While the approach of most sports seasons is met with much fan fare and media hype, NASCAR's premiere race comes on like a lamb, but leaves a huge impact that continues for the next 9 months.
The Daytona 500 is more than just a Sunday afternoon race; it is the culmination of a month long preparation, each event building on the next.
NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunderfest features fan forums, bands, car shows, pit stop demonstrations and a silent auction. The Fanfests coincide with January's NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and Craftsmen Truck series test sessions.
The test sessions were held from January 10th - January 21st. For the next few weeks the countdown to Daytona continues with various races. "Rolex 24 at Daytona" - January 28-29, is the kick-off to Speed week. It is not only the most prestigious sports car race, but also the toughest. An international field of drivers and teams fight it out on the Speedway's 3.56 mile course. Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying - February 12th. All NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will be searching for speed to win a spot at the pole and outside pole, at 'The Great American Race.' Gatorade Duel at Daytona - February 16th. The Gatorade Duel is the biggest non-weekend sporting event in the country. The 'Duel,' finalizes the starting field for the Daytona 500. The two 150 mile sprint races feature high drama as the stars of NASCAR race for starting spots in the Daytona 500. Daytona 500 - February 19th. After weeks of watching, weeks of studying the cars and crew chiefs and trying to make sense driver changes, the day final comes. Daytona, Florida is overtaken with NASCAR fans. TV's around the country will be tuned in as the race season begins with the famous wordsiii"Gentlemen, start your engines."
Who will win this year's NEXTEL Cup? Who will be NEXTEL's Rookie of the Year? It's going to be a long 9 months until we know for sure, but rest assured it will be an exciting ride.
About the Author
Kelly Croslis is a stay-at-home-mom to 3 busy teenage girls. After moving around the country with her husband for the last 15 years, while he has served in the U.S. Navy, they are looking forward to joining the 'civilian world' later this year. She has been writing for several years, having several works published in Poem Anthologies.
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