First Stop Of The Season, Daytona International Speedway

First stop of the Season, Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida … a two-point-five-mile oval with thirty-one degrees of banking in the turns, three degrees on the straights and eighteen degrees through the front stretch tri-oval. The length of the front stretch is thirty-eight hundred feet, the backstretch three thousand feet. The race starts at 6:00 pm on Saturday.

The Front-Row Qualifying for the 58th Daytona 500 will be the following day, Sunday, at 12 pm.

Last year, it was an all-Chevrolet front row made up of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon, who won the pole, and Jimmie Johnson in the unique qualifying format which guarantees only the top two drivers their starting positions in the Daytona 500. On race day last season, Johnson finished fifth while Gordon labored to a thirty-third-place finish. The last pole sitter to win the “five hundred” was Dale Jarrett in 2000. The last driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500 poles was Ken Schrader, who put three in a row together from 1988 to 1990. The remainder of the forty-car starting field will be set in Thursday’s Can-Am Duel twin-qualifying races.

Vickers For Stewart?

The Associated Press is reporting that Brian Vickers will soon be named to replace the injured Tony Stewart for upcoming events at Daytona International Speedway, including the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 21st. Stewart-Haas Racing would not confirm Wednesday’s report and has a press conference scheduled Friday morning. On January 31st, Stewart suffered a serious back injury in an all-terrain-vehicle accident while vacationing in California. He was driving dune buggies in a group with other NASCAR drivers and was injured as he reportedly landed hard after a jump.

Stewart is now recovering from surgery, which was performed February 3rd. There is no announced timetable for his return. Vickers made just two starts last season with Michael Waltrip Racing before being sidelined by a recurrence of blood clots and must be medically cleared by NASCAR before returning to competition.


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