NASCAR Racing: Return to Daytona

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog.  This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, FL. Since Daytona was the first race of the season, it is only fitting that this track is the first one NASCAR returns to for the eighteenth race  of the season. The halfway point of the season.

If you’ll recall, Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500, having won the last restrictor plate race last fall at Talladega Super Speedway. Points leader, Kevin Harvick won at Talladega this Spring. Can Kevin make it two plate races in a row? Or can Jamie make it three out of four? Restrictor plates are used on these two tracks to slow the cars down some. A safety thing, I’m sure.

This week the plate will be slightly larger, giving the cars a little more speed. The Daytona 500 was marred by a pot hole that had to be fixed. The track owners will repave the track following the Coke Zero 400.

But the big news this week is the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Their new car makes it’s debut this week in Daytona. The new car actually looks somewhat like the stock car of the same name. Ford introduces it’s Mustang. Dodge introduces it’s Challenger. Chevy will keep it’s Impala and Toyota will keep it’s Camry. Hopefully, Sprint Cup will have a new car with manufacturer identity.

Because it is the debut of the Nationwide car, those drivers got to practice for four hours on Wednesday. It is taking a long time for the new cars to go through inspection, though. So, some cars had less practice time than others. The #1 car of Ryan Newman blew an engine during this practice. But he will not have to start from the rear, since this happened on Wednesday, and not in regular practice.

I’m looking forward to great racing at Daytona International Speedway. In Sprint Cup practice on Thursday, 18 Kyle Busch bumped 6 David Ragan and spun him into the wall. Both had to get out their back up cars. This is an impound race. That means that there will be no practice after qualifying, so they will have to qualify with the set up for the race. (And they won’t have to cover more practice on Saturday.)

Nationwide will qualify on Friday before their race the Subway Jalapino 250. Sprint Cup will also qualify on Friday for their night race on Saturday.

Some different drivers for this race: 71 is Mike Bliss. 09 is Bobby Labonte, who is a former champion and will be in the race. 37 is Robert Richardson, Jr. 36 is former Cup driver Steve Park. 9 Kasey Kahne crashed in practice and will be in a backup car. 20 Joey Logano was fastest in the first practice. 19 Elliott Sadler is driving with sponsor Air Force.

In Nationwide, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be driving his father’s #3 blue and yellow Wrangler retro car. 60 Carl Edwards is in his Copart car. 7 JRM is Steve Arpin. The other JRM car, 88 will be piloted by Greg Sacks, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary of his Daytona 500 win. 16 this week is Brian Ickler. 26 is Parker Kligerman. Team mates, 38 Jason Leffler and 11 Brian Scott will both have sponsor Great Clips on their cars. 09 is former Cup driver Ken Schrader. 05 is David Starr. 27 is ARCA driver Jennifer Jo Cobb. 68 is Carl Long.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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