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Home / Sports / The insider story of the secret business that changed the Daytona 500

The insider story of the secret business that changed the Daytona 500



DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Communication was inherently uncomfortable because how often do these people even talk? They run in the same series, but they are certainly not friends.

Yes, maybe they share the goal of winning the Daytona 500, but the goals of how to achieve that were quite different. It was understandable that a powder keg of emotion was triggered by the typically moody chain of events triggered by a restart at Daytona International Speedway.

How surprising it was that it turned out so well.

Who would have thought Chevrolet and Toyota would work together harmoniously Sunday?

<p type = "text" content = "Yes, that was one of the tastiest subplots that emerged from the run of the Great American Race 61 st that the only two remaining Ford performance drivers in Tongues did not play well in the final laps of the biggest race of the season, and Ford's cohesion had been the key to his success. "data-reactid =" 20 "> Yes, that was one of the tastiest subplots in the country st Race of the Great American Race emerged. The fact that there were only two Ford Performance riders left did not work well in the final laps of the biggest race of the season. Ford's cohesion was the key to his success.

But as these bonds broke apart, an unholy alliance between unlikely bedfellows developed.

In a Saturday morning session, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing (with the help of Toyota Racing Development) met to plan a plan to fight Ford's 12-car relay that dominated the Speedweeks (and most of the three Qualifiers swept Thursday) as well as much of the restriction races for the past year.

Although some of the key players could not be identified It's not hard to look at the rosters for Hendrick, JGR and Toyota and find obvious connections. There are several names that have worked in at least two or all three camps (in some cases).

And it was these earlier contacts that helped make the drivers of Hendrick and Gibbs prepare for the Daytona 500 compilation – albeit in this case – I felt weird to many of the Principals.

<p type = "text" content = "" I send SMS to the HMS crew chiefs the night before and we talk about strategy and it's like, "What in the world is going on here?" "Daytona 500 -Gewinner Denny Hamlin told Dustin Long of NBCSports.com during his breakfast on the Monday morning champion at the racetrack, "It's just crazy that you're sleeping with the enemy." Reactid = "25"> "Me The day before, send SMS to the HMS crew chiefs and we talk about strategy, and it's like, "What on earth is going on here?" "Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin told Dustin Long of NBCSports.com at Breakfast on Monday morning champion at the track. "It's just crazy that you are sleeping with the enemy."

It was necessary.

<p type = "text" content = "Although Chevy actually had more drivers in the field than Ford, Hendrick and Richard Childress Racing have never been more simpatic at plate racing: Toyota has only five drivers – Gibbs & # 39; Foursome from Hamlin, Kyle Busch Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones – and Matt DiBenedetto from Leavine Family Racing. "Data-reactid =" 27 "> more Rider in the field had as Ford, Hendrick and Richard Childress Racing at record races have never been simpatic. Toyota has only five riders – Gibbs – foursome from Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones – and Matt DiBenedetto from Leavine Family Racing.

And it seemed to work: unlike the Thursday qualifying race and The Clash (and many record races last year), when Ford drivers seemed to control the train with long lines of cars at will, their fleet of Mustangs could not so well organized on Sundays.

<p type = "text" content = "In the second stage, a train drove with six cars, consisting of three Toyotas (DiBededetto, Busch, Jones) and three Chevys (Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott William Byron), the pit stops The rudder was two to three tenths of a second faster than the field and brought down some good cars a lap. "Data-reactid =" 40 "> In stage 2, a train with six cars from three Toyotas (DiBenedetto, Busch, Jones) and three Chevys ( Chase Elliott, William Byron) to control the speed. The pack was two to three tenths of a second faster than the field and brought some good cars for a lap.

Although several late crashes effectively defused teamwork in the final rounds, the strategy was a major disruptor. Hendrick's and JGR / Toyota's teams talked about spotters and other channels to make life difficult for the Fords.

