Monday, February 7, 2011

NASCAR Storylines for Daytona Speedweeks

Restrictor-Plate racing is ready this Saturday night
The wait is almost over. In a few short days, NASCAR racing will be back.

And, with a fresh repave at Daytona International Speedway, some predict it’ll be better than ever. That’s saying a lot, especially coming off 2010 season that saw record-highs in leaders and lead changes.

The first true test will be Saturday night, in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona – the annual preseason non-points event.

Below are a number storylines heading into the preseason classic:

Hot Topic: Daytona Repave Could Lead To Historic Show
NASCAR will run this year’s races at Daytona International Speedway on a brand new pavement, only the second repave in the track’s history, and first since 1978. The first of those races will take place Saturday night – the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.

A three-day, series-wide test last month – and another Goodyear tire test in December – gave drivers a first-look at the new surface. The reviews rolled in quickly. Here’s one, from Carl Edwards: “It is just going to be wild. The track is so smooth and has so much grip that there is no telling what people will try. The last lap is going to be insane.”

A number of other drivers echoed that opinion, making this Budweiser Shootout – and the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 that follows a week later – one of the most anticipated in history.

Media, Drivers Flock To DIS For Annual NASCAR Media Day
The 12th annual NASCAR Media Day will be held just outside Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Feb. 10. More than 50 drivers, and approximately 300 media members from the world of broadcast, print and online journalism will be in attendance.

Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Opens 2011 Season
The annual preseason Budweiser Shootout at Daytona is set for this Saturday, and it could be the largest in the event’s history. A total of 30 drivers are eligible to compete, which would best the previous high of 28, set in 2009. Criteria are based upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series within the last two seasons:
· The 12 drivers that qualified for the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
· Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions
· Past Budweiser Shootout champions
· Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola champions
· NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year drivers from 2001-2010

The favorite? There are many, but the most fitting might be Kevin Harvick, winner of the past two Budweiser Shootouts. Driving for a new sponsor – yes, Budweiser – Harvick looks to become the first driver two win three consecutive Shootouts.

Get Those Ballots In! Media Asked To Vote In Annual Preseason Poll
The media got it right last year, picking Jimmie Johnson to win it all. Can the press make it a repeat in 2011? Voting for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series top 10, ends Wednesday, Feb. 9. Results will be announced on Thursday at Media Day. Log on to to cast your votes.

Who Will Lead The Field To Green In “The Great American Race”?
Daytona 500 Pole Day will be held Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, and the stakes are big. When qualifying is done, the front row for the Daytona 500 will be locked in. The fastest two qualifiers on Sunday will occupy the front row for the season-opener. The remaining positions will be decided Thursday, Feb. 17 in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.

New, Simpler Points System Makes Its Debut
During the Charlotte Media Tour two weeks ago, NASCAR announced a new, simpler points system would take affect for the 2011 season. First-place would pay 43 points, second would earn 42, third would earn 41, and so on. Another point would be awarded for leading a lap, and another point for leading the most laps. In addition, the winner would get another three points for the victory. In all, a win could earn a driver a maximum of 48 points.

The revamped points system debuts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night, Feb. 18.

- NASCAR Media Services

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