Today’s Season Preview Topic: After the success of Juan Pablo Montoya last season, the floodgates opened for a number of open-wheel stars to transition into the NASCAR ranks. But after a win and a top-25 points finish for Montoya in his rookie season, can any open-wheeler in the rookie class of 2008 duplicate that success – especially considering most of them have even less preparation time and stock car experience under their belts?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Toyota made a major effort to upgrade their teams in the offseason, making a blockbuster deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. But how much will the other teams in the Toyota fold benefit? Simply put, can anyone else other than JGR win a race this season in a Camry; and for that matter, can that three-car juggernaut compete for the championship themselves in only their first season following a major manufacturer switch?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: As Hendrick Motorsports comes off another year of dominance, the big question will be how much better they are now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has entered the fold. Emerging from the shadow of DEI, will NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver succeed in his first year with the new team – or will the pressure of high expectations set him up for failure?
This month, Michael McDowell returns to the series where he competed in 2005 and 2006, participating in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche FABCAR. As he prepares for his fourth grueling 24-hour event and his upcoming rookie season for MWR, McDowell took some time out at the Spirit of Daytona race shop to talk with Frontstretch, discussing why he made the transition from sports cars to stock cars and what his goals are for 2008.
While I was researching the events from those days some 18 years ago, the similarities of how the communist government of China dealt with it and the way NASCAR is/has been run is truly quite amazing and inescapable. It is well documented in NASCAR history that any attempt to organize the participants into any semblance of a union was instantly and vehemently quashed by the France family. People were threatened and people were banned.
With Daytona testing for the three major series in the books, what have we learned and what questions do you still have heading to the Daytona 500?
At the service for her late husband Bill France Junior, Betty Jane France stepped up to the microphone and said, “Bill France loved Daytona Beach, and today, the city returns that love to him.” In front of 2,000 people at Bethune-Cookman University, the life of the visionary who transformed NASCAR from a regional sport to a worldwide phenomenon was celebrated in the same city where the sport got its start. It was 60 years ago that his father, William H.G. France, called the first meeting at the Streamline Hotel and set up NASCAR, an idea that Bill Junior helped develop into a multi-billion dollar industry.
With Preseason Thunder testing winding down, the first of two Nationwide Series sessions began Friday at Daytona International Speedway under damp and cloudy skies. The morning session was delayed by 45 minutes, but as soon as the cars hit the track for their first single-car runs of the year, it was Johnny Sauter who shot to the top of the charts after spending a year in the Sprint Cup Series. Like the first day of testing, teams are racing the weather with rain in the forecast each of the next two days. While the cars are on the track, however, a mix of past champions and phenoms are trying to get as much of their cars before Speedweeks roles around in February.
The Sprint Cup Series has officially finished Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona, and after six days of action featuring 56 drivers, it was Kasey Kahne who left the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway as the fastest. The 27-year-old from Gillett Evernham Motorsports shined on the third and final day of the second session, besting all competitors with a speed of 189.111 mph. Now, the next time the Cup cars come to Daytona will be Speedweeks in February, leaving many fans wondering how testing speeds will translate when it really matters. But if early results prove any indication, it looks like Hendrick Motorsports and Toyota should be labeled the early favorites for strong runs in the Great American Race. Here is a rundown of what happened during Preseason Thunder.
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. took to the track for testing Monday in the new No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, his presence at Daytona officially ushered in a new era for fans hopeful for greater success in the coming years for stock car racing’s Most Popular Driver. On Tuesday, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. took that momentum and ran with it – he predicted the No. 88 would win no less than four races during its first year on the Sprint Cup tour.