Daytona 500 crashes continue recent trend

Almost 75% of recently’s Daytona 500 field was gathered in a crash, continuing a worrying pattern for NASCAR’s display occasion.

In the last 5 Daytona 500s, 79.5% of the field has actually been associated with a mishap. The 5 Daytona 500s prior to that saw 44.8% of the field gathered in crashes.

While this year’s Daytona 500 had its least variety of automobiles damaged compared to the previous 2 years, there were still 29 of 40 automobiles harmed in mishaps.

“I definitely tug on the belts a little harder at Daytona and Talladega, more so than Martinsville, I can promise you that,” Corey LaJoie stated.

He completed ninth in the Daytona 500 — one area even worse than in 2015 when his vehicle knocked into Ryan Newman’s and catapulted Newman’s vehicle throughout the goal. Newman was hospitalized for 2 days with a bruised brain.

That Newman is the only motorist to be seriously hurt in the last 5 Daytona 500s regardless of the high crash amounts to vouches for the security of the automobiles.

“I know John Patalak just from working with him through the development with some of (Randy LaJoie’s) seats over at the R&D Center,” Corey LaJoie stated of NASCAR’s senior vice president of development and racing advancement, who supervises the approving body’s security efforts. “He is one of the sharpest guys that I know. And he’s trying to make these race cars as safe as possible.

“We’re looking forward to the Next Gen car (in 2022), which is considerably more safe than what we have now. So, when you get in, you know that NASCAR is doing everything they can to keep the cars as safe as possible.”

Still, the variety of automobiles damaged at Daytona raises concerns about if the danger will end up being undue.

“At the end of the day, we’re in control of our race cars,” stated Ryan Preece, who completed sixth in the Daytona 500 after he bounced off the wall on the last lap. “We’re paid to take these risks and to put ourselves in position to win these races. So, that’s the name of the game. It comes down to who is willing to risk it all, I guess.”

This year’s Daytona 500 marked the 5th successive year the occasion has actually had at least a 12-car crash. There were 21 automobiles gathered in a crash in the 2019 Daytona 500, the greatest overall in the last 5 years. Sixteen automobiles damaged soon prior to lightning and rain postponed the race for more than 5 hours last weekend.

“I was shocked that there was as much pushing and shoving going on as there was there at the beginning,” Chase Elliott stated after his runner-up surface.

LaJoie stated it’s part of the aggressiveness that has actually ended up being basic in speedway racing.

“You see guys making runs or throwing blocks because they know to protect their track position they’ve got to be aggressive with those blocks,” he stated. “I think where some of the speedway racing product has changed over the past couple of years is because the cars are tighter (and) the drivers are being a little more aggressive.”

Automobile owner Rick Hendrick saw Alex Bowman, who began on the pole, removed in the Lap 14 crash. William Byron, who remained in a backup vehicle after remaining in a wreck in his certifying race, had his hopes of winning end with a broken vehicle because melee.

Hendrick didn’t have it as bad as vehicle owner Roger Penske. Ryan Blaney was removed because early crash. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Austin Cindric all damaged on the last lap. Keselowski remained in a backup vehicle after he was associated with a wreck in his certifying race.

“You put so much work into those cars to make them as aerodynamic as can be,” Hendrick stated prior to the Daytona 500. “They are like a fine watch, and when the race is over, they look like they raced at Martinsville. It’s just something we live with and it’s the Super Bowl for us.”

This year’s race likewise included the 3rd last-lap crash in the last 4 years. Keselowski was choosing the lead when contact with Logano set off an intense eight-car occurrence. Nobody was hurt. The mishap marked the 4th time in the last 5 years Keselowski has actually stopped working to complete the Daytona 500 since of a crash. Just Daniel Suarez has actually had as bad a fortune as Keselowski because stretch.

It’s why prior to Daytona Keselowski stated: “I’m just so hopeful I can make it through the whole race without getting destroyed.”

He fell about a mile except reaching that objective — and winning his very first Daytona 500.

The mishap completed a week at Daytona International Speedway that saw 93 lorries in wrecks amongst Cup, Xfinity and Outdoor Camping World Truck Series occasions. The overall is down 8.8% from in 2015 however the decrease is since the Busch Clash was hung on the roadway course this year rather of the oval.

The Busch Clash had actually 3 automobiles associated with occurrences this year, consisting of Ryan Blaney and Elliott as they raced for the lead through the last chicane. In 2015’s Busch Clash had all 18 automobiles associated with a minimum of one occurrence. Erik Jones won the race regardless of belonging of 3 mishaps.

2. A perk of more than $1 million

Michael McDowell’s Daytona 500 triumph offered a good payday for him and the group recently however that win will continue to pay the group over the next couple of years.

