It’s been so long since we last had Cup practice before an intermediate track race. Unfortunately, practice in this package kinda sucked.
It’s not like the practice data from previous years in the low df package, in the high downforce package, cars are equal – the sheet is monotone, the difference in speed is not discernable for most drivers. Some cars go out and run solo, which leads to better lap times in this package. Some drivers seek traffic because they want to see what the car will really do in a racing scenario.
Everyone has a different approach, so it’s necessary to watch practice or I’ll watch it for you a couple times. With the session only being an hour long, some teams might solely focus on Q runs.
Driver and crew chief interviews will be important. I’m not going to be glued to the radio on Sunday, it’s one of the few days that I cut loose, but I will monitor the radio some and adjust the sheets accordingly. Phil has been good about monitoring XM and he usually tweets the info out. Cruz or awesomo might do a close to lock show, so you might be able to get a nugget there, but I think we will have most of the info that we need Sunday morning.
There is going to be an urge to forget everything you’ve learned and rely on practice data. I urge you to keep your current system and treat practice as supplemental data. If you do this, then you will be contrarian. Touts are going to go heavy on practice data. The sheet is not behind a more secure paywall system yet, so the lap by lap practice data will find its way into others’ articles, videos, Facebook groups, slack chats, and discords. It will be treated as precious and given too much weight in calculations. It’s high downforce practice data, it’s not that great.