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August 30, 2014

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The Shootout could be a good indication of things to come

The only thing missing from the Budweiser Shootout was a longer battle to the finish. A late-race caution on lap 70 worked to Kevin Harvick’s advantage, as he was able to grab the checkered flag in a dash to the finish with only two laps to go. Harvick, who had been fighting flu-like symptoms this week, captured his second consecutive Shootout victory. Harvick won this Shootout in a backup car.

The larger restrictor plate and new aero package worked to create some great racing as the cars remained in one pack for the majority of the race. We didn’t see the cars separate into packs as we have in the past since the new plate gave the cars enough throttle response to rebound from being shuffled around on the track. I think we’ll have a lot of good racing to look forward to in the Daytona 500.

Last laps of the Budweiser Shootout

After the caution on lap 70, the race was restarted with two laps to go. But the field was frozen during the green-white-checkered finish when Jeff Gordon bumped Greg Biffle, creating a wreck that ended the race under caution. I thought it was ironic that Gordon, who lobbied NASCAR to implement the no bump-drafting rule last year, bumped Biffle in turn three and caused the wreck that determined the outcome of the Saturday’s race.

No aerodynamic detail is too small when the Cup teams are looking for every available advantage. I believe it was Larry McReynolds who mentioned that the teams apply several layers of clear coat to the cars in order to smooth over the edges of every decal. To think that something as thin as a decal could put a car at an aerodynamic disadvantage is amazing.

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