NASCAR seeks solution for overheating drivers

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NASCAR has made a rule change intended to keep Cup drivers cooler this weekend at Dover after heat become an issue last week on the Daytona road course.

NASCAR will allow Cup teams to remove about two-thirds of the right side window to help prevent drivers from overheating. If the change works, NASCAR may make this adjustments for other races.

Martin Truex Jr. raised concerns about how hot it was inside the car last weekend at Daytona.

“It was crazy hot,” he said. “I think probably without that break for lightning, a lot of guys wouldn’t have made it. It’s so hot in these things. I don’t know why we’re running a right‑side window at a road course. There’s just no airflow, none at all. 

Drawing that was sent to Cup teams allowing for an opening in the right side window of the car for Dover. (Image from NASCAR)

“I think if you talked to people that are at the track and they’re complaining about how hot it is outside the car and just to put it in perspective, when we get out of the car, that feels like air conditioning. I mean, I can’t tell you how hot it was in there today. Luckily feeling good after the race obviously, and was able to hold my own, but I just think there’s something we could do to make these things a little bit cooler.”

The National Weather Service reported that at 3:53 p.m. ET Sunday (about 30 minutes into the Cup race) the temperature at Daytona Beach International Airport, which is next to the track, was 92 degrees. The National Weather Service reported the heat index at that time there was 103 degrees.

When the race stopped for lighting at 4:53 p.m. ET, the National Weather Service reported the temperature was 89 degrees at the airport and a heat index of 99 degrees.

The heat has been a concern for drivers, Chris Buescher said this week.

“I would say two of the three hottest races I’ve ever been a part of have been this year with this Daytona race being one of them and Martinsville (in June) being another,” Buescher said in a Zoom session with media on Tuesday.

“The thing that has changed has been a right side window, so there’s pretty clear indication to me of what’s creating this heat that so many drivers are starting to be a little bit more vocal about because it’s almost excessive, so that’s been something that has been tough to deal with. … The heat’s been like 140-150 (degrees) and that’s where it really steps up, but I felt okay after the race (at Daytona). I mean, it was obviously hot and I was spent by all means, but plenty aware of my surroundings and not to the point where I was struggling. 

“I know that it was a situation where if that race would have been a whole lot longer, it very well could have been somebody had to start worrying about fluids and trying to cool off at the end.”

JJ Yeley stated on social media that he was overheated because his air conditioning unit failed last weekend at Daytona. He exited the car during the event.