Rushville Republican

Sports

February 20, 2013

Unknowns abound at Daytona

Hendrick horsepower will be tough to beat

RUSHVILLE — With the Daytona 500 set for this weekend there are plenty of unknowns as NASCAR kicks off the 2013 season.

It will be the first time the new "Gen 6" car will be in competition with a full 43 car field and the verdict is still out on whether or not it will improve the racing on the track.

One has to wonder if the Daytona 500 will become a two-car dance step as was the case last year?

There will be some indication of the racing the new car will produce in the two qualifying races on Thursday.

Unlike in previous years where there were numerous teams looking to make the field for the Daytona 500, only 45 drivers are looking for a spot in the race. Two teams will pack up after Thursday and wait for the next race.

Brian Keselowski and Mike Bliss posted the two slowest times during qualifying on Sunday and will have to race their way into the "500". With either one or both of these drivers sit back and wait to see if another team develops a problem and can’t finish the qualifying race or until there is a multi-car incident, opening up a starting position.

The other thing to watch this weekend is how many start and park cars will back the Daytona 500. Looking through the entry list I can envision six teams turning a few laps, parking for the day and leaving Florida with a decent paycheck.

I include on that list of potential start and park drivers, Josh Wise, Michael McDowell, Scott Speed, J.J. Yeley, Travis Kvapil and Joe Nemechek.

It does strike me as odd that the national press bemoans the fact that only 33 teams or a slightly higher number enter the Indianapolis 500 and how their might not be enough cars for a full field. But there has been no speculation on why there are only 45 cars entered for the Sprint Cup race, 45 cars in the Nationwide Series event and 39 in the Camping World Truck Series.

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