When Will Ferrell’s title character used the phrase “I wanna go fast” in the 2006 movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” it became a favorite line to throw out around the motorsports world. But Friday at Dover International Speedway, it wasn’t quite such a happy topic.
Kyle Busch kicked off the discussion about speed during his media availability in which he said drivers are going “really fast” and probably “too fast” around the one-mile concrete oval. His comments came after Cup Series teams had 50 minutes of practice and the two fastest drivers, Kurt Busch (pictured) and Kyle Larson, ran 168 mph laps which were four miles an hour faster than the current track qualifying record of 164 mph.
“Yeah, there’s no question you feel like you’re going really fast,” Kyle Busch said. “The faster we tend to go in the middle of the corners doesn’t always produce the best racing … it’s going to be big numbers for qualifying, obviously, but we’ll see how that translates to the race. I’m not overly excited about it. We’ll just have to fight through it and see what happens.
“You pretty much know as a driver what too fast is. If you have a problem here now with the speeds we’re carrying through the corners, it’s going to hurt. It’s really going to hurt. … The IndyCar guys, they were flying around here and they don’t come here anymore because it was too fast. It was dangerous for them. So, eventually, there comes a point where it could be too fast for a stock car as well. … I’d much rather appreciate racing and being able to race at a more tolerable speed than what we’re going right now.”
Busch said there is “no question” that the cars are approaching the danger zone in speeds.
Cup Series teams are using the 750 horsepower package this weekend without the aero ducts. The pole speed for this race last year was 158.103 mph, run by Larson.
“You get paid to go fast, so let’s go fast I guess,” said Chase Elliott. “It’s not fun hitting something real hard anytime you do, and certainly isn’t going to feel good when you do at these speeds. Definitely it’s physical for sure and I think this is going to be a very, very physical race on Sunday, especially if the sun comes out and it’s hot.
“It’s fast. Is it too fast? This is our job. We sign up for it, and I think it is what it is.”
Martin Truex Jr. said he couldn’t explain how fast it feels. A former Dover winner, Truex admitted its “pretty hairy” and a wild ride, but fun.
“There’s no question it’s going to be harder to get close to someone as fast as we’re going,” said Truex. “There’s no way around that, that’s simple science. I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s really fast and obviously you don’t want to hit anything. It’s a race car so there’s always danger involved I guess.”
Freddie Kraft, the spotter for Darrell Wallace Jr., offered this observation from the roof: