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Some NASCAR drivers are practicing defensive driving due to a parts shortage

NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 - Practice
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Getty Images North America
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald's Toyota, Kurt Busch, driver of the #45 Monster Energy Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As NASCAR prepares for the Daytona 500 Sunday, there’s another race on the business side of the sport.

NASCAR’s new 2022 race car looks more like street cars people can buy from dealer lots across the country and includes more current technology underneath. But rather than teams making most parts themselves, they now buy them from approved vendors, and supply chain issues have teams behind schedule in replacing their fleets.

“Some of that is lack of parts and pieces since everything is apples to apples all through the garage,” former champion Kurt Busch said at a NASCAR media day news conference with other drivers.

Several teams are tip-toeing through this week with practice, time trials and two qualifying races all before the 64th Daytona 500. The next weekend off in the 37-race schedule comes on Father's Day in June, giving teams little time to catch up.

“Well, we’re a little bit living one week at a time, yes, no doubt about it but you know what, I don’t think we can let that be an excuse for us not to go out and get the job done,” former champion Brad Keselowski said.

He is now also a team owner at Roush Fenway Keselowski racing in Concord.

Denny Hamlin owns 23XI racing which fields cars for Busch and teammate Bubba Wallace. Hamlin is also a three-time Daytona 500 winner involved in a test three weeks ago he described as aggressive.

“My crew chief said to enjoy it while you can because you’re not going to be doing it again until the 500,” Hamlin said.

Two 60-lap qualifying races are Thursday with half the field in each. More practice is scheduled for Saturday. Former champion Joey Logano says he’s not planning to hold anything back.

“I’m going to go race and if we crash, we’ll figure it out,” Logano said.

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Woody is a Charlotte native who came to WFAE from the world of NASCAR where he was host of NASCAR Today for MRN Radio as well as a pit reporter, turn announcer and host of the NASCAR Live pre race show for Cup Series races. Before that, he was a news anchor at WBT radio in Charlotte, a traffic reporter, editor of The Charlotte Observer’s University City Magazine, News/Sports Director at WEGO-AM in Concord and a Swiss Army knife in local cable television. His first job after graduating from Appalachian State University was news reporter at The Daily Independent in Kannapolis. Along the way he’s covered everything from murder trials and a national political convention to high school sports and minor league baseball.