NASCAR’s opening day had all the making of a spectacular coming out party with a record number of lead changes until the asphalt began breaking up on the seam between Turns 1 and 2, causing two red flags during the Daytona 500. Drivers returned from the second red flag with 39 laps remaining after an almost 45-minute delay with Kevin Harvick in the lead. The first, at lap 122, lasted 1 hour, 41 minutes before the drivers got back to racing.
When the hole first appeared, Kurt Busch radioed to his crew that it approximately eight by six inches on the track.
Earlier in the week, uneven conditions of the track — particularly coming out of Turn 4 — contributed to the instability of the ride. Martin Truex Jr., who turned the 11th fastest lap Thursday afternoon referred to the craters as “Volkswagens."
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“Have you ever gone skiing and you hit moguls the size of Volkswagens? That’s what it feels like,” Truex said. “This is the roughest it’s ever been. You can bounce the front end off the race track. which keeps the car from turning.” NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France quickly addressed the problem Sunday.
“We really discovered that we now have a set of circumstances that would have taken longer that this to fix,” France said during the first red flag. “We are having a great Daytona 500 and we are going to have a great Daytona 500. But we put three different solutions that we had in place and it wasn’t until the third one that it appears that it will now get it remedied. That’s just disappointing for our fans and for ourselves. That’s where we are.”