DAYTONA DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS COULD BE A BREAK FOR GORDON DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2009) - According to six-time Daytona winner Jeff Gordon, the new double-file restart rule might be a great opportunity for drivers to 'catch their breath' in...
DAYTONA DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS COULD BE A BREAK FOR GORDON
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2009) - According to six-time Daytona winner Jeff Gordon, the new double-file restart rule might be a great opportunity for drivers to 'catch their breath' in the 400-mile event this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
At Daytona - where restrictor plates are used and two, three and sometimes four- wide racing is commonplace - the concentration level of the drivers must remain high for the duration of the event.
"The racing at Daytona is usually spectacular, and I don't expect anything different this weekend," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "We're usually racing in a tight pack where you could find yourself in the middle of three-wide through the corner.
"Your level of concentration must remain sky high because any small mistake can lead to the 'big one.'
"The new restart rule has been a great addition to our sport, and I'm interested to see how it plays out this weekend. It may give us a chance to catch our breath and race only two-wide for a few laps.
"Or at least a few corners."
The new rule also allows the leader of the race to choose their preferred line - the inside or the outside - for each restart. The second-place driver will line up alongside the leader, and the remainder of the field will be lined up based on running position. Drivers scored in an odd position (third, fifth, seventh, etc.) will restart in the inside lane while drivers scored in an even position (fourth, sixth, eighth, etc.) must restart in the outside lane.
"The leader will have more to think about prior to each restart," said Gordon, who is currently second in the standings, 69 markers behind leader Tony Stewart. "A preferred racing line - the top or the bottom groove through the corners - usually helps the leader determine which lane he chooses for the restart.
"Here, though, drafting partners may enter into the decision-making process. If I'm the leader and I have the opportunity, I'm going to line up ahead of a teammate and hope we can work together."
Along with his six wins including three Daytona 500 victories, Gordon has three poles, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10's in 33 career starts. In the season-opening event here in February, Gordon overcame tire issues to post a 13th-place finish in the rain-shortened race.
"We were fortunate to take part in a Goodyear tire test here in early May, and the right-side tire we'll use this weekend is more durable than what we raced here in February," said crew chief Steve Letarte. "But the tire problems that plagued us during that event were our responsibility.
"It will be our responsibility to ensure it does not occur again this weekend."