NASCAR Notes: Will Indy Be Different?
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on July 22, 2014 | 1:44 P.M. EST
Could the new rules for this season lead to a differnet style of racing at Indianapolis? Joey Logano, who recently tested there, has some thoughts on that topic. (Photo: Getty Images)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway always has been a challenging place for stock cars to pass, but Joey Logano wonders if it might be a bit easier with the new setups because of the rule changes this year.
Logano was one of six drivers who took part in a Goodyear tire test last month and has an idea of what fans might see this weekend.
“I feel like the race itself will be quite a bit different,’’ said Logano, whose best Indy finish came last year when he placed eighth. “You have more drag down the straightaway and it is so long that the momentum of the trailing car will change quite a bit and be faster than the leading car at the end of the straightaway.
“Whether that is enough to pull up to him and get underneath him by getting into the corner, I don’t know until we get there. With two cars side-by-side, the third car will get a huge run and there will be three- and four-wide racing on restarts.
“I think that race, being one of the most special races of the year that we go to, we are going to be racing really hard on restarts and throwing caution to the wind because we want to win that thing and on restarts is the time to do it. Restarts will be nuts for that reason.’’
Logano said he thinks the drag of the cars and the draft could tighten the racing.
“I think it will be harder for the leader to take off and leave, which is a good thing for Indy,’’ he said. “We will have to wait and see, but that is the direction I am thinking it will go.’’
Defending race winner Ryan Newman isn’t convinced that the race will be much different from past years.
“I think track position is going to be as important as it always has been at Indy, if not more,’’ Newman said in comments distributed by Richard Childress Racing. “Horsepower will remain at a premium. You also have to get through the corners because that dictates how you are going to run in the straightaways. To win at the Brickyard, you will need the complete package and then some."
Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tested Monday and Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway.
It’s the first of four tests teams are allowed at NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks. The test comes after the Roush cars failed to score a top-10 finish last month at Michigan for the first time in the past 28 races there.
“We didn't expect to come here and to perform that poorly,’’ Edwards said. “We truly believed we would come here and this was going to be a track where we could turn things around. It showed us a couple of things. One, that we have things to work on. Two, that you can't rely on past performance. My average finish might be great here, but it doesn't matter now.’’
Stenhouse said he thought his car was fast there in June but got into the wall and that ruined his race. Biffle said he just wasn't good.
“We were further off in (June) than Ricky and some of the other guys were,’’ Biffle said. “We were probably closer to half a second off of the pace of the fast cars. I think since we have shown up here we have found three- or four-tenths of speed and I feel pretty good about that.’’
Richard Petty Motorsports and JTG Daugherty are each scheduled to test July 28-29 at Watkins Glen International. That will be the third test for both teams this season at a Sprint Cup track, leaving each with one such test.
Unlike Sonoma - where JTG Daugherty’s AJ Allmendinger tested alone - he’ll share the Watkins Glen test with one of the sport’s top road racers in Marcos Ambrose. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver had never finished outside the top three in a Cup race at the Glen until last year when Ambrose was eliminated by an accident.
“It’s always good to have (someone), especially Marcos because you can argue the last how many years he’s been the fastest guy or one of two fastest guys, but you can’t get caught up in making it a race at the test,’’ Allmendinger said. “At Sonoma, we showed we have good speed on the road course. We’re repairing that car. Hopefully we can get there and feel it out and it feels the same.’’
David Ragan will compete in three races this weekend, starting with a 100-lap Late Model race Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway. He then will compete in Saturday’s Nationwide race and Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ... Goodyear tested tires last month. Tony Stewart crashed during the test. Others who tested were Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.
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