After one of the longest days on record, day two of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway is ready to get underway. One can only hope that we have a somewhat shorter day today, Tuesday, than we had Monday.
The big snafu Monday occurred as our convoy of busses headed north on Interstate 85 towards Richard Childress Racing. Anyone familiar with the Charlotte area knows that a massive construction project has been taking place on I-85 since somewhere around the 1950’s; ok not really it just seems that long. Last night in addition to the construction, an accident had traffic at a standstill for nearly two hours. After being trapped for that long, the stop at RCR was late. The problem after that was an event scheduled back at the media tour hotel. After an abbreviated dinner and Q&A session at RCR, the tour headed back to the hotel arriving just after 10:00 p.m.
The final stop of the night was the announcement by Goody’s that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has teamed up with Richard Petty to promote the brand this season. With another round of food afterwards and several open bars scattered around the room, the night got even longer.
Today’s stops include; breakfast hosted by Furniture Row Racing and driver Kurt Busch, a session with Michael Waltrip Racing, a trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Motor Speedway, a ride along involving exotic cars and dinner hosted by Chevrolet. Updates, including photos, and videos will be provided throughout the day.
8:00: The first stop of the day was breakfast sponsored by Furniture Row Racing. No big announcements, but driver Kurt Busch did mention that he wanted to try and avoid any ‘Kurt Busch’ moments. They held a drawing allowing Busch to draw names from a fish bowl; he said he would not tear up the winners papers like he has done to a transcript before. The big prize was a moose centerpiece, seriously.
10:00: The next stop was a visit by Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip began by saying 'Well the team really has no new news for 2013'. Waltrip did say that there are still some sponsorship availabilities for the team for this season and he told part time driver Brian Vickers that his "hair has never looked better."
11:30: The third stop of the day was to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte. NASCAR gave their state of the sport address and while the new Gen6 car was at the forefront, the bigger news was the development of a new track drying system by NASCAR. For many years NASCAR has used jet engines to dry the tracks. But after a horrific accident involving Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet dryer at last year’s Daytona 500, NASCAR began to reexamine the procedures. What NASCAR has come up with is an entirely new, safer and they say ‘greener’ way to dry a track.
“It uses compressed air as opposed to jet engine,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “It's designed to expedite, obviously, the removal of water using compressed air and heat, where the jet dryers were simply designed around blowing and depended more on hot air. The new system depends more on compressed air.”
The new system will debut at the Daytona 500 and according to NASCAR will cut down on any rain delays.
“The goal is to improve it by 80 percent,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said. “So that means if we're drying Daytona off, where it usually took two and a half hours, we get it down to 30 minutes. That's the goal.”
Later Helton added that drying a track such as Martinsville could take as little as 20 minutes.
Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood unveiled the first renderings of an expansion at the track he hopes will happen in the near future.
2:00: The next stop was at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Every Speedway Motorsport Incorporated track president was in attendance led by SMI chairman Bruton Smith. While all the track presidents talked about new fan friendly initiatives at their tracks, Smith had another message he enlisted the media’s help with:
Start and park should not be a part of what we do,” he said referring to teams that show up with no intention of running an entire event. “ I hope we look back a year from now and that will be history.”
After the press conference the media were treated to samples of cuisine from each SMI track; the samples included such items as bacon flavored cotton candy from Texas Motor Speedway, to a bar-b-que sampler from Charlotte Motor Speedway, to copious amounts of green beer that will be served at Bristol Motor Speedway which has its spring race on St. Patrick’s Day this year.
While the samples were being consumed media members were given rides in exotic cars around the road course from the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
7:00: The evening consisted of dinner hosted by Chevrolet. The interesting part about the dinner was the program put on my executives that showed the how they arrived at the new 2013 Chevy SS in the Sprint Cup series. The presentation included time lapse video of the construction of the first new prototype. Chevy also announced that they will unveil the production model SS on February 16 at Daytona International Speedway.
9:00: Nationwide hosted this evening’s hospitality. The party consisted of 24 drivers and media going head to head in various contests; with an open bar and great music and food, this party didn’t end until the bar closed at midnight. Not many hours until we hit the road once again.
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