A source with understanding of the charter system approximates that Front Row Motorsports ought to gather an extra $1.6 million over the next 3 years since of the win — with more than $1 million being paid to the group next season.

Chartered groups are paid a set quantity per race. They’re likewise paid based upon where they complete and get cash based upon the efficiency of the charter over the previous 3 seasons.

NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500

NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Yearly Daytona 500

By winning a race and making the playoffs, the group will complete a minimum of 16th in the vehicle owner points this season. In the last 3 years, McDowell’s vehicle completed 28th (2018), 28th (2019) and 25th (2020) in vehicle owner points.

A source with understanding of the charter system stated that Front Row Motorsports might get about $30,000 additional per race next year simply by ending up last amongst the 16 playoff groups this year. The cash might show substantial as groups shift to the Next Gen vehicle next season. While vehicle owners expect an expense savings with the vehicle, that won’t follow year with the requirement to change all the automobiles run this season with the Next Gen vehicle. An additional million dollars won’t injure any group.

Jerry Freeze, basic supervisor of Front Row Motorsports, is enthusiastic that the win can assist the group’s look for sponsorship.

“It all has to do with partnerships for us, and it’s always just trying to marry the driver with the partner and the program to make it all fit and make it all work,” he stated after the triumph. “Unfortunately, Front Row just hasn’t been in a position to do multi-year deals with sponsors, so we’ve been on single-year deals with them, just like we have been with the drivers.

“Maybe with (last week’s) success, hopefully that might change some things, but I think we have to prove that we’re a solid team week-in and week-out to be in that position.”

3. Structure momentum?

Ryan Preece’s sixth-place surface doesn’t ensure how things will go this season, however he’s currently ahead of where he was fives races into in 2015.

Preece heads into Sunday’s race on the Daytona roadway course (3 p.m. ET on Fox) with 46 points. He didn’t reach that overall up until the 5th race in 2015 after ending up 29th or even worse in 3 of those occasions.

Preece stated amongst the methods in 2015 showed tough was that there was extremely little practice once the season resumed in Might. That restricted on-track time with team chief Trent Owens in their very first season together.

NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500

NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Yearly Daytona 500

“We didn’t have that opportunity every week when the practice dropped,” Preece stated. “So I really felt we started to excel the final 10 races, and I think that’s carried over into Daytona. I’m looking forward to going to the road course and just keep executing and having solid days.”

Preece had 8 top-20 surfaces in the last 10 races of last season.

Automobile owner Little bit Geschickter likewise is enthusiastic Preece’s momentum from the Daytona 500 continues. The No. 37 group, which does not have a charter, has sponsorship for the very first two-thirds of the season just.

“Admittedly, his first two years in Cup has been a steep learning curve, but we believe he can do it,” Geschickter stated of Preece. “He’s figuring it out week by week. It just takes time. Ultimately, the best way for us to give him the best equipment we could every week is run when we’re funded. He understands that. We could try to stretch 25 races worth of money into 36. I don’t believe we’ll have to do that.

“We’re not giving up on selling sponsorship for him. Finishing sixth and getting all the TV time he got last week created interest of the people we’ve been talking to.”

4. Back at the track

Chad Knaus was not at last week’s Daytona 500 in his brand-new function as vice president of competitors for Hendrick Motorsports. He’ll be at the track this weekend.

With his function, he will divide time at the track with Jeff Andrews, basic supervisor of Hendrick Motorsports.

“I’m just going to sit back and try to help the guys where I can,” Knaus stated of going to the track this weekend. “Be a resource for them, observe. Obviously, we’ve got amazing crew chiefs, amazing teams. These guys don’t need a whole lot, so I’m just there in a support role.”

When It Comes To not remaining in Daytona for the season-opening weekend?

“For qualifying, it was really odd,” stated Knaus, who won 7 Cup titles as Jimmie Johnson‘s team chief. “It was tough. … I was sad that I couldn’t participate, but I was really excited when we got the front row. It’s a different thing, for sure.”

5. Rumble strips included

Drivers stated recently that NASCAR required to do something to the backstretch chicane after dirt and mud got kicked up on the track and added to Martin Truex Jr.‘s wreck in the Busch Clash.

The track has added rumble strips and curbing to prevent drivers from getting off course and into the grass.

“It was strange because last year in the Xfinity race I didn’t seem like the chicane, a minimum of dirt-wise, it wasn’t a huge offer,” stated AJ Allmendinger, who is gone into in both the Xfinity and Cup races this weekend for Kaulig Racing. “I was actually quite surprised how much dirt was on the race track during the Clash because I didn’t remember that even in the Cup race last year being that big of an issue.

“I’m not sure if it was because it had rained so much at that point last summer that everybody was afraid to drop a wheel and do damage to the race car. It’s something that we’ll have to all figure out. … It will be the same for all of us. I don’t see it being that big of an issue.”

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.