DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) The Daytona 500 is shaping up to be a snoozer of a showcase.
Three exhibition races produced lackluster racing and little excitement beyond a pair of crashes Jimmie Johnson triggered. Now expectations are sinking in anticipation of Sunday's season-opening race and NASCAR has no plans to tweak the rules package, either.
Richard Petty, winner of a record seven Daytona 500s, was blunt Friday when asked if he thought Speedweeks had produced good racing.
''No, I don't,'' said The King.
The first race of the year was a 20-car, all-star event that ran single file until Johnson made an aggressive move for the win. His pass of Paul Menard for the lead collected 16 other cars in the lone highlight of the race.
Johnson erred again in a Thursday qualifying race when he made contact with Kyle Busch to cause Busch to spin. That was the extent of the action all the way through the second 150-mile race, another single-file parade until the last lap when Joey Logano pulled out of line from fourth place to drive to the win.
Denny Hamlin said his peers raced conservatively in the exhibitions.
''Guys just don't want to race until the end,'' Hamlin said. ''There's just nothing rewarding until the end. Short of giving us points every 10 laps, this is going to be a lot of what you see on superspeedway races simply because guys just want to get to the end. Knowing it's 500 miles, there is no reward for running the first 150 miles aggressively.''
NASCAR could have made adjustments to the rules package designed to tighten the racing for the 500, but any changes likely would have been needed prior to a pair of Friday practice sessions. Jay Fabian, the new director of the Cup Series, said NASCAR has had ''zero discussions'' about changing any rules.
Car owner Richard Childress was hopeful the action will be improved with the full, 40-car field Sunday. Team owner Rick Hendrick dismissed the complacency so far, saying drivers are merely protecting their Daytona 500 cars.
Roger Penske held out hope the Daytona 500 will be a better show.
''The racing will be certainly better on race day,'' said Penske, who has two of the favorites to win the Daytona 500 in Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Tony Stewart, co-owner of four strong Ford entries, didn't want to link the early Speedweeks racing to the Daytona 500.
''The goal at the end of the day is to win the Daytona 500,'' Stewart said. ''I don't think we put a lot of emphasis on winning the qualifying races. If you can win it, great. In no way do you want to jeopardize your primary car to do so.''
---
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Recent NASCAR Discussions

NASCAR All-Star Race Preview on Sat, May 2019 by Shazman
NASCAR Digital Ally 400 on Sat, May 2019 by Shazman
NASCAR Gander RV 400 Preview on Sun, May 2019 by Shazman
NASCAR GEICO 500 Preview on Sun, Apr 2019 by Shazman
NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 on Fri, Apr 2019 by Shazman
Loading...

NASCAR Odds

No NASCAR odds found

NASCAR Predictions & Odds

Thumbnail NASCAR All-Star Race Predictions In its annual mid-season exhibition race, the 2019 Monster Energy All-Star Race is set to get underway later tonight. Here’s the drivers that we think can contend...
Thumbnail Digital Ally 400 Predictions After a quick turnaround, with just five days since the last race, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Kansas today for the running of the Digital Ally 400....
Thumbnail Gander RV 400 Predictions The NASCAR Monster Energy Series moves to Dover International Speedway this afternoon for the running of the Gander RV 400. Here’s some drivers we like to contend for the...
Thumbnail GEICO 500 Predictions The NASCAR Monster Energy Series will compete on one of the fastest tracks in racing for the GEICO 500. Here’s some drivers we like to contend for the victory.
Thumbnail Food City 500 Predictions The NASCAR Monster Energy Series waves the green flag on the Food City 500 later this afternoon. Here’s the drivers we like to...