When asked recently about this Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Clint Bowyer came close to saying what everyone else already knew – there needs to be a lot more passing than the season-opening Daytona 500.
Bowyer almost admitted the obvious by saying: “Well, certainly hope that it’s better.”
Then he apparently remembered how NASCAR has no tolerance for anyone criticizing the newest race car.
“I mean, Daytona was – it wasn’t that it was bad. There was a tremendous amount of things that happened at Daytona as a whole for our sport of NASCAR. The Cup race, could it have been better? Probably. Was it the very first race with the brand new car fresh out of the box? Yes. There’s always things to be learned.”
Talladega and Daytona International Speedway are sister tracks, and both are the only facilities in NASCAR that require the use of a restrictor plate to reduce speeds for safety reasons.
The new Generation-6 race car made its debut at Daytona and everyone fell into a long single-file line for the majority of the race. Officially there were 28 lead changes among 14 drivers, but most of those came during pit stops and caution periods. Teams have had more than two months to get a better grip on the newest race car, which was designed to bring back manufacturer identity. Some believe that better understanding might lead to better racing during Sunday’s Aaron’s 499. Other think the one-lane-wider track will help promote better racing.
ENGINE RECALL: Toyota Racing Development recalled three engines sent to Michael Waltrip Racing in the aftermath of the penalty handed down to Matt Kenseth.
The company, which supplies engines for all Toyota teams, called back three engines scheduled for Bowyer’s car after NASCAR found over-sized connecting rods in Kenseth’s race-winning engine from Kansas Speedway.
NASCAR responded to the penalty by fining crew chief Jason Ratcliff $200,000 and suspended him for six races, while stripping Kenseth and car owner Joe Gibbs 50 points each in the driver and car owner standings.