Take a spin in the Daytona 500 pace car

In this Feb. 13, 2016 photo, a box suite is shown in the grandstands near the finish line of the at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The project was such a massive undertaking that architects had to account for the curvature of the Earth. It also got its own nickname, "Daytona Rising." Now, the $400 million renovation to Daytona International Speedway is complete and ready for its big debut. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (WFLA) – How does defending Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin, or any driver, strategize on one of the most famous pieces of asphalt in racing?

News Channel 8’s Paul Ryan found that out in the Daytona 500 pace car with Nascar driver Chris Buescher.

The pace car travels around the track at less than 100 miles per hour.

“We’re probably just shy of 200 around here, so basically double,” Buescher said of the speed of a race car.  “When you are going this slow, you actually have to turn right in the corner to stay on this track.

You know, Daytona, you are going to see a lot of corner entry and corner exit.  The banking falls away and picks up very quickly here.”

Buescher said that the Nascar fan philosophy of “go fast and turn left” isn’t exactly the case with the track embankments.

“We are actually two degrees to the right at 45 miles an hour.  We are turning right so we don’t slide down the hill.  So, drive fast and go left is not 100 percent accurate.”

Buescher said when things happen in a big group of cars on the track, they happen in a hurry.

However, he said Daytona is a track where grandma could get in her Lincoln and drive a lap and be okay, despite the steep embankments.

“Anybody could probably make a single lap.  It’s when you get in that group and the draft and stuff starts moving around, that’s when it starts to get pretty wild.”

Daytona is a very prestigious race, even in a pace car.

“If we could take a shopping cart around Daytona, it would be fun.”


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