A Reflective Look Back On The 2013 Daytona 500

Jimmie Johnson


(WOMR file photo)

There was so much pre-race hoopla about the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup race cars, leading up to the 2013 Daytona 500.  The drivers, especially Dale Earnhardt, Jr. expressed raving positive opinions of this new race car.

At last, I have now had four days to digest what I witnessed first hand, and analyze the actual raciness of the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup race cars at Daytona.  Let me first say that the aesthetics of this race car are really cool!  The Gen 6 race car is really a very exciting, fast looking race car.  It just looks like it is a fast racing machine!

The Gen 6 race cars very closely resemble the namesakes of their showroom models.  That should really help that old adage of, “win on Sunday-sell on Monday”!  Undoubtedly, that will make both the automobile manufacturers and the loyal consumers very happy.

However, the first “official”race of the Gen 6 car in 2013 was, for the most part, a very boring, follow the leader race.  That is all except the last approximately 25 laps.  For the first 75 % of the race there was little to no side-by-side racing.  The Daytona 500 was a single file line of cars, nose to tail, driving up next to the fence, conducting a follow-the-leader trail!


Now having made both of those points, NASCAR has to deal with this double edged sword.  On one hand they have solved the manufacturer identity crisis.  The CoT car was a uniform design that was manufacturer identity deplete.  There was no way to identify a Ford, Chevy, or a Toyota without seeing the appropriate logo on the race car.  However, now there is no doubt what the manufacturer is as the Gen 6 Sprint Cup car goes by.

Nevertheless, now NASCAR needs to tackle the raciness of car, at least, at the restrictor plate race tracks.  The challenge is to try to get these cars racing better before the April race at Talladega.

Brian France, and Robin Pemberton have hinted, after the conclusion of the Daytona 500, that there may be some tweaks in the Gen 6 cars to increase competition!  I certainly hope so!

Different Aero Packages

In the next few weeks we will see just how the Gen 6 cars will race on the rest of the variety of race tracks, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Martinsville, and the like.  At these tracks, there will be a different aerodynamics race package that applies.  For one thing, the rear spoiler blade is nearly doubled in size.  That alone will produce more downforce on the race cars, and hopefully make the cars racier!

So tomorrow, Friday, the teams will unload their Gen 6 cars from their haulers at Phoenix.  The Friday practice sessions should begin to give us, the race fans, a preview of what the racing will be at these intermediary race tracks.

The following week the racers move west and just slightly north about 250 miles to Las Vegas.  There I will be able to, personally, witness this different aerodynamic package slated for these intermediary race tracks, and report back on the quality of competition.  It is with great anticipation that I await the racing in Las Vegas!


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