Ottawa Citizen

NASCAR heat problems on the rise

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BROOKLYN, Michigan •

It’s only June, but in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, the heat is already on. And that’s got many of the drivers worried.

The so-called Car Of Tomorrow that became NASCAR’s permanent racing vehicle this season isn’t cooling at the same level as the previous car, and with the temperatur­es just beginning to rise as summer approaches, the men who sit inside the cars are wondering what the long-term impact will be on their well-being.

“It’s something we need to look at,” said Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. “There are some things that we can do to allow more air into the car. I think that’s part of it. For whatever reason, this car is holding more heat inside of it than the old cars. We’re not exactly sure why.

‘‘The climate inside the car, the humidity, it’s nasty. … What happens is that all the radiant heat in the steel around you, you just can’t get away from it during the race.”

Unable to cool the inside of the car, drivers are putting more energy into keeping themselves cool.

“You have to stay hydrated and you have to prepare for it a couple of days in advance,” Johnson said. “A big part of it is making sure you drink enough fluids during the race.’’

RAIN WASHES OUT QUALIFYING SESSION

Kyle Busch will start from the pole in tomorrow’s NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock 400 at Michigan Internatio­nal Speedway.

Yesterday afternoon’s qualifying session was rained out, giving Busch the pole based on his lead in the Sprint Cup Series points standings.

Busch claimed the top spot with 2,084 points atop the series standings. It the third pole this season for Busch, who will drive a Toyota aiming for his fifth victory this year. Also on the front row is the Chevrolet Impala of Jeff Burton, who trails Busch by 21 points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and defending race winner Carl Edwards comprise row 2 in a Chevy and a Ford Fusion, respective­ly, while Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Jimmie Johnson (Chevy) make up the third row.

Jason Leffler and Tony Raines failed to make the field.

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