by Jeffrey Price
on February 11, 2010 @ 00:00:00
Superspeedways (2.00-plus miles)
Daytona International Speedway
Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Analysis: Daytona International Speedway is one of two tracks where speed is limited by the use of restrictor plates that place a ceiling on the engine's horsepower. However, the cars still run at very high speeds, and drafting off other cars is the key to success. Drafting is the technique of using the air coming off another car to break wind resistance and create downforce for your own car. If a car loses the draft, it will run one or two seconds slower per lap. Handling is a big factor at Daytona, as well. With cars running at the same speeds and drafting off one another, the cars race around the track in tight packs, three- and four-wide. Any mistake by one car can lead to a multiple-car accident known to fans as "The Big One."
Auto Club Speedway
Location: Fontana, Calif.
Analysis: Opening in 1997, Auto Club Speedway, formerly California Speedway, is one of NASCAR's newer arenas. The track features fast straight-aways and flat corners. Handling is a key at Fontana. Engine attrition can also be an issue. Long green flag runs are common, making fuel strategy a factor, as well. Tire wear is not a factor, so taking two or no tires for track position is a common tactic. Auto Club Speedway is very similar in configuration to Michigan International Speedway. The two tracks are often considered sister tracks, with teams that perform well at one track usually performing well at the other.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Location: Speedway, Ind.
Analysis: Indianapolis Motor Speedway falls into the sub-category of a flat track. A flat track represents any track with less than 13 degrees of banking. Despite its lack of banking, cars run at high speeds at Indianapolis. Downforce is a must in order to pick up the throttle early in the turns. Cars can start to push on the long green runs, which are common at the Brickyard. Passing is extremely difficult and lapped cars are rare, so track position is tantamount. The surface is not hard on tires, so two-tire stops are a common strategy.
Michigan International Speedway
Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Analysis: Michigan International Speedway is similar to Auto Club Speedway. The track is tough on engines, so attrition is usually a factor. Drivers like the track because there is a lot of room to pass. Three-wide, and even four-wide, racing is commonplace; drivers can pass just about anywhere. Long green runs are the norm, so fuel strategy often comes into play. Wrecks are most common coming out of the corners as it is easy for drivers to carry too much speed out of the turns and slide toward the wall. The race surface is NASCAR's first to use polymer-enhanced asphalt, which protects the track from Michigan's cold winters.
Location: Long Pond, Penn.
Analysis: Pocono Raceway is as big as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, but it is not as fast because of the flat banking and the existence of three, instead of the usual two, sets of turns. Additionally, each turn is very different from another, so teams are forced to compromise on their set up. Like the other flat tracks, downforce is very important. Engine problems are relatively common at Pocono because of the extreme shift in RPMs, with cars gearing way down in the sharp corners and then approaching 200 MPH in the front stretch. The best way to pass is to beat another driver to the gas coming out of the turns.
Location: Talladega, Ala.
Analysis: Talladega Superspeedway is the other restrictor plate track on the Sprint Cup schedule. How effectively the drivers use the draft off other cars, to create downforce for their own cars, is the key to winning. Handling is not as important at Talladega as at Daytona, and tire strategy can come into play. Cars race in large packs creating lanes of cars three- and four-wide. It is important for cars to be able to run several different lines, as it is hard to tell which lane is going to move the fastest. The best way to pass is to get in the fastest lane and use the draft to get a run. High speeds and sharp turns lead to major crashes.
About Jeffrey Price
Price has been a KFFL contributor since January 2008.
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases
Fantasy Football Rankings: Standard Scoring
Fantasy Football Rankings: PPR Scoring
Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts: White Sox chaos coming?
Fantasy Football Rankings: Scoring only