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NASCAR looking into slow pace of Daytona 500

The slow race pace early in the Daytona 500 did not go unnoticed by NASCAR and the circumstances leading to that will be reviewed.

In the race’s first stage, the field slowed the pace down dramatically when going into fuel-saving mode. Typically, a full-speed lap around Daytona International Speedway in a pack would be in the 46- to 47-second bracket. But when the pace slowed Monday because the field was not full throttle, the lap times were over 50s.

“I think that’s something that just over time, 76 years of NASCAR racing, our race teams are just so good, and our teams are so good, and our drivers are so good, and the strategy and the preparation that goes into these events, they don’t leave any stones unturned,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. “The Daytona 500, or superspeedway racing in general, has kind of come down to that, and basically what you’re trying to do is spend the least amount of time on pit road that you can. So, you’re getting through those stoppages, whether it be Stage 1 or 2, you’re getting the opportunity to gain some track position.

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“It is something that we’re looking into. Ultimately, we want to drop the green flag on the race, and they’re racing as hard as they can until we drop the checkered flag. There’s some strategy in between there. We’ll definitely take a much deeper dive at this particular situation and the strategy that goes into it.”

Martin Truex Jr. came over his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team radio at one point and said it felt like they were “crawling.” His teammate, Denny Hamlin, described it as a 175-mile-per-hour “pace lap” on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast.