The Budweiser Shootout was wild and crazy and wreck-filled. The Gatorade Duels were tame and mild and mostly uneventful (unless your name is Danica Patrick).
So what does that tell us about how the Daytona 500 will look on Sunday? With the starting grid now set following Thursday's Duels, here is how the drivers predict the 500 will go:
NASCAR is trying to dictate physics. Physics says two cars are going to push and they're trying to make rule changes to keep us from doing it, so it is kind of a hybrid of pack racing and tandem racing. It is causing a pretty unsafe situation.
We tore up two really good race cars not of our doing, and they're going to tear up a hell of a lot more. ... I'm concerned we're not going to finish. It is going to make for us riding around in the back and trying to be there at the end. Wait for everybody else to wreck.
I think what you saw (Thursday) is what you are going to see on Sunday. It's just hard to make any ground up. You make a move trying to be aggressive and you lose a spot. It's very much going to be a ‘protect your position' race until you get yourself in the last little bit. Then you are just going to have to go like hell and hope for the best.
The second (Duel) was kind of calm. I think everybody is starting to figure out where we can push, where we can't push. At the end of the day, you can't push in the corners if you are not already on them in the corners. I think everybody is figuring that out.
Martin Truex Jr.
Just overheating all day and couldn't really go or even race. Just had to keep air on the nose and so that kind of limits you from doing anything. You can't suck up to anybody and get a run and try to get to the front.
The temperatures are just way too hot; you can't really race. The grilles are so tight that at 240 degrees in the pack, you are just sitting there and you can't really make a move. That is why everybody was so content to stay single-file.
I think the (500) will be similar to what you (saw Thursday). You got to get these cars to 500 miles; it doesn't matter what you do at 150. It's a long day.
I think the guys that get impatient are the guys that will get in trouble, and the guys that are smart will race smart. I think that's typically what it comes down to here anyway.
Five hundred miles at a superspeedway is a long, long, long race. You just got to race the race, be careful of who you're around, know when to push, know when to ride and take care of it.