It has been nearly two months since the sights and sounds of NASCAR have reverberated from racetracks as well as from countless televisions all across the country. In that time, the next generation of racing machines have taken their baby steps through testing and development. At the end of the week, however, the real test begins, as NASCAR fans will get their first glimpse of the new sixth-generation NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars on the storied Daytona International Speedway for three days this week at Preseason Thunder, the unofficial on-track start of the 2013 NASCAR season.
This week’s sessions will be the only test for the new car at Daytona prior to Speedweeks, which begins with The Sprint Unlimited on February 16 (SPEED, MRN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio) and culminates with the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on February 24 (FOX, MRN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio).
“This test is an opportunity for the teams to prepare their cars for Speedweeks and the 55th running of the Daytona 500,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “This is the teams’ test and provides an excellent lead in to the upcoming 2013 season. There has been a lot of work put into the development of the Gen-6 car by the manufacturers, teams and NASCAR. It will be exciting to see the new cars on the track for Daytona Preseason Thunder.”
After several tests for the new car, including one restrictor plate test at Talladega Superspeedway, the rules package has been set heading into Preseason Thunder.
The rules package for Daytona includes:
- Plate size 29/32" (same plate size as 2012)
- Spoiler size 4" high x 53" wide
- Spoiler angle 70 degrees
- Front Grille size 1-3/4" high x 23" wide
- Radiator Relief valve 32 psi
In addition to the year’s first on-track testing, the track will also host Preseason Thunder Fan Fest on Thursday night, January 10.
Fan Fest will include autograph sessions, driver fan forums, show cars and displays, music and a photo opportunity with the 2013 Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy.
Tickets for Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 on Thursday and $10 for Friday and Saturday and are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Children 12 and under will receive free admission.
Among the drivers scheduled to appear on Thursday, January 10 during the 5:30–7:30 p.m. session are Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Mark Martin.
In the 7:30–9:30 p.m. session, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, 2012 Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano, David Ragan, David Gilliland, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Casey Mears are scheduled to appear.
Daytona International Speedway will also host special driver chat sessions on the speedway’s social media channels following the end of testing Thursday evening from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Fans can submit questions for Twitter chats by including #DaytonaTesting and the driver’s official Twitter handle. NASCAR’s official Twitter feed @NASCAR will also provide updates throughout the three-day session. Fans can also participate in live driver chats hosted on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.
SPEED will broadcast live coverage of testing on all three days from 1-5 p.m. ET. Additionally, SPEEDTV.com will stream testing live from 9 a.m.-noon ET each day.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 175 countries and in 25 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network, Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Radio. NASCAR fans are among the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as three international series. Also part of NASCAR is GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series, known for competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla. NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be The Sprint Unlimited on February 16 on FOX.
The West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner hopes to be able to interview Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne in advance of the Daytona 500. Stay tuned!
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