"We both understood that the number of forces and the disadvantage our two organizations had was the manufacturer and they are only the four of them," said Hamlin. "It was hard for them to have enough Chevrolets that are competitive to race with, and the best bet for us was," Look, we're not going to help each other to help each other, but we "Try not to screw each other in. Work with the strategy. "

" They had a great strategy plan in the game that would work great until there were a few warnings here and there, and of course it was good with these guys Working, and not only that, these were all the drivers and crew chiefs I trusted, so when we made that plan, I was confident it would work out well. "

The result was the Toyota JGR, the second 1-2-3 team finals (Hamlin, Busch, Jones) in the history of the Daytona 500 and the first since … Hendrick Motorsports scored in 1997.

It seems that they had more in common than they realized.

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The Restrict era ended with a literal bang – actually too many bangs. "data-reactid =" 50 "> The Bubbleboard era ended with a verbatim bang – actually too many ponies.

In the last race with the plates that were used to strangle for 30 years when Shutting down the airflow to the engines and reducing the speeds on the Daytona and the Talladega Superspeedway (where cars are more likely to sail on the bleachers), there have been three Multikar Pile-Ups and two Red Flags over the last 20 laps as the riders are world class Inexplicably Bad Decisions Driven Maneuvers The 40-minute downtime made for a larger audience in primetime, but also for a painfully choppy target, as the last 15 laps lasted almost 90 minutes.

"I actually have the (clock) on the Dashboard, "Hamlin said he had sat in the No. 11 first red." It was 5:40 pm, and I'm looking at the scoreboard, and I'm like & # 39; Wow, at 6:15 pm We will experience the end of this race. & # 39; And I look and I would say: & # 39; At 6:30, we will see the end of this race. We're under the red flag, and I can see that the ticker is running like this: "At 6:50 we'll really know who won this race."

"It was crazy how long it took. I saw five laps an hour ago, but the track was an absolute mess. "

This is part of NASCAR and the track in part, as long cleanups in previous Speedweeks were a problem.

But the biggest entry from the last demolition of the Derby plate race was to highlight the inevitable chaos – and colossally stupid mistakes – as the checkered flag approached.

"Pretty," Kyle Busch said when asked if a wreck-filled end after the race was inevitable, relatively clean 475 miles ahead. "Brains come untied. That's all it is. The brain connection to the accelerator pedal does not work that way anymore. There's a lot of give and take during the early days of the race, and then it's all the way to the end, and somehow it's always the case that within 30 or 40 years there's always a warning that lifts everyone off the pit lane and then chaos. "

Logano said," Yes, you know it's coming. And especially in this race, you know what's at stake. It's the Daytona 500. No one really worries about points or himself in the playoffs. Everyone is thinking, I want to win the biggest race of the year, and as Kyle said, the brains are blunt. "

So farewell – or maybe a good remedy for some – to the record time … but this is just a nominal change. With the spherical spacers still using to keep the horsepower at bay, the race on April 28 at the Talladega Superspeedway will most likely be familiar. If not, NASCAR will adjust the rules to make sure this is the case (as in the tandem race in 2011).

With these parameters, it may be too much to ask NASCAR stars that they rely on memorable racing sublime driving and assuming that nobody gets hurt, it's probably better to have too many crashes than too few (due to the response to Daytona's prevailing single-file races over the last 10 days).

But that would be nice if the end of the Teller era has also set a period for absurd times of motoring that were seen on Sunday in the Crunch era.

Both NASCAR and some of its makers are optimistic that the Generation 7 car will be rolled out by the 2021 season can.

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) MB (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "There is some industry skepticism about This timeline for the new model Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson told NBC Sports that there are plans for the "Generation 7" "within the next 30 to 45 days" and the tests will be completed by the end of the Summer. "Data-reactid =" 64 "> There is some skepticism against this timeline for the new model . David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told NBC Sports that "there will be blueprints for the Gen 7 over the next 30 to 45 days, and that the test drives will have to start by the end of the summer.

an industry, "said Wilson on Sunday. "NASCAR gathers feedback throughout the industry. You spoke systematically to every team in the garage this weekend. They take this feedback. We're putting together an action team with NASCAR. We had a discussion from the process point of view early on Saturday morning (with the manufacturers) about how we work together. The good news is that we have a small template that we use for Gen 6.

