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Thunder Rolls into Daytona
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If there’s a briskness in the air, it must be time for the first laps toward a new season. And that’s exactly the scenario next week as the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona – the annual January test sessions at Daytona International Speedway – begins Monday.
All three NASCAR national series test in preparation for their season-opening events at Daytona, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series leads off with next week’s initial session. All teams that were in odd-number positions in the car owner standings as of July 13, 2005, are scheduled to test from Monday, Jan. 9 through Wednesday, Jan. 11. Thursday, Jan. 12 is the rain date, if necessary.
The following week, teams who were in even-number positions in the car owner standings as of July 13, 2005 will take the track for their session – Monday, Jan. 16 through Wednesday, Jan. 18 with Thursday, Jan. 19 as the rain date.
All sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., weather permitting. Each includes a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. Media covering all sessions will have interview opportunities before and after each day’s on-track activities, and during lunch.
Drivers attending next week’s session include Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), who finished fifth in the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup; sixth-place finisher Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge), seventh-place finisher Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford), and ninth-place finisher Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge).
Also scheduled to participate are four-time series champion Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), former series champion Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge), Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M’s Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), Ken Schrader (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford), Bill Elliott (No. 36 Chevrolet), Greg Sacks (No. 13 Dodge), and Scott Wimmer (No. 4 Aero Exhaust Chevrolet).
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge) and David Stremme (No. 40 Coors Light & Lone Star Steakhouse Saloon Dodge) also are scheduled to test.
The NASCAR Busch Series tests from Friday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 22 with Monday, Jan. 23 as the rain date. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tests from Friday, Jan. 13 through Sunday, Jan. 15.
Fan Fest offers fans Q&As with drivers, entertainment
Each Tuesday during NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, fans have the opportunity for an afternoon and evening of fun at Daytona International Speedway’s NEXTEL FANZONE. Fan Fest will feature driver question and answer sessions, bands, show cars, pit-stop demonstrations, a silent auction and displays. The cost is $15 for each Fan Fest. Fans also can watch each day’s test session for free, beginning at 9 a.m.
• Jan. 10: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Fan Fest
• Jan 13: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Fan Fest
• Jan. 17: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Fan Fest
• Jan. 21: NASCAR Busch Series Fan Fest