NASCAR to use same superspeedway aero package at Daytona

SONOMA, Calif. -- NASCAR will return to Daytona International Speedway next week with the same basic aerodynamic package that it used for the Daytona 500 and Talladega earlier this year.

After three cars got airborne at Talladega, NASCAR vowed to take a look to see if it should make any changes.

Six days before cars are scheduled for practice at Daytona, NASCAR opted not to make any changes, executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said.

"The one car that got in the air on its own was the 20 car [of Matt Kenseth] and we looked at that. ... Based on what we saw for the initial Daytona race, we're satisfied with the race package we have," O'Donnell said Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

Drivers obviously don't want their cars to get airborne, but they also don't agree what fix is needed. NASCAR has some new rules as far as the bolting on the deck lid for Daytona, but that has more to do with teams working in that area to get a speed advantage.

"NASCAR has done a really good job of keeping the parts of a race car on to keep them out of the grandstands, and we need to continue to keep the race car on the ground so the biggest piece of mass that we have is not endangering the fans of our sport," Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman said last month.

"The best way to do that is to slow them down. I've never seen a car get airborne sitting still. There's your baseline. We have to find a good number in which the cars stay on the ground and perform a good, exciting race. We've done it in the past."

However, Kyle Busch, who said after Talladega he wished he could have just skipped the race, advocates a change.

"I was certainly hoping that we would see something coming off the race that we saw at Talladega -- it wasn't probably very exciting racing, and [it] seemed pretty dangerous for all of us drivers in having three cars go airborne in that event and Danica Patrick have a heavy, heavy hit in the inside wall -- real reminiscent to my hit at Daytona [in 2015].

"No rule changes is not a welcoming sight for me, but it is what it is. So we'll go and crash some more."

The worry about slowing the cars down is that they would just continue to run in a tight pack and run into each other. NASCAR wants some form of pack racing to avoid the return of the "tandem racing" where one driver pushing the other is faster than the cars running in the pack.

But three-wide pack racing can also look outrageous. Austin Dillon's car got airborne after he spun and then was hit by another car, sending him flying into the catch fence in the final lap at Daytona a year ago. He was uninjured, but five fans were treated for being hit by debris.

"Every situation is different," defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin said. "Austin Dillon, if he wasn't in a pack, he wouldn't have gotten lifted off. I don't know what the right thing to do is. You can try to slow us down, but it is just going to make us run tighter.

"The whole reason we're wrecking in the first place is we're giving each other no room whatsoever. ... We're all giving each other no room to make mistakes and eventually someone does and that's what causes the wreck."

NASCAR slightly decreased the amount of horsepower generated by Sprint Cup cars at restrictor-plate tracks for the 2016 season.

"Following Talladega, there were a lot of suggestions made, and I certainly had some opinions of why passing was as difficult as it was and the energy that it created in the pack and the need to bump draft and slam draft and [then you] crash," six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said.

"I know that they don't want to overreact. We're going to a different track -- Daytona works a little bit differently than Talladega does. I feel comfortable with it."