Daytona is one of the fastest and most exciting tracks in the sports history and is home to the most prestigious race in NASCAR, the Daytona 500. Every year the sport migrates down to Daytona to race in the first race of the season. This race always delivers and when the checkered flag drops there are always over reactions and wild takes, especially with the introduction of a new car and a new era of racing. This year was no different with everything from lug nut issues all the way to the return of the blow over debate and questioning the sports safety.
The first moment that really raised eyebrows about the new car was the single lug nut, a change from the traditional 5 lug nut system that NASCAR has run with across all 3 national series for ages. This change was, as per usual in NASCAR, not taken well by some of the community that hates to see the sport they love change no matter what the change actually is. The single lug nut also brought up talks about what would happen should one be loose or not put on properly, that question was answered by Kaz Grala early on in the Daytona 500 when a wheel came right off the flashy #50 cars owned by Floyd Maywether. The wheel coming off could have gone a lot worse than it did, the car did not fling out of control, the loose tire did not get shot into the air by another car hitting it, the car made its way onto the pits skating on rims and got a new tire on. The second tire malfunction was when Justin Haley had a tire fall off and had his brakes fall apart along with it, unlike Girls incident where the tire just came off the rest of the car with no other collateral damage. Both of these incidents had people questioning the single lug nut system and how safe it was for drivers. Both of these incidents are nothing more than user errors by the pit crews changing tires. The wheels of both drivers were not fully secured by the tire changer and that is what caused the tire to come off the car. The only thing that was slightly concerning was that on the Door Bumper Clear podcast Brett Griffin, the spotter for Justin Haley said there was seemingly no warning like with the old system, the tire just fell off. WIth the 5 lug nut system when a wheel starts to fall off the driver can feel a vibration and can tell when they need to come back down pit road, according Brett, it just happens. The new penalty system also comes into play for NASCAR, before the new car came out a loose lug nut was just a money fine, now there is a 4 race suspension to crack down on crew chiefs leaving lugs un done and ensuring a fully tightened wheel for driver and fan safety.
The next big concern with the car was when the rookie driving the #21 car, Harrison Burton, had the first blow over of the new car, in the very first race. The driver was getting a very hard push from Brad Keselowski and got turned before taking flight and flipping over on the back stretch. There have been concerns about blow overs for NASCAR as long as the sport has been around cars have flipped and blown over, especially at the super speedway tracks in Daytona and Talladega. The most recent car that was known for blowing over was the COT, or car of tomorrow, could seemingly blow over any time it got turned sideways. Even up to last year at the first Talladega race Joey Logano blew over and NASCAR took immediate action to bring in a new package that would prevent the blow overs and keep their drivers safe. NASCAR has always taken safety as their first concern above anything else and with Burton blowing over it would not be a surprise if there was a new super speedway package ushered in shortly.
With all this being said, we do need to remember that this is in fact a brand new car and this was the first meaningful race that it has seen in its very short life. There is no shortage of questions, comments, concerns, and twitter crew chiefs that have a lot to say about the new car and what can be improved on but in reality the best thing is to wait and see what happens.