Accidents to be expected, but keeping cars stuck to track of utmost importance
Leave it to Ryan Newma to cut to the core of the issue.
Always quick to remind everyone that he earned an engineering degree (Vehicle Structure Engineering, to be precise) from Purdue University, Newman sometimes has a way of talking down to questioners. He just can’t help himself, forgetting that said questioners wouldn’t be asking him questions in the first place if they knew as much as he did.
But on the topic of what’s happening at Daytona International Speedway right now, there really is no better source and there were no wiser words spoken by anyone else in the aftermath of last Saturday night’s Bud Shootout victory for Kurt Busch. Working almost exclusively in two-car drafts much of the night — as expected — but for much longer stretches and at much higher speeds than anyone anticipated, Busch’s No. 22 Dodge edged Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet and others at the finish line in the non-points event that officially kicked off the 2011 Sprint Cup season.
For safety reasons, and also because going faster could affect insurance policies some tracks have in place, NASCAR has long strived to keep top speeds below 200 miles per hour. Last Saturday night at Daytona, however, cars were clocked going as fast as 206 mph.
That raised a legitimate question that is in discussion even in BetUS online betting. How fast is too fast?
Newman was ready with a legitimate answer.
“One ninety-five [mph] versus 206.5, I don’t know that you could feel it,” he said. “But I’ve always said the most important thing is we keep the race cars on the race track. So whatever we’ve worked on with our liftoff speed, if the car is going backwards, sideways, whatever else to keep the cars down, that’s what NASCAR needs to focus on for making the race safe.
“If the cars get airborne at 140, we’d better not cross 139 — so I don’t know what that number is. I don’t know if there is a true number out there, but if we were doing 212 and the cars were safe and we could keep them on the ground, then that’s fine with me.”
It didn’t take NASCAR long to respond to Saturday’s high-speed action. They mandated subtle technical changes to the cars on Sunday that most of us neither fully understand nor care about.
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