NASCAR: 3 things to watch – Daytona Beach News-Journal

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1. Where’s Kyle?

You might be asking yourself that question come Saturday night for the All-Star Race. Where is the No. 18 Toyota, the car that has carried defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch to a series-leading three victories this season? The driver and stock car will be in the race, only under the alias of No. 75. NASCAR gave Joe Gibbs Racing permission to use the number in honor of M&Ms 75th anniversary.

2. Test session

The teams with a little savvy will use Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race as a practice run for the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend. The All-Star pays $1 million to the race winner. The 600 pays valuable points and a possible ticket to the Chase playoff. The veteran drivers will use their 113 All-Star laps to experiment with setups and such. Look for a young hawk to pull out the stops for the victory.

3. Soft walls

Dover International Speedway made a big deal about adding SAFER Barrier to its one-mile oval before last weekend’s race, and guess what happened? Tony Stewart, still nursing a preseason injury, crashed hard into a wall during practice that did not have the protective covering. Look for other race tracks to make the mad scramble, once again, to get extra SAFER barriers up or face the wrath of ticked-off drivers.

— Godwin Kelly,

NASCAR: 3 things to watch – Daytona Beach News-Journal