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Daytona Notes: More Fixes At DIS

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 2 2010

This was the scene during the Daytona 500 last February when a pothole in the track forced a mid-race fix-it job. (File photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Daytona Beach, Fla. – The famous pothole area in Turn 2 at Daytona International Speedway has reared its ugly head.

Following a day of practice at the 2.5-mile speedway on Thursday, track maintenance workers repaired an area measuring one-foot tall by 4 ½ feet long.

Five months after the track came apart in Turn 2 in the Daytona 500, speedway president Robin Braig said his facility is ready for a full weekend of NASCAR and GRAND-AM Series racing.

“(The repair) wasn’t anything out of the usual for us,” Braig said. “It’s normal track maintenance.

“The Grand-AmSeries (following their practice) has reported nothing this morning.”

Heavy track activity, cold temperatures and rain contributed to the speedway’s surface cracking in February.

Braig believes the faster speeds being turned by Sprint Cup cars this weekend didn’t play a role in the most-recent damage to the surface.

“That has not been something that has been agitating it more so than just the fact that dip exists there and the different setups the cars are going through,” Braig said. “It’s going to get tested.

“But we are confident that the precautions we are taking are going to make for a great Coke Zero 400.”

Daytona International Speedway is scheduled to be repaved following Saturday night’s race.

Ganassi on prowl: After dominating and leading the most laps in last year’s Brickyard 400, Juan Pablo Montoya was unable to take team owner Chip Ganassi to victory lane after his No. 42 Chevrolet was caught speeding on pit road.

Ganassi, the only car owner to win the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in the same season, said his organization won’t place added emphasis on trying to win the Brickyard 400 later this month.

“We approach every race the same as every other,” Ganassi said. “We give it 100 percent of our effort every race. Indianapolis is no different than Daytona, no different than New Hampshire, no different than Talladega or Bristol or anywhere else.

“We’re going to go back there and give it 100 percent. We’re not going to give it 120 percent. We’re not going to give it 99. We’re going to give it 100 percent.”

Hamlin goin’ truckin’: Billy Ballew Motorsports announced Friday that Denny Hamlin will drive the No. 15 Toyota Tundra in the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31.

Hamlin has competed in 11 NCWTS races, scoring four top-10s and one top-five finish. Four of the eleven starts were with BBM. His best finish came at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2008, which he finished in third-place driving the No. 15 truck. Hamlin also led 64 laps at Martinsville Speedway in 2008 while driving for BBM.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Hamlin. “Billy Ballew Motorsports has given me great equipment in the past and I’m really looking forward to racing with them again. The truck races are so much fun. Those guys race really, really hard all race long. I really enjoy racing at Pocono and can’t wait to get there and go truck racing.”

Ridin’ with Smoke: More than 48,000 fans will ride along with Tony Stewart in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.

Thanks to a promotion from sponsor Burger King, the signature of 48,000 NASCAR fans will be incorporated into the company’s logo on the hood of Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet.

“The hood is actually going on Ebay with the 48,000 signatures and my signature,” Stewart said. “I’m really excited that we were able to get the race fans onboard.”

Rusty experience: Retired NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace’s name will be associated with a new racing experience school at Auto Club Speedway in California. It is expected to launch in September.

“It’s something I’m really excited about and want to share with fans across the country, Wallace said Friday.

Participants will drive Toyota race cars that have been refurbished after competing in the Cup Series.

Go to www.racewithrusty.com for additional information.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 2 2010
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