NASCAR confirmed that they would be using a smaller restrictor plate for the next week's three-day test at Daytona. The new restrictor plate will have 29/32nd-inch openings while a 30/32nd-inch plate was used in last month's Goodyear tire test.
NASCAR is reducing the side as the speeds were close to 200 mph with only 18 cars packed together.
"I think the decision was made to slow down the speeds because the speeds were too high at the first test," Pat Tryson, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., told NASCAR.com. "It's a good move on the side of safety because no one wants to see a car go airborne at the potential speeds that could be generated with the plate they had last month. It will be better for the driver and better for the fans in the stands. Safety always comes first.
"By slowing down the cars, it will make the draft bigger and tighter. Before, with a little more power, the cars would spread out a little bit. I think now, we can expect to see the cars a lot closer together and more in one pack versus two, three or four."
NASCAR also confirmed that the rear spoiler dimensions will remain the same with them being 4.5 inches tall by 63 inches wide at a 70-degree angle.
After last year's Daytona 500, the 2011 Daytona 500 is looking to be a redemption race for the staff at Daytona International Speedway. The race was haulted last February by a pothole in the track surface. The track's reputation was only conserved by Jamie McMurray winning it in the dramatic fashion that he did. A lot of people then focused on McMurray's win and emotions, with the dramatic finish, rather than the delay.
After the polehole dilemma and in fear it would happen again, staff at the speedway went to work on repaving the track following the summer race. The result looks to be a drama filled race with racing that matches it's sister track - Talladega Superspeedway.
"It's going to make for some great racing, for sure, because I expect to see more three-, maybe four-wide racing at Daytona, which is exactly what we saw at Talladega Superspeedway," Tryson said. "It's going to be a lot of fun for everyone to watch."
The Sprint Cup Series at Daytona, known as "Preseason Thunder" is set to take place from January 20th-22nd.
Fans are welcome to attend to test for free as they will be able to view from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands in turn four and from the SPRINT FANZONE.
As in years past, Daytona will host their annual NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, where fans can ask the drivers questions. Headlining the list of stars set to appear are last year's Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, defending and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For those wishing to attend Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, tickets are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSTOP or online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com. If you have a ticket for the 2011 Daytona 500, you will recieve admission free.
Advanced reservations are available (limited to 250 people) for special autograph sessions to be held with participating 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and Daytona 500 champions. Additional driver autograph sessions will be held on both days with wristbands available the day of the event. To request access to the special autograph sessions, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit the Daytona International Speedway ticket office beginning on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
SPEED announced earlier this month that they will be providing live stream coverage on their website. They plan to show 23 hours in total.
John Roberts and Jeff Hammond host SPEED’s on-air coverage from the studio above Victory Lane at Daytona. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will offer analysis throughout the practice sessions with reporting by Bob Dillner and Krista Voda. SPEED.com is presenting live streaming of all on-track activity with the exception of 3-5 p.m. ET Thursday, and will feature a rotation of on-air personalities.