If it’s mid-January on any given year, chances are better than even that the new body styles of NASCAR stock cars are being aero-tested at the venerable Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
In a ritual equivalent to geese flying north after winter, or the swallows at San Juan Capistrano returning to the monastery, the sound of high-revving V-8 engines returning to Daytona’s famed 2.5 mile superspeedway heralds the arrival of another new racing season.
As race teams ready their new cars, and drivers renew their hopes for fame and fortune in the new year’s racing season, race fans begin to see light at the end of winter’s tunnel as well, and an excitement akin to Christmas morning for a five-year-old takes hold of their collective imaginations.
Testing of the mostly primer-painted ‘Generation 6’ NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecars began today on Daytona’s high-banks, and everyone with even the slightest connection to big time motorsports sat up and took notice. The 2013 racing season is bearing down upon us at more than 200 mph, and for those of us who passionately follow the sport, that’s incredibly good news.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition, puts it all in perspective: “This is the teams’ test and provides an excellent lead in to the upcoming 2013 season. There has been a lot of work put into the development of the Gen-6 car by the manufacturers, teams and NASCAR. It will be exciting to see the new cars on the track for Daytona Preseason Thunder.”
NASCAR’s biggest stars will be on hand today through Saturday, testing their teams’ latest and greatest creations, and taking some time to do what race fans love to see them do, and that is ‘spend some time with them’ at a special Preseason Thunder Fan Fest. ‘Fan Fest’ will include autograph sessions, driver fan forums, show cars and displays, music and a photo opportunity with the 2013 Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy.
Daytona International Speedway will also host special driver chat sessions on the speedway’s social media channels following the end of testing Thursday evening from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Fans can submit questions for Twitter chats by including #DaytonaTesting and the driver’s official Twitter handle. NASCAR’s official Twitter feed @NASCAR will also provide updates throughout the three-day session. Fans can also participate in live driver chats hosted on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.
For those who are ‘social media challenged’, however, SPEED will broadcast live coverage of testing on all three days from 1-5 p.m. ET. Additionally, SPEEDTV.com will stream testing live from 9 a.m.-noon ET each day. Real race fans are rejoicing at all the coverage, and those in Iowa know that if they’re testing in Daytona Beach, they are on the ‘glide side’ of winter and racing will soon be coming their way!
Meanwhile, back at Iowa Speedway, we’re still organizing all the details of our own 2013 racing season, which will include some of those NASCAR stars who are testing in Daytona this week when the Nationwide Series comes to town on June 7-8. But there’s bound to be some pre-season testing here as well, when the snow and ice disappear, along with our own version of the Herald of Spring: The 7th Annual Daytona 500 Party in our fabulous Newton Club on Sunday, February 24.
And just what is so ‘fabulous’ about the Newton Club? Well, that’s the subject of next Thursday’s Track Talk, so be sure to pick up a copy of the January 17 edition of the Newton Daily News and ‘read all about it’!