It’s official – the new surface at Daytona Speedway is fast, fast, fast.
Sprint Cup teams have been testing setups and drafting at the “Birthplace of Speed,” since Thursday morning. Every driver passing through the media center is raving about how fast it is.
During the morning session on Saturday, Joe Gibbs Racing team mates Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota) swapped spots tailing each other and set the day’s top speeds with just over 197 mph.
“I feel like we’ve got a decent speed in the Home Depot Toyota,” said Logano, who had the morning’s fastest lap (197.516 mph, 45.566 seconds). “Usually in single-car runs we were probably a 15th-place car, but I feel like we’re a top-five car in single-car runs right now. That’s exciting to know.”
With the Daytona 500 only four weeks away, teams are feverishly getting ready for the 2011 season. This week’s testing at Daytona has sent a message through the garage summed up best by NAPA Auto Parts driver, Martin Truex Jr., when asked to give a preview of what to expect in the 500. ““It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be fun. I love racing here. Here and Talladega are some of the most fun races for us as drivers until you get in a wreck, and then you’re just pissed off, and you’re pissed off until you come back and hoping to finish the next one.”
That’s tellin’ ’em, Martin!
When defending race winner, Jamie McMurray, was asked about the new surface, he said. “The track is really good and the racing is going to be closer to what Talladega has except for the fact the track is quite a bit narrower.”
We’ve never seen racing at Daytona like we are going to see it this year. Teams will be comfortably running three and four wide all day, and faster than ever at this speedway.
Racing at Daytona starts on February 12 with the Budweiser Shootout followed a few days later with the twin qualifiers on February 17.