Bill Elliott's speed record at Daytona International Speedway will still stand in NASCAR, but it's no longer a track record.
In a Ford event Wednesday, Colin Braun took to the track in a Daytona Prototype Grand-Am car to break Elliott's record. After a few runs in the morning, he broke the record twice in the afternoon. His fastest lap was 222.971 MPH, easily ahead of Elliott's record of 210.364 MPH.
Of course, there's a caveat here. Elliott's record came before the Sprint Cup Series instituted restrictor plates in the cars at Daytona to keep speeds down. An unrestricted Cup car would likely eclipse Elliott's record. However, we've never gotten the opportunity to see it.
The DP's engine (DPs are the fastest category in what was the Grand-Am series and take to the track every January for the 24 Hours of Daytona.) was a Ford EcoBoost V-6, a different engine from the powerplant that the cars have previously run in races.
The race engine uses the production-based engine block, cylinder heads, valve train -- “They're all real parts,” Ford's John Maddox said. There were challenges, among them cylinder cooling, exhaust valve cooling, and cylinder pressures. Think about it: All the Daytona Prototype engines are getting a 60-horsepower boost, meaning the EcoBoost is pumping out about 600 horsepower. “So figure that the V-8 was putting out about 540 horsepower, and that was divided between eight cylinders. Now we're making about 100 horsepower per cylinder with this engine.” This engine, as well as its competition, has spent a lot of hours on the NASCAR dynamometer in Charlotte as the sanctioning body tries to equalize power."
Still pretty cool nonetheless. Though we'd really like to see an unrestricted Cup car at Daytona make a run to see what the heck could happen. Could 230 be a realistic possibility?