In antipation for the new season, the Sprint Cup Series cars will hit Daytona International Speedway for a three-day test session (January 20th-22nd) to try out the new pavement.
Fans are welcome to attend to test for free as they will be able to view from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands in turn four and from the SPRINT FANZONE.
As in years past, Daytona will host their annual NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, where fans can ask the drivers questions. Headlining the list of stars set to appear are last year's Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray, four-time champion, Jeff Gordon, defending and five-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, and most popular drive,r Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Drivers currently scheduled to make appearances on Thursday, Jan. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr. and Regan Smith.
Scheduled to appear on Friday, Jan. 21, during the 5-7 p.m. session are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Conway, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.
In the 7-9 p.m. session, drivers scheduled to appear are AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth.
For those wishing to attend Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, tickets are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSTOP or online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com. If you have a ticket for the 2011 Daytona 500, you will receive admission free.
Advanced reservations are available (limited to 250 people) for special autograph sessions to be held with participating 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and Daytona 500 champions. Additional driver autograph sessions will be held on both days with wristbands available the day of the event. To request access to the special autograph sessions, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit the Daytona International Speedway ticket office beginning on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
SPEED has announced that they will be providing live stream coverage on their website. They plan to show 23 hours in total.
“The most important thing we do at SPEED is cover the NASCAR season from the minute the cars first hit the track until the champion makes his acceptance speech at the banquet each year and everything in between,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “We’re psyched that we get to start a little earlier now that Daytona testing is back, and based on what we heard from drivers at the Goodyear tire test in December, this is one test session you won’t want to miss.”
John Roberts and Jeff Hammond host SPEED’s on-air coverage from the studio above Victory Lane at Daytona. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will offer analysis throughout the practice sessions with reporting by Bob Dillner and Krista Voda. SPEED.com is presenting live streaming of all on-track activity with the exception of 3-5 p.m. ET Thursday, and will feature a rotation of on-air personalities.
SPEED schedule for Daytona testing (all times Eastern and live unless otherwise indicated):
Thursday, Jan. 209 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (same-day delay) (SPEED)
Friday, Jan. 219 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com) 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (SPEED)2 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)
Saturday, Jan. 229 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)1 p.m. - 2 p.m. – (SPEED) 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. – (SPEED.com)
This test marks an important test as many drivers will be working with their crew chiefs for the first or second time since the off-season swaps. With the new pavement, many teams will be out to try new tricks to see if their cars will work a certain way as they vow to win the biggest race come February, the Daytona 500.