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Should NASCAR run a Cup race on Daytona’s road course?

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Although talk has been that the October Charlotte playoff race could utilize the track’s road course, two Cup drivers suggest running a road course at another track.

Daytona International Speedway.

Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger both like the idea.

Understand that Newman has been outspoken about restrictor-plate racing, and Allmendinger, who tested the Charlotte road course last month, has raced on Daytona’s road course in the Rolex 24.

The Cup Series currently has two road courses on the schedule – Sonoma Raceway in June and Watkins Glen International in August. NASCAR has never had a road course race in its playoffs.

Newman says NASCAR should try the Daytona road course before running the Charlotte road course.

I think we should do it at Daytona in July first to get a taste for it,’’ Newman said Wednesday during Daytona 500 Media Day. “Put us on a race track as we are drivers, probably 70 percent have some experience with it. And put us in a position where we can do a litmus test for what that would be. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I’m all for it.

“I’d rather go to a road course in Birmingham than go to Talladega in the Chase. And I’d rather, right now at least, run the road course in Charlotte than the oval, which we’ve already done twice that year.’’

As for Allmendinger, he’s not sure fans would be for running the summer race on Daytona’s road course.

“I mean, I like change,’’ Allmendinger said Wednesday. “I like the opportunities and obviously, I’m going to be biased toward it, but I will say the infield getting into Turn 1 it’s pretty tight. 

“Now Charlotte it was pretty tight as well. I think you could make it work, but I think it’s more… obviously, you are not going to do it for the Daytona 500.  And the Fourth of July race still has a lot of history behind it. So, I don’t know if fans would kind of take it as well just because of the history behind the Fourth of July race. 

“But you know what it comes down to, if they are looking at change and that is a change, then great. Whatever it takes to build more excitement into some of these races. Especially, during the summer stretch or like NASCAR talked about if it was for the Chase at Charlotte, just to change something up to bring some more excitement to it. 

“I look at probably the best road course to try it on would be the Indy road course. Being able to drive that race track before when I was in the Rolex cars. I think that would be a fun course to try it on, but if they want to keep adding road courses I’m okay with it.”

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NASCAR America: NASCAR’s stars hit the track for the ‘Little 600’ (video)

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Like more than three dozen of his NASCAR Cup counterparts, Joey Logano is gearing up for the longest race of the year, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

To warm up, Logano, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and other NASCAR drivers headed to the GoPro Motorplex in North Carolina for the “Little 600.”

Check out how they fared in the above video that was on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

 

Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, marking the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has led the field to the green flag.

Harvick, a two-time Coke 600 winner, earned the top starting spot Thursday night with a lap of 193.424 mph in his Ford. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, who won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

Chase Elliott starts third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Erik Jones.

Points leader Kyle Larson will start 39th in the 40-car field after not making a qualifying attempt. He hit the wall in practice and then his team couldn’t get through qualifying inspection until one minute remained in the opening round of the session. The team was unable to get Larson out of the garage in time to make an attempt.

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Slugger Labbe: How do crew chiefs prepare for grueling Coca-Cola 600? (video)

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Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe stopped by the NASCAR America studio in Charlotte on Thursday.

Labbe gave his perspective on how NASCAR Cup crew chiefs will prepare for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. While the race length will be the same as it has been for decades, one significant change will have crew chiefs developing strategy that they’ve never had to deal with in the 600, namely, four different race stages.

Labbe also gave his take on the positives and negatives of the Laser Inspection Station for both pre- and post-race inspections.

Check out the above video.

NASCAR: Remembering Martin Truex Jr.’s dominating 2016 Coca-Cola 600 win

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In one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history, Martin Truex Jr. turned last year’s Coca-Cola 600 into a runaway one-man show, leading the field for 392 of 400 laps.

Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America took a look back at Truex’s record-setting win.

Check out the video above.