Jeff Gordon: 'Absolutely' Fair For NASCAR To Instruct Drivers To Pack-Draft At Daytona

During the lunch break of Friday's preseason test session at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR called all of the Sprint Cup Series drivers together for a meeting.

The message: We strongly suggest you guys draft in a pack when practice resumes.

Prior to that point, drivers had only gone on single-car runs or attempted the two-car drafts – a plague which NASCAR is trying to eradicate.

Some of the drivers, such as five-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson, weren't too thrilled about NASCAR's instructions to draft in a pack. Johnson said he "didn't want to take any chances with this car" and said his No. 48 ride was "way too fast" to risk crashing it.

But as it turned out, most of the drivers complied with NASCAR's request. After all, this is a test – and officials need to learn whether the adjustments they're making to the cars is working.

"If their reason for asking us to participate is to determine where everything really is at with the package they have brought here...I think we all have to be in," said Jeff Gordon, Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports. "... They asked a favor our of us, and I think we were happy to do it."

All of the cars escaped the 20-minute spurt of old-school pack racing unscathed except for Jeff Burton, who brushed the wall. Gordon said it was wilder than he expected.

"I think they left a few things out of the instructions on the drafting," Gordon said with a chuckle. "Once we got out there, I thought we were like five (laps) to go in the Daytona 500."

Kurt Busch topped the session with a top average lap speed of 206.058 mph – far above the traditional 200 mph mark NASCAR typically prefers.

But both drivers and NASCAR officials said they were comfortable with the higher speeds, and NASCAR expects the Daytona 500 will see speeds above 200 mph.

To satisfy nervous engine tuners, though, NASCAR is reducing the size of the restrictor plate for Saturday's final test day.

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