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Feb 14, 2013 - 06:33 AM
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Storylines For Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 And 55th Annual Daytona 500
Posted by: newsla on Feb 14, 2013 - 06:33 AM
NASCAR News
Storylines For Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 And 55th Annual Daytona 500
Below are a number of storylines surrounding Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 and the 55th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

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COMPETITION ON THE HIGH BANKS

Ø Six generations of speed: The “Gen 6,” the sixth generation stock car, will make its race debut in The Sprint Unlimited on Saturday, Feb. 16 and will compete in its first points race the following week in the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. The car showcases greater brand identity for manufacturers.

Ø Defending Daytona 500 champion: Matt Kenseth will return to Daytona International Speedway attempting to become the first driver to capture back-to-back Daytona 500s since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95. If Kenseth can earn his third Daytona 500 trophy, he will join the elite list of drivers who have previously won three Daytona 500s including Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett. Kenseth, who has driven for Roush Fenway Racing his entire career, will begin the 2013 season with a new team – Joe Gibbs Racing.

Ø Jimmie Johnson’s 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start: With the drop of the green flag for the Daytona 500, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will mark his 400th start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Behind teammate Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip, Johnson is the third quickest driver to reach 60 NSCS wins in 400 starts.

Ø Heralded rookie class: This year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie class features high-profile names Danica Patrick, who is driving a full-time schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing, and two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Patrick competed in select Sprint Cup Series events in 2012 and became the third woman compete in the Daytona 500. Stenhouse Jr. is replacing Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, last year’s Daytona 500 winning car.

Ø Trevor Bayne replaces Stenhouse Jr. in NNS: As Ricky Stenhouse Jr. makes the move up to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, will replace Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 6 Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Ø Pastrana makes Daytona debut in a stock car: Action sports star and X Games Gold Medalist Travis Pastrana will drive a stock car for the first time at Daytona International Speedway during the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300. Pastrana drove in his first NNS race in 2012 and has previously competed in the NASCAR K&N East Series and Rally America Series. Pastrana has previously raced at Daytona International Speedway on two wheels in the Daytona Supercross By Honda.

Ø NCWTS kicks off season: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will begin the season with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 under the lights on Friday, Feb. 22. A number of young drivers expected to compete in the event will include Ryan Blaney for Brad Keselowski Racing, Jeb Burton for Turner Scott Motorsports and Joey Coulter with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Toyota has a six-race winning streak in the always exciting season-opening event.

Ø UNOH Battle At The Beach: Budweiser Speedweeks adds a new event to the schedule – the UNOH Battle At The Beach – which will feature the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The UNOH Battle At The Beach, which will be staged on a .4-mile short track on the backstretch, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 18-19. With this new event, Budweiser Speedweeks will have every series in NASCAR represented in events for the first time in history.

Ø Ben Kennedy Daytona debut: For the first time in the history of the track, a member of the France family will compete in a stock car at Daytona International Speedway. Ben Kennedy, son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, will drive the No. 96 EMCO Gears Chevrolet Impala in the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Kennedy currently races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East while also attending the University of Florida full-time.

Ø UNOH Battle At The Beach Trophies: Paying tribute to the early days of beach racing, the UNOH Battle At The Beach trophies will reflect the trophies race winners received on the “World’s Most Famous Beach” in the 1950s.

Ø 50 Years of ARCA: 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Lucas Oil 200 Presented By MAVTV American Real. The 80-lap, 200-mile season opening event will serve as the prelude to The Sprint Unlimited on Saturday, Feb. 16. Bobby Gerhart, the defending race champion, will be seeking a record ninth victory in the event.

Ø The Sprint Unlimited: The star-studded non-points race on Saturday, Feb. 16 will carry a new name in 2013 – The Sprint Unlimited. The race is returning to its roots by featuring the previous season’s pole winners and past Sprint Unlimited champions. Race fans will have an expanded role before, during and after The Sprint Unlimited. Prior to the race, fans will shape aspects of The Sprint Unlimited by voting online or through the NASCAR Mobile ’13 app on the race format, types of pit stops and elimination of drivers. On-site fans will be eligible to receive special race experiences from Sprint and Daytona International Speedway including Grand Marshal, Honorary Starter, trophy presenter, participation in driver introductions and more. Race fans in attendance at Daytona International Speedway will also vote on how the starting lineup for The Sprint Unlimited will be determined.

Ø Qualifying matters: With NASCAR dissolving the top-35 rule, the two 60-lap, 150-mile Budweiser Duel qualifying races that finalize Daytona 500 starting spots will be filled with competition as drivers lock-in starting positions 3-32 for “The Great American Race.” The remaining Daytona 500 spots will be filled based on the six fastest speeds from Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, six provisional spots and one past Sprint Cup champion provision. The pole and outside pole for the Daytona 500 are also set in Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger.

Ø 1963 Wood Brothers Replica visits Daytona: Leonard Wood, recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, has constructed a replica of the 1963 Daytona 500 winning car of Tiny Lund. The Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford Galaxie replica will be part of Wood’s NASCAR Hall of Fame display in Charlotte, N.C. but will make a special trip to Daytona International Speedway’s Sprint FANZONE to be put on display during Budweiser Speedweeks. Fifty years ago, the No. 21 car was driven by Lund across the finish line to earn the Woods’ first of five Daytona 500 victories.