"We are still behind us. We have to catch up with the ground somewhere. If you look at everything you need to keep in mind with this car – safety, testing, manufacturing. The amount of hardware change will be enormous. "

But the benefits will be worthwhile. Wilson, who said the momentum for the project had started in August at the beginning of the reign of CEO Jim France ("The biggest driver and clear leader behind it is Jim France, he has a quiet, unobtrusive passion to make that happen."), Believe the next car could bring a wealth of new car manufacturers to NASCAR.

"In ten years, I see no reason why we could not have six or seven manufacturers," Wilson said. "You see sports races. In our Lexus program we run against seven to eight manufacturers. We compete every day in the showrooms. Why can not it be the same on the track?

"But it's going to be a journey. I am not absolutely sure that we will be there until & # 39; 21.

For a reference frame, Gen 6 was first introduced in the 2013 season, after NASCAR and manufacturers had begun early in the discussions.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In a SiriusXM interview during the Daytona 500 Media Days (NASCAR) President Steve Phelps formulated the 2020 speculation in a new way saying Phelps said the tracks would not change, but the focus would be on whether races would be "in the same order "and when the season will begin and end." data-reactid = "71"> In a SiriusXM interview during the Daytona 500 Media Day, NASCAR President Steve Phelps re-imagined 2020 speculation . Phelps said the tracks would not change, but the focus will be on whether races will be "in the same order" and when the season will begin and end.

Track presidents met with NASCAR executives for more than three hours last week In Daytona, some basic parameters have been set for robust scheduling: The Daytona 500 must be in mid-February, the Coca-Cola 600 will be on Memorial Day weekend stay and the Southern 500 remains bound on Labor Day weekend.

After that, practically everything was considered a fair game. There were withdrawal ideas that could postpone one or two hot weather races before the end of the Daytona 500 in late January or early February. The Great American Race was the prelude since 1982, however, was the second or third race of the season for the first race 23 years of existence (1959-81).

Although Daytona maintains its traditional calendar, regardless of whether other races have preceded it, there have recently been speculations about a Speedweeks upheaval (which could certainly use less "dark") [Daysatthetrack]

Here's the look out this corner last year on this front with an addendum: It might be time to rethink the truck series in Daytona, and this is not a reaction to last Friday's A race that set a record for yellow flags (11) and warning laps ( 55).

Of the 20 truck races held at Daytona, 15 were driven with caution for at least 25 percent of the race. Although 26 out of 32 trucks were involved in an accident last Friday, it was the fourth time in eight years that more than two dozen trucks were damaged. In 2012, 29 out of 36 trucks were in wrecks.

The new Smyrna Speedway is just a stone's throw away thought.

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "While NASCAR's Top 3 National The Series Launched last weekend the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series remains in Valencia (Spain) on April 13, almost two months after the start of its eighth season and its schedule for 2019 of seven events draws a lot of attention 2000-year-old champions Bobby Labonte took part in the series last year, winning two-time Cup winner Alon Day, who also scored two league appearances. "data-reactid =" 80 "> While NASCAR's first three national series began last weekend remains the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series almost two months after the start of their eighth season with the 13th of April in Valencia, Spain. His schedule for 2019 of seven events attracts a lot of attention, although 2000 World Champion Bobby Labonte entered the series last year (won by two-time Cup Champion Alon Day, who also won two cup starts). 19659047] Jacques Villeneuve, the Formula 1 champion of 1997, will run full time this season in NASCAR Whelen Euro.

