Being a 65-year-old Race Fan, I don’t get into the off-season hoopla. I could care less about banquet seating, driver activities, and all of the other nonsense that NASCAR tries to get me interested in. I want to see racing. I want to see 43 cars fired up and coming down to get the Green Flag. That’s what makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
I attended the Budweiser Shootout back in the late nineties, and once told a friend, as the cars were on the last parade lap, and coming by the stands with the lite off on the pace car, if you’re not excited at this point, you shouldn’t be here. That’s what stock car racing is all about. The 850 Horsepower engines idling, and the smell of that stock (wink wink) Sunoco fuel in the air. I know there is only one lap until the season gets under way.
If you are a race fan, the upcoming week will mark the beginning of the season as Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway gets under way on Thursday, January 10th. This will be an opportunity for teams and fans alike to get a look at the new 6th Generation cars running hot laps on the world’s most famous race track. I know, it’s not racing, but it is on-track activity, and officially gets the season started.
I have been to Daytona during Preseason Thunder, and it provides a race atmosphere with cars running laps, the media center is alive with plenty of driver interviews, and is a wonderful place to get the juices flowing. If you are in the Central Florida area, a trip to Daytona can give you an opportunity to check out the new cars, get some autographs from your favorite driver, and maybe visit Daytona USA.
Daytona USA is filled with NASCAR memorabilia, history, and plenty of activities for the youngsters. The admission usually includes a tour of the race track with driver narration explaining the history of how the track was built. A perfect ending that will solidify your knowledge of America’s Great Race. The track tour is at times suspended when there is on-track activity, so time your visit well.
The garage areas open at 7 AM all three days, and testing sessions are from 9 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 5 PM with an hour break for lunch. The Media Center will be active, and the schedule is as follows, all time are Eastern:
Thursday, January 10:
12:05 p.m. – Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart
12:20 p.m. – Clint Bowyer
12:35 p.m. – Brad Keselowski
12:50 p.m. – Carl Edwards
5:30 p.m. – Jeff Gordon
5:45 p.m. – John Darby, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director; and Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition
Friday, January 11:
12:05 p.m. – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12:20 p.m. – Matt Kenseth
12:35 p.m. – Jimmie Johnson
12:45 p.m. – Greg Biffle
Saturday, January 12:
12:30 p.m. – Robin Pemberton
Finally! The new season is getting underway. The Rolex 24, Bud Shootout, and all of the Speedweeks activities are just around the corner. Ladies and Gentlemen….Start…Your…Engines !!
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