Watching The Numbers At Daytona

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Garage-area personnel have been glued to computer monitors at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, watching the numbers roll up after every lap, keeping track of every minor gain in speed by both friend and foe.

In reality, though, the more important numbers haven’t appeared yet. Those will arrive in February when teams return for hours and hours of practice leading to the Sprint Unlimited (formerly the Shootout) and the Daytona 500. Test speeds in the draft here this week have approached 200 miles per hour, and, without intervention by NASCAR in the context of rules changes, speeds will roll past 200 when the track opens again next month and teams reveal the “good” stuff.

Then, when everybody pretty much understands how fast everybody else is, drivers will start to try to figure out how to win the 500. And that involves figuring out the last 10 laps. And some luck.

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