This Sunday’s Daytona 500 promises a more intense race than ever, if testing/practice laps and last Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout are any indication. E3 Spark Plugs is excited to see competitors in the nation’s most prestigious racing event battle it out on the newly repaved Daytona International Speedway. Dubbed “The Great American Race,” the Daytona 500 offers the biggest total prize money payout (upwards of $18 million) of any motorsports event in the U.S. and boasts a sold-out crowd each year. This year, the thrills and chills come even faster.
Last year, a pothole caused two major race delays that lasted a total of 2.5 hours, triggering a mass exodus of fans and TV viewers and prompting speedway officials to fast-track plans to repave the 2.5-mile track. First opened in 1959 and last repaved in 1978, the track had had all it could take of the scorching Florida summers, abrasive sand and sea air. Work started less than 12 hours after Kevin Harvick won the Coke Zero 400 on July 4. Within five months, workers completely tore up and replaced the entire track, layer by layer, using 50,000 tons of asphalt. By December 15, the new track was ready for a Goodyear tire test with 18 drivers.
Test and practice laps proved exciting enough. But Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, won by Kurt Busch, proved the new track a game-changer. Speeds hit 207 mph, drivers broke up into two-car groups and the 75-lap race featured a record 28 lead changes. Faster speeds, less brake usage, better grip and fewer worn tires mean more competitors in the race for longer periods. Things just got tougher for drivers.
“This is more of a chess game,” Jeff Burton told reporters. “This is going to be, ‘When do I get aggressive; when do I not get aggressive?’ A lot of times on the old surface, your car dictated when you could and when you couldn’t. What’s going to dictate that this time is how many laps are left.”
E3 Spark Plugs wishes all the Daytona 500 competitors luck this weekend. And if you’re looking to boost your own performance on the tracks or on the roadways, pick up a set of E3 car spark plugs or truck spark plugs. See you in Daytona!