Sarah Crabill / Stringer
The Clash at Daytona is a sprint compared to the regular NASCAR races, but there is still a lot we can learn about the upcoming Daytona 500 from the 75 lap race.
For one, the 2018 package makes these cars a handful. Right from the start, it was obvious that the cars were all extremely loose.
Kyle Larson 42 had a big save when his car got loose mid corner, sending him down onto the apron.
There were plenty of close calls and failed moves as the cars got loose any time the airflow changed.
Kyle Busch had a moment fighting to keep his car going straight, while Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. both had scary moments in the pack.
The second thing we learned was also related to the new aerodynamics. Passing will be harder, but in a good way. We saw a number of moves attempted that, because of the cars’ tendency to get loose, the drivers had to back off. Usually, hard passing is a bad thing, but since even the leaders’ cars were on edge, it doesn’t mean we will be watching a conga line for 500 miles.
Teams might get the rear ends under control with more practice time, but the way the cars handled in the clash, it will be up to the skill of drivers to make moves, which is exactly what we want in racing.
Brad Keselowski went from last to first to win the clash, which bodes well for any drivers who didn’t qualify as well as they hoped. Big gains will be possible.