DAYTONA — What does the NASCAR Super Bowl of stock car racing and the NFL Super Bowl have in common?
Well, when the NFL decides to go to an 18-game regular season in 2012, that means the Super Bowl will be pushed back a week next February.
And if you think NASCAR wants to run its Daytona 500 on the same Sunday, you haven’t been paying attention in your sports marketing 101 class.
NASCAR did the only thing it could and announced that next year’s Daytona 500 will be run a week later than usual — on the fourth Sunday of February.
“We’re not going to deny the fact that part of this also is in dealing with the NFL,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s racing operations boss, said. “Who knows where they’ll go with an 18-game schedule? But we want to get ahead of that. Either way, we think it’s the right thing to do.”
Daytona International Speedway boss Joe Chitwood said the move was made with fans in mind.
“We also know some of our great fans like to plan their visit to the ‘world centre of racing’ well in advance, so we are announcing the 2012 date much earlier in the season to minimize any inconveniences in planning their visit,” he said.
NASCAR made one final tweak to the cooling-system rules just before the Start of Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Because of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s at race time, NASCAR allowed teams to increase the size of their grille openings from 50 to 60 square inches.
That allowed more air through the ducts to cool water temperatures. It’s estimated it could lower engine fluid temperatures by 10 degrees.
If it wasn’t obvious already, Tony Stewart, winner of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona, admitted that team orders are just fine with him when it comes to pushing a pal for a win.
“I talked to Clint (Bowyer) before the race,” Stewart said of his Kevin Harvick Inc. teammate. “I had told him if we were running second and he was leading and we had a pack around us, that I was going to just keep pushing.
“I wanted to make sure a Kevin Harvick, Inc., car won. That’s the hard part, making that decision not to try to win a race in an effort for the organization.
“There is that potential that we just stay in line like that, and I probably would have ran second instead of first.”