NASCAR mulls minor engine changes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR will consider minor adjustments to reduce the possibility of engines overheating prior to the Daytona 500.

But otherwise officials were pleased with the results of Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, the first race since implementing changes to reduce tandem racing.

Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said before Sunday's qualifying for the 500 that complaints from teams about overheating were "moderate'' at best.

He said changes could come in the form of opening up the front grill slightly to allow more air flow or adjusting the pressure release valve.

Winner Kyle Busch said his engine temperature was around 300 degrees on the final lap and a half that he pushed Tony Stewart before sling-shotting to a 0.013 second win, the closest finish in the history of the event.

Pemberton said NASCAR will re-evaluate later in the week with temperatures expected to be much warmer during Thursday's qualifying races and Sunday's 500 than it was during the Shootout held at night.

"We said all along there was potential to make adjustments,'' Pemberton said.

Pemberton said there are no plans to tell drivers they cannot bump draft in the corners or make adjustments in the spoiler height to provide more stability. There were three major wrecks of eight, six and nine cars in the Shootout.

"The drivers know they can't push on the left rear end,'' Pemberton said. "They have to get acclimated.''

Pemberton said he was pleased that for the most part the two-car tandem was replaced with more old-school pack racing.

"Lots of hard work went into this by a lot of people,'' he said of all the changes NASCAR made to reduce the two-car dancing. "Hundreds and hundreds of hours went into it.''

Drivers appeared happy for the most part as well.

"This is a lot more fun than the two-car stuff was,'' Stewart said.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has said the tandem racing didn't fit his driving style, also was pleased.

"I like it better,'' he said. "The closing rate is a little fast. Guys will go flying backwards and forwards. We made a lot of great improvements, don't get me wrong. We have really made a lot of great improvements and I have more of my destiny in my hands in this type of racing.''

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.