Ø Daytona 500 Logo features historic Harley J. Earl: The Harley J. Earl trophy, named after legendary General Motors designer and close friend of NASCAR Founder Bill France, has been a significant part of Daytona 500 history. For 2013, the trophy for the first time has been incorporated into the Daytona 500 logo.

Ø Television: Between FOX, ESPN and SPEED there will be close to 100 hours of coverage of Budweiser Speedweeks events. During their broadcasts, FOX will be using the CAMCAT. Supported by two cranes outside the track, CAMCAT is a two-point flying camera system that skies over the tri-oval along pit road. Suspended 140 feet in the air with the ability to dip to 45 feet above the track, the cameras can travel up to 85 miles per hour on 2800 feet of cable to offer never-before-seen shots of Daytona

Ø MRN Radio: MRN has slated 33 hours of exclusive radio and streaming content during Budweiser Speedweeks. The Sprint Unlimited At Daytona on Saturday opens a stretch of nine races in as many days for Motor Racing Network concluding with the 55th annual Daytona 500. MRN will provide a number of webcasts heard only at MotorRacingNetwork.com including the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on Feb. 18-19 and coverage of Sprint Cup Series practice sessions Feb. 15, 20 and 23.

JUST FOR FANS
Ø Lace up your sneakers: The Central Florida Sports Commission and Daytona International Speedway, in partnership with Volusia County, will host the Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 17 as part of Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger. The race will start at 6:30 a.m. and among the NASCAR drivers expected to participate include five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip. Runners will begin the half marathon on pit road at DIS and circle around the first two miles of the track before heading beachside. Runners will then return to the Speedway for the finish and a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane.

Ø Social Speedweeks: DIS is continuing the largest and most expansive social media effort in NASCAR to further engage fans both at the Speedway and at home. Initiatives include special Twitter hashtags, handles and tweet-ups, promotion of the FREE DIS Mobile App, QR codes around the track, an onsite RFID program, DIS Social Squad and free DISINFO text alerts.

o RFID Program: Share your race day experience on your social media accounts and enter to win one of more than 1,000 prizes at the Daytona Rewards Stations, located throughout Daytona International Speedway. Prizes include VIP access for driver introductions at The Sprint Unlimited, Gatorade Victory Lane access, race tickets, garage tours, Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE passes and much more.

o Signage: QR code signage can be found throughout the facility promoting Daytona’s various social media accounts.

Ø More Convenience for Fans: Once again, larger coolers and backpacks are allowed so fans can bring more food, beverages and conveniently carry souvenirs and other items.

Ø Affordable Opportunities for Families: Daytona 500 tickets start at $65. Kids 12 and under are half-price in backstretch grandstand seating and FREE in Sprint FANZONE when accompanied by a paid adult. For the Budweiser Speedweeks events with exception of the Daytona 500, kids 12 and under are free in General Admission seating areas.

FIRST CLASS ENTERTAINMENT ABOUNDS

Ø Anthems: Zac Brown Band member Clay Cook will perform the National Anthem for the 55th annual Daytona 500.

Ø Concerts: Grammy award winning artist Zac Brown Band will perform the Daytona 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show.

Ø Grand Marshals: James Franco, actor and star of the Disney fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” will give the starting command “Drivers start your engines” for the 55th annual Daytona 500.

Ø USAF Thunderbirds return: For the fourth time, the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron will perform the fly-over for the 55th annual Daytona 500. The Thunderbirds previously provided the fly-over for the Daytona 500 in 2008, 2011, 2012. The Thunderbirds fly-over will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft.

Ø Celebrating anniversaries: Both NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and open-wheel legend Johnny Rutherford will be in attendance for the 55th annual Daytona 500. Allison will be marking the 25th anniversary of his third Daytona 500 victory in 1988. Allison edged his son Davey in the only father-son Daytona 500 finish in event history. Rutherford will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 1963 100-mile qualifying race victory, which was his first race in a stock car.

A LOOK AT THE BUSINESS OF DAYTONA

Ø Ongoing Recycling Initiatives: Daytona International Speedway, in partnership with Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola Recycling, has a recycling program to clean up and recycle cans and bottles during event weekends.

Ø Growing Corporate Display: Daytona International Speedway will host 45 display partners in the nearly 250,000 square feet (about six acres) of display space for the 2013 Daytona 500.

Ø Getting Green With G-Oil®: G-Oil® is now the Official Motor Oil of Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500. G-Oil®, the first bio-based full synthetic oil ever used in NASCAR competition, will be used in all DIS official vehicles at the Daytona 500.

Ø Ticket holders from around the world: For the 55th annual Daytona 500, ticket holders from all 50 states and 40 countries will be represented in the grandstands for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race.

Ø Budweiser expands sponsorship at DIS: For the first time, Budweiser will sponsor the Budweiser Duel, the pair of 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500 on Thursday, Feb. 21 as well as serve as the title sponsor of Speedweeks, which will be known as Budweiser Speedweeks.

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