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NASCAR's home track gets ready for Speedweeks 2014

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The roar of engines has been a common occurrence at the world center of racing over the past few weeks. Go karts, ARCA Racing cars, and the TUDOR United Sportscar Series have recently been at the speedway, competing or preparing to compete for fame, glory, and to become a little bit of history as well. As the calendar slowly gets closer to February, millions of fans are preparing for an annual pilgrimage to the Daytona International Speedway for any number of racing events being held there, collectively known as Speedweeks.

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the speedway officially confirmed the starting times for all over the events that make up the races surrounding the running of the the 56th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 23.

The start times for the events of Budweiser Speedweeks 2014 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:

  • The 52nd anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race, Jan. 25-26, 2:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2)
  • The Lucas Oil 200 Presented By American Real MAV TV ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Saturday, Feb. 15, 4:15 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
  • The Sprint Unlimited, Saturday, Feb. 15, 8p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
  • Daytona Beach Half Marathon, Sunday, Feb. 16, 6 a.m.
  • Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 16, 1p.m. (FOX)
  • UNOH Battle At The Beach, Tuesday, Feb. 18, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at 7 p.m. followed by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at approximately 8:45 p.m.
  • Budweiser Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
  • NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
  • DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 22, 1:15 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Daytona 500, Sunday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m. (TV – FOX Sports, Radio – MRN Radio, SiriusXM).

Tickets for all of the events listed above are now available online, at the speedway ticket office, or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. In addition, Daytona International Speedway has reached an agreement with a number of area hotels to secure special room rates during the UNOH Battle At The Beach to make it more affordable for racers and fans to attend the races.

In last year’s inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach NASCAR K&N Pro Series race, Cameron Hayley came from behind during a green-white-checkered finish to capture the victory. In the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race, NASCAR veteran Steve Park finally earned his first Daytona victory.

When the drivers and teams of NASCAR return to Daytona, the various manufacturers represented in the top three divisions will be competing under a revised manufacturer points system for 2014, simplifying it for fans, competition and the industry, while amplifying the already passionate rivalries between each auto maker.

According to a release by NASCAR, the new points system – which applies to all three national series – mirrors the owner championship points structure. Points will be awarded to the single highest finisher for each car manufacturer in each championship event according to the finishing position awarded for each race. Specifically, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, points will be awarded as follows (43-1, plus bonus points). Points will be awarded in a similar manner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (43-4, plus bonus points) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (43-8, plus bonus points).

Three additional bonus points will be awarded to the manufacturer that wins the race. The single highest finisher for each manufacturer will receive one additional bonus point for leading a lap, and one additional bonus point for leading the most laps.

“We have always focused on intensifying the natural rivalries between our manufacturers – both on the race track and in the showroom,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition and racing development. “We believe aligning the points system with the owner points will create better understanding for the entire industry, and bolster interest and excitement with our fan base, which has shown intense manufacturer loyalty throughout the sport’s history.”

At the end of the season, if two or more manufacturers have the same number of points, the manufacturers’ championship will be awarded to the manufacturer with the greatest number of first-place finishes. If there is a tie in victories, the greatest number of second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc. will break the tie. If a tie still remains, the manufacturer having the earliest win of the current season will prevail.

Hopefully, this change will make it easier for drivers, manufacturers, and fans to keep track of their favorite brand and how they are doing in the series. It should also take away some of the "fuzzy math" that the series has been accused of using in the past..

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