Friday, February 18, 2011

Ho-Hum Day of Daytona 500 Practices Friday With Limited Participation; Can You Blame Them?

By Micah Roberts

Who wants to ruin a good car in practice when most teams are set? 
The drivers are all set and ready to for this Sunday’s 53rd running of the Daytona 500, or at least that’s the impression given as both of Friday’s practice sessions saw limited participation. Only 12 drivers ran laps in each of the sessions. Because of the engines running high RPM’s and most drivers understanding what already needs to be done come Sunday from their end, why take a chance and ruin a car that is already set.

Teams like Red Bull Racing’s drivers of Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne got dialed in with each other in both sessions while Kyle Busch walked around the garages in shorts with no intention of doing anything. For Vickers, he needs the time on the track after an extended time away from racing and not being able to participate in any of the Bud Shootout practice segments.

Jeff Burton was the fastest in the first session with a top speed of 196.648 mph, a considerably lower speed than witnessed during Wednesday’s practices due to the weather being a little warmer. Burton also used the practice time to simulate entering and exiting pit road at 55 mph.

In the second session, Mark Martin led the way at 196.803 running 22 laps with Jimmie Johnson -- who was second fastest -- as his partner.

From a data standpoint and how to use what happened Friday for betting and Fantasy NASCAR equations, you don’t. You throw it out the window and wait to see what happens Saturday morning in the final Daytona 500 practice.

Top 5 Practice Speeds - Friday's 2nd Practice:
#5-Martin 196.803
#48-Johnson 196.794
#4-Kahne 194.704
#83-Vickers 194.700
#17-Kenseth 193.857
#16-Biffle 193.857
Only 12 drivers practiced.

Top 5 Practice Speeds - Friday's 1st Practice:
#31-Burton 196.648
#27-Menard 196.644
#9-Ambrose 195.839
#6-Ragan 195.839
#11-Hamlin 194.999

Daytona 500 Practice Speeds

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