DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Day 2 of Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway offered a little bit of everything, with the highlight coming in the afternoon as the pack returned to the high banks.
Friday’s second session opened with a multi-car pack working on drafting around the hallowed 2.5-mile superspeedway. About an hour into the afternoon test session, a 12-car accident ended several teams’ day.
During Day 2’s media availability, NASCAR’s 10-time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about his anticipation for the upcoming 2013 season.
“I feel like that the sport is in a good healthy place,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “We have a good opportunity to grow. With this car we have a chance to do something great and really make a big impact … I think the racing is as exciting as it has been in a long time. You look at some of these old races and look back at some of the events that we had in the ‘80s and the ‘90s … it always is changing and it always will, but I think we have improved it.”
Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, posted the fastest lap of both days at 199.650 mph, set in the afternoon session.
“The biggest thing was just how the draft was working more like it used to be,” said Martin Truex Jr. “There were no two-car tandems, it was cool being able to back up off the leader and get runs and take the lead and do things like you used to do. It has a little bit more strategy involved than just holding it wide open and hitting the guy in front of you as hard as you could, so I thought it was cool.”
With The Sprint Unlimited (Feb. 16 on SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 24 on FOX, Motor Racing Network Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio) a little more than a month away, Greg Biffle is readying himself for what he believes will be a “fun” and “exciting” Speedweeks.
“The cars are stuck less and they are looser,” said Greg Biffle. “That is good for racing. It is good for the fans. It will make it more exciting and make pit strategy come into play. If you put tires on, you will be able to go faster. I think all of that is good. This is going to be a heck of a race. I like that the cars were sliding around and hard to drive. It will make it a fun race.”
Off the track, Jimmie Johnson, 2006 Daytona 500 winner, has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to provide fans with “The 48 Experience,” the ultimate race fan package for the Daytona 500.
“I became a fan of racing as a kid and I think the future of our sport really relies on connecting with the young kids and helping them get involved in the sport and understanding and being around it,” said Jimmie Johnson. “Hopefully, this program can contribute to that.”