Biggest Race Culminates Retro-Fitted Speedweeks

Posted by imelda sovzky on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Biggest Race Culminates Retro-Fitted SpeedweeksSpeedweeks 2012 has gone back to school – old school.
 Daytona International Speedway’s signature competition, pack racing, returned with a vengeance during last weekend’s Shootout at Daytona.
 The race ended with another Daytona cornerstone, Kyle Busch’s slingshot pass of Tony Stewart at the start-finish line.It also marked the end of a format.
 The Shootout returns to its roots in 2013, primarily a battle among Coors Light Pole winners. Carl Edwards, set to start on the pole for Sunday’s 54th Daytona 500, is the first to punch his ticket to next year’s Speedweeks curtain-raiser. 
Speed also made its reappearance. Edwards qualified at over 194 mph, fastest in more than a decade.
 Thirty-nine drivers taking part in time trials posted speeds faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pole run of 2011. 
Also announced: Next year’s Speedweeks will dip into its past for a special, non-points race for NASCAR’s roots racers from its touring divisions and Whelen All American Series. A 0.4-mile track will be set up on Daytona’s Super Stretch, evoking memories of days when drivers like NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans converged on the World Center of Racing to race their modifieds and sportsman stock cars.Stewart, an old-school racer, is looking forward to Sunday’s Daytona 500 with greater enthusiasm than in seasons past
. A three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Stewart hopes to fill one of his few missing career achievements on Sunday: a Daytona 500 victory.He, as well as the other 42 starters, recognizes that a Daytona 500 win is a career-maker, as it was for Trevor Bayne, the surprise winner of last year’s Great American race. 
Questions, as always, abound:• Can Bayne repeat in the iconic Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford?• Can Danica Patrick, the first female driver to compete in the Daytona 500 since 2002 and just third in history, become this year’s surprise winner?•
 Will there be a seventh consecutive first-time Daytona 500 winner of NASCAR’s biggest race?• Will Hendrick Motorsports score its 200th victory on the sport’s largest stage?The answers to these and other intriguing storylines can be found at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.
 The race also will be broadcast by MRN Radio and NASCAR Sirius Radio.

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