Nascar Preview

Posted: September 02, 2007

FONTANA, Calif. - Stifling heat, with a high of 104, greeted NASCAR's Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers Friday at California Speedway.

Most of the drivers are in great shape and used to sitting in the closed cockpit of a stock car with inside temperatures moving into triple figures. But the heat wave covering Southern California recently is pushing the envelope.

Asked how he handles the heat, Denny Hamlin said, "Stay indoors at all costs as long as possible.

"It's amazing to me how hot it is, especially in the race car. I can hardly stand it."

All the drivers use cool or air conditioner boxes, a fan system that blows cool air into the helmets. But the rest is up to them.

"There's nothing cool about this suit at all, just what goes in the helmet," Hamlin said.

John Darby, NASCAR's Nextel Cup director, said there's really nothing the sanctioning organization can do to help the drivers cool off.

"The fortunate thing is most of the teams are involved with or have with them some sort of an athletic trainer who will do everything in their powers - just like we do with our officials - to recommend proper diets and fluid intake and the dos and don'ts of what to do in hot weather," Darby said.

Ricky Rudd, who will be starting his 900th race in today's Sharp Aquos 500, said the best thing a driver can do in this kind of heat is try to pretend it isn't there.

"Really, you learn how to tolerate it when you deal with the heat all the time," Rudd said. "There's not really much you can do."

- Associated Press

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