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Three Day Test Begins At DIS

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, January 20 2011

The Sprint Cup cars will kick off the year with a three-day test at Daytona International Speeday this week. It begins Thursday. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

The engines of the Sprint Cup cars will fire for the first time in 2011 when  a three-day test gets under way at Daytona International Speedway today. Most of the top drivers will be participating.

The test – scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22 – runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. ET daily, weather permitting, with a noon-1 p.m. lunch break each day. Attending media will have interview opportunities in the infield media center (see Page 2 schedule).

“It’s a very demanding time of the year,” Alan Gustafson, new crew chief for Jeff Gordon said this week, “but it’s very gratifying because you see projects get started and you see them come to fruition.”

A Goodyear tire test on Dec. 15-16 set the stage for this week’s session.

Last year’s repave – only the second at 2.5-mile Daytona and the first since 1978 – began after the NASCAR Sprint Cup event on July 3 and ended in early December.

During the tire test (open to all series teams), those attending validated Goodyear’s compound selection for the Daytona 500, the series’ traditional season-opener, plus drivers and crew chiefs provided the sport’s first on-track feedback about the new pavement to track and NASCAR officials.

“The upcoming test at Daytona should go a long way in helping the teams get their

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton will keep eye on things at Daytona today. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

setups right for next month’s Speedweeks,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “We received a lot of positive feedback from the competitors about the new racing surface at Daytona following the Goodyear tire test last month. We believe the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 has all the makings of being the most exciting one we’ve ever seen.”

Several new teams and different driver combinations will participate at the test, the first step toward winning this year’s Daytona 500.

“It’s a huge race for everyone,” Gustafson said of the 500. “A race that everybody wants to win; the biggest race of the year. Everybody had some reservations, so going down there with the tire test and coming back, it just confirms that Daytona is Daytona – it’s the track we all love. That’s wonderful to know. So going back there now, it’s trying to exploit what little nuances of speed we can.”

Fans can attend the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona – the companion event to on-track activity. Along with watching NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing, fans can enjoy three Fan Fest sessions in Daytona’s Sprint FANZONE – from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20 and from 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21.

Roster of drivers schedule to participate in the Sprint Cup test at Daytona International Speedway this week:

00  – David Reutimann  – Michael Waltrip Racing

1 – Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

2 – Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing

4 – Kasey Kahne, Red Bull Racing

5 – Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports

6 – David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing

9 – Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty Motorsports

11 – Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing

13 – Casey Mears, Germain Racing

14 – Tony Stewart, Stewart Haas Racing

16 – Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing

17 – Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing

18 – Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing

20 – Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing

21 – Trevor Bayne, Wood Brother Racing

22 – Kurt Busch, Penske Racing

24 – Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports

27 – Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing

29 – Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing

31 – Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing

33 – Clint Bowyer, Richard Childress Racing

36 – Dave Blaney, Tommy Baldwin Racing

39 – Ryan Newman, Stewart Haas Racing

42 – Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

43 – A.J. Allmendinger, Richard Childress Racing

46 – J.J. Yeley, Whitney Racing

48 – Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports

56 – Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing

60 – Todd Bodine, Germain Racing

64 – Larry Gunselman, Max Q Motorsports

66 – Michael McDowell, HP Racing

77 – Steve Wallace, Rusty Wallace Racing

78 – Regan Smith, Furniture Row Motorsports

83 – Brian Vickers, Red Bull Racing

88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports

99 – Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, January 20 2011
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