Thursday’s first day of the NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway features a wide variety of media availabilities. First up were NASCAR president Mike Helton and vp of competition Robin Pemberton, who among other things introduced Richard Buck as the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director.
Buck, a 30-plus year veteran of motorsports who has won several Indianapolis 500s as a crew chief and worked in NASCAR, IndyCar and sports cars, replaces John Darby. Darby will move into a role at NASCAR’s Research & Development Center. Buck transitions into the role after the Rolex 24 at Daytona, his last race with the IMSA group after he was an integral part of the merger process between the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series from a competition and technical standpoint.
“I’m eager and ready to pursue this unique opportunity to serve as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director,” Buck said in a series release. “I appreciate the faith that NASCAR’s management team has entrusted in me for this role. As we prepare to launch the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, I’m thrilled to expand my role in the sport of NASCAR, and I look forward to helping the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition team continue to produce the best racing in the world.”
Added Helton, “We’re working on recreating NASCAR’s approach to competition to serve the industry better. As we get the season up and running past Daytona, there will be more evidence of that.”
Pemberton confirmed the technical changes that have already been announced for 2014, with an half-inch increased rear spoiler for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, and adding a new cooling system to the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series vehicles. Both Nationwide and Trucks will also have a new recommended spec radiator.
When asked whether the spoiler adjustment for Cup could potentially see a return of the “two-car tandem” that dominated restrictor plate races a couple years ago, Pemberton denied that would happen.
“There’s not been a big enough suck up into the draft and this should help,” he explained. “Guys couldn’t make a run at times. We’d been talking to the teams since mid-last year and the spoiler change was one that came to us through the teams.”
More will come throughout the day from the other media availabilities, and also when cars hit the track. The first session of the day was postponed by rain.