DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2000) - According to David Starr, the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will feature a lot of student drivers on Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18. There aren't any Driver's Ed classes scheduled...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2000) - According to David Starr, the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will feature a lot of student drivers on Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18.
There aren't any Driver's Ed classes scheduled for that date, at least not on the hallowed grounds of the 2.5-mile trioval superspeedway. But Starr says that class will still be in session for many of the NCTS drivers trading paint on the high banks that day. Call it Pass and Gas 101.
"The Truck Series guys are going to have to learn several things during the race at Daytona," said Starr, part-time pilot this year of the No. 35 Unified Office Network Chevrolet Silverado. "And one of the most important is how to draft properly."
"The draft does play a key role at some tracks like Texas, California and Michigan, but here we have a lot more speed and it takes longer to get up to full speed. This means that if you get out of line it is going to be extremely difficult to catch up. Many of the guys racing in the trucks - myself included - have little or no experience with this type of a race so we are going to have to learn as much as we can in practice."
The NCTS 250 will consist of 100 laps around DIS, and many drivers are expecting one of the most memorable races of the season, and probably the fastest.
In testing, the drivers hit speeds above 190 mph in the draft, faster than even the NASCAR Winston Cup cars that averaged slightly under 188-mph in their pre-race test sessions. Though not as aerodynamic as the cars, the trucks have an advantage because they do not yet run restrictor plates at Daytona, or any other track they visit.
"We don't have restrictor plates so the fans should expect to see a good old-fashioned race," said Starr. "Drafting and passing should be like the 'good-old days.' You could pass a guy in the turn and he could get right under you and take the position back."
"It will be back and forth the entire race - passing and being passed. You've really got to stay alert because things happen so fast at these speeds. These trucks are so evenly matched a key to winning the race will be staying in pit sequence. The guys working the pit stops will play a very critical role at Daytona and they could decide the outcome of the race."
Pit stops could provide the way to Victory Lane, and not just because of track position. Fuel mileage is shaping up as a major factor. So pit strategy could be just as important as pit efficiency.
"Gas mileage is another key to this event," said Starr. "Coming into the last few laps, don't be surprised to see a few teams try and stretch things out so they can sneak away with a win. Everyone wants to win every race, but the chance to win at Daytona - and especially the very first truck race here - will have many drivers and teams working that much harder. This is the chance of a lifetime to fulfill the dream that we all have about winning at Daytona."
The NCTS 250 will be televised live on ESPN at 11 a.m., ET. Fans can also catch the action on MRN radio. The qualifying session is set for Wednesday, February 16.