kahne45.047199.791 24.Trevor Bayne47.061191.241
9.Mark Martin45.782196.584 25.Martin Truex Jr.47.095191.103
10.Clint Bowyer45.782196.584 26.Jamie McMurray47.102191.075
11.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.46.164194.957 27.Regan Smith47.266190.412
12.Jeff Gordon46.482193.623 28.Carl Edwards47.285190.335
13.Paul Menard46.726192.612 29.Aric Almirola47.296190.291
14.Kurt Busch46.835192.164 30.Dave Blaney47.453189.661
15.Tony Stewart46.887191.951 31.Casey Mears47.671188.794
16.Danica Patrick46.893191.926 32.Joe Nemechek 48.038187.352

"If the blow-off valve allows it to blow off [water] at 245 that's not gonna be pretty. Because once you lose water, you're screwed. With all that stuff, [drafting] will be interesting. I'm kinda excited about it. I don't know if we'll start in a two-car draft or a big pack."