Feb 27, 2012; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; A jet drier catches fire after NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya (42) lost control of his car an collided in turn three during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

NASCAR: Preseason Thunder Gets Underway Thursday Morning At Daytona Internationnal Speedway

After what we, as race fans consider a long off-season, it’s finally time to get the New Year underway, with the drivers, and cars back in a familiar place. the race track. What better place in the world is better than the home of The Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway to get it going?

Jul 7, 2012; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart (14) leads the field through turn one during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason Thunder gets underway on Thursday morning with two sessions each day in the mornings, and afternoons where teams and drivers can test the new rules package for the Gen-6 Car in preparation for the Bud Shootout, now called The Sprint Unlimited, and The Daytona 500 the following week.

The rules package for Daytona includes:

  • Plate size                      29/32″ (same plate size as 2012)
  • Spoiler size                   4″ high x 53″ wide
  • Spoiler angle                 70 degrees
  • Front Grille size             1-3/4″ high x 23″ wide
  • Radiator Relief valve     32 psi

If speeds with the new car bodies inch up a little too high, or drivers find problems with the set-ups, expect some tweaking of these rules before and after the Shootout, and maybe again before the 500. The changes to the cars, albeit  only body changes, and do not incorporate changes to the internals of the cars, the body changes will change aero packages enough to force crew chiefs, and teams to have to make a new book on all the tracks.

NASCAR will take an opportunity during this testing period to showcase the drivers and cars during a Fan Fest which will be held on Thursday evening. They will have drivers forums, autograph sessions, show cars, with music and photo opportunities with the 2013 Harley J Earl Trophy that will be presented to the winner of the Daytona 500.

Among the drivers scheduled to appear on Thursday, Jan. 10 during the 5:30–7:30 p.m. session are Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Mark Martin.

In the 7:30–9:30 p.m. session, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, 2012 Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano, David Ragan, David Gilliland, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Casey Mears are scheduled to appear.

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.

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.

The new racing season is just around the corner, and personally can’t wait. To put in Old DW’s words…Let’s Go Racin Boys!!

Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47  Member of NASCARFollowback

Tags: Brad Keselowski Dale Earnhardt Jr Danica Patrick Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Sprint Cup Series Tony Stewart

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