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Down in Daytona: Nationwide Series Underway With Testing

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.

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NASCAR Has 21 Reasons to Up Minimum Age

Word on the street is that NASCAR is toying with the idea of changing the minimum age for racing in the Sprint Cup Series from 18 to 21. Already there has been a negative reactions from race fans as it impacts a few teams' development drivers, namely Joe Gibbs Racing's phenom Joey Logano. Logano, 17, would not be eligible to race in the Cup series until mid-2011, a year and a half behind schedule, and the rule would throw a speedbump at Rookie of the Year honors as Logano would not be able to compete until after his birthday, May 24. Race fans have flooded message boards with reasons why this is a terrible idea. They cite everything from drivers beginning racing at a younger age to the "it's just a way to stick it to teams" excuse. Frankly, I just don't get their reaction.

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Down in Daytona: A Rundown of Sprint Cup Testing

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 miles per hour. 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.

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2008 Preseason Thunder: Sprint Cup Daytona Testing Cumulative Speeds: Single Car Runs

Cumulative Speeds Single Car Runs Pos No Name Make Best Time Best Speed Session 1 88B Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chv 48.43 185.82 D5AM 2 22B Dave Blaney Tyt 48.53 185.45 D4PM 3 55 Michael Waltrip Tyt 48.56 185.36 D5AM 4 83A Brian Vickers Tyt 48.57 185.31 D4PM 5 44A Dale …

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There Will Be Only One Junior To Blame

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. Now that the son of NASCAR legend and seven-time Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt is officially driving for arguably the top race team on the circuit, it appears that all systems are a go for Earnhardt, Jr. to take his career accomplishments to a higher level and quite possibly not only contend for championships, but win one or more. 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. Of course, with Earnhardt's demonstrated ability to chauffeur a race car and the Hendrick organization behind him, there is every reason to believe that the long-suffering members of Earnhardt Nation will be rewarded. But like any good prediction, nothing is set in stone. What if Junior's performance does not live up to the high expectations set by both Earnhardt, Jr. and his fans? Who will be to blame then? Chances are, it'll be the man turning the wrenches.

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