The series has also aroused serious interest in a recent retired former Cup champion and many drivers in lower series for the 2019 season. 19659049] "We do not have final results so we can not announce who we're still talking to," said production manager Joe Balash to NBC Sports. "But we had discussions with several drivers from several garages who want to participate in the series."

The Whelen Euro Series also had a driver exchange last year with the Pinty's Series in Canada and is examining a similar agreement with the Peak Mexico series. The European racetrack, which also competes in England, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium, is an attractive option as it is relatively cheap.

As a stock car model, it costs around $ 100,000 to operate the full slate plate, offering two divisions with two races per weekend. Teams can also use two riders with different levels of difficulty (similar to IMSA's GTD department).

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8 em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Chase Elliott's Speedweeks was in terms of results mostly forgotten (eight in a Thursday qualifying was his best result) .But up to his person nobody could live was more a man of the people than the most popular driver . "data-reactid =" 86 " > Chase Elliott's Speedweeks was largely forgotten about the results (eighth in a Thursday qualifying session was his best performance). But up to his person, nobody was any more a man of the people than the most popular driver .

Hendrick Motorsports' rising star so often tried to spice up the action was a single file in the 2.5-mile oval.

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" Type = "Text" Vain attempt to win positions in Xfinity Race ( he waved to the crowd and said "Sorry" after he had finished 10 ), fought furiously for positions in the qualifier or tried aggressively In the Daytona 500, Elliott remained the first driver to refuse the bulk of the Speedweeks pushed the wall – and proudly declared that he did so for the legions that wore his gear was racing). "data-reactid =" 88 "> Vainly attempting to win positions in the Xfinity race (he waved to the spectators and said" Sorry "after finishing 10 th ) and fought furiously for positions in qualifying Elliott was the only driver who aggressively tried to stay in front in the Daytona 500. He declined the idea that cars hugged the wall for much of the Speed ​​Weeks – and proudly stated that he did so for the legions, who wore his gear (while subtly throwing a little shadow over those he's racing).

"Hey, if they're going to ride all day up, I'll be glad to try the ground and at least something for the great ones Doing People Watching It Here in the stands, "said Elliott on Thursday.

Last month, crew chief Alan Gustafson said he did not know how much a victory would have taken without victory in Elliott's 98 races until he broke through with the first round in August of last year. Three wins in 2018. Elliott, 23, seems to comfort more In his skin, it has never been so and Daytona was a good example of this.

The pressure is gone, and now the public sees more of a rising star he apparently can not love enough. This is a good sign for NASCAR – especially if Elliott can develop a more defiant and outspoken public side that his father has never accepted.

<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "To understand why Jim's style of management so praised its brief message to motorists before the race on Sunday before the last time a NASCAR CEO issued a similar briefing at a meeting of the Daytona 500 drivers. "Data-reactid =" 94 "> To understand why the management style of Jim France was so universally praised he introduces a short message to motorists before the race on Sunday. Last time, a NASCAR boss issued a similar directive at a meeting with the Daytona 500 drivers.

It probably was not as long ago as you think.

Prior to the Daytona 500 of 2017 Brian France admonished the field for 90 seconds because in a strange chatter even his leadership team was blocked to explain trouble. It was also unusual because Brian France (who resigned after being arrested for his uncle in August last year after being arrested) usually failed to face the competition. Sometimes he lacked clarity when doing so (apparently because his marketing background was sometimes in the way).

Jim France's simple and pithy question ("I hope a few of you out there will get on the ground with Denny and Chase and delivered a good show today.") Hinted at his understated style that excited and resonated with NASCAR ,

This could have been another example: about two and a half hours later, the green flag fell on an action-packed 1st stage. Todd Gordon, crew chief of Joey Logano, said on SiriusXM Tuesday morning that the tough races might have happened anyway, but the drivers "(France) listened as if they were God".

Did The words of France affect how the riders drove the Daytona 500, which was opened with the best 60 laps of the Speedweeks

It's impossible to know for sure.

The only thing that probably matters is that he said it. [19659063]
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