Daytona testing right on track

Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said Tuesday that January testing is still very much in play.

"Right now NASCAR is double-checking certainties on some dates," he said during an informal chat over lunch. "Everybody wants to test in January. NASCAR does. We do. The drivers do. It's just making sure we have dates that work for everyone."

It's a win-win for everyone obviously.

There has been no January testing in Daytona since 2008; only fan fest-type activities. Having cars on the track should entice more fans to take a peek. Drivers and teams want testing because they will be running on a new track. Repaving is expected to be finished by Jan. 1.

"We want to make sure every driver has had the opportunity to run on the track so when they come back in Speed Weeks in February they have some data and can be competitive right from the get-go," Chitwood said. "I don't think it would be in anyone's best interest for them to show up in February having never turned a lap on brand new asphalt."

Consistency not enough: Back in Richmond a few weeks ago, Jeff Gordon acknowledged that consistency isn't good enough to win the Chase. At some point, he needed to snag some victories.

Two weeks into the Chase, Gordon remains Mr. Consistent — with no victories.

He finished 11th at Dover after a horrible 17.7-second green-flag stop in the closing laps. A dropped lugnut on a front tire ruined any chance of a victory — or even a top-five finish for Gordon, who was running seventh at the time.

The mistake indeed was costly He could have been in strong position, fifth in points, if not for the hiccup on pit road. Instead, he is eighth in the Chase standings.

"You can't give up those positions," Gordon said, "especially when you come to a place like this where most of the Chase guys are going to be up front."

Johnson's charge: Anybody who thought Jimmie Johnson was vulnerable got slapped around Sunday when he won at Dover. Even though he may suck the drama out of the Chase for the fifth consecutive year, the guy is amazing. He won at Dover for the sixth time in his career, collecting the maximum 195 points for winning the race and leading the most laps. He began the race 92 points behind Denny Hamlin in seventh place. He is now in second place, 35 points back.

— George Diaz

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad