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Changes coming to new Nationwide Series car after Daytona test session?

EDITOR'S NOTE - Changes were made to this story after it originally was posted to reflect more participant's opinions. NNSracing.com got the impression after Tuesday's post-test that NASCAR was considering changes. That apparently is not the case.

By Lee Montgomery
lee.montgomery@nnsracing.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash said Tuesday night that NASCAR officials are not considering changes to the new Nationwide Series car, despite complaints after Tuesday’s drafting session at Daytona International Speedway about how loose the cars are in the draft.

NASCAR had a short meeting with drivers and crew chiefs after Tuesday’s session to talk about reaction to the first drafting session with the car at Daytona. The car has also been tested at Talladega Superspeedway, but there weren't as many cars at that test.

Balash said the new car is eight hours into its 20-year life, and now is not the time for kneejerk reactions. Some drivers have told Balash privately that the car handles fine in the draft, though there were numerous opposite opinions. Balash also said the teams need time to figure the cars out, too.

"Everybody is really loose," Braun Racing driver Reed Sorenson said. "I did a couple of laps in the draft, and it was enough to know that we were too loose and that everybody was, too, so hopefully they can figure a few things out for us to try tomorrow."

Is there a quick fix? Does it even need to be fixed? Those questions can’t be answered after one day of superspeedway testing.

"It’s definitely a handful," Penske Racing driver Justin Allgaier said. "We just got done with our meeting and are trying to figure out some stuff to make them a little bit more comfortable to drive. The funny part is is by themselves, they’re fine. You don’t have any indication that they’re going to be more than what you’d ever want.

"But once you get out there, it kind of changed all day, which was odd to me. Certain cars behind you made your car do different things. We’re trying to figure out what to do to make them better."

Braun Racing driver Jason Leffler said that because the new car has a higher center of gravity, it feels different and rolls more. But Leffler sounded like a driver who may not want any changes to the car.

"It was loose, really, really loose," Leffler said. "Everybody was sliding around. It’s just going to take time for everybody to get a handle on these cars. Once we do that, it will be good. I just like it because it’s going to spice the racing up. It’s something different. And if they’re loose, I guess it will be really fun to drive."

Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wasn't sure changes needed to be made, either.

"Right now, the Mustang is loose, but, then again, I look at it as maybe a good thing," Stenhouse Jr. said. "You’ve really got to drive it. It’s not just hold it on the mat and see who is gonna be there to cross the finish line at the end. I think it’s gonna be interesting, and I think it’s gonna be more of a handling race track than we’ve seen in the Nationwide cars in years past."

Stenhouse said the new cars have plenty of front grip but are lacking in rear grip.

"It’s got a lot of front grip, which is not a bad thing, but we’re trying to find a way to add rear grip," Stenhouse said. "We worked on some stuff and I’m not sure we got it figured out exactly right, but we’ve got a game plan going into tomorrow and we’ll see if it works."

Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch said the warm Daytona temperatures weren’t the issue, for it will be hot in July for the race, too.

"It’s loose in the draft around other cars and stuff," Busch said. "It sucks up really good. It sucks up kind of like a truck – real fast and abrupt, but you are loose through the corner."

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