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It’s the Daytona 500.
There is no need to waste time on why the Great American Race is a big deal. Whoever wins will be known as “The 2013 Daytona 500 Champion" for the rest of his or her life.
What is new?
NASCAR has a new car model, called the Gen-6. It handles better and will offer more speed and passing. At Daytona, that also means an end to the polarizing tandem racing you either love or hate. The draft will increase, and with it the opportunities for multi car wrecks like we saw at the Sprint Unlimited.
The fuel window is also such that we might see mileage play more of a factor this year than in previous years.
What is the same?
The 2.5-mile tri-oval has a one-year old surface. Speeds topped 205 miles an hour. The draft is everything. Get out of it and lose ten spots. At least.
The fan experience away from the track is impressive. Many fans take the entire week off to enjoy the ocean and activities around Florida. Daytona International Speedway worked hard to create a series of events for racing fans; some of whom even get to partake in a pit stop with a real Sprint Cup car. There’s an IMAX to boot for those of you who hate warm weather and sun. There’s so much of that in February.
Now some facts to impress your friends from the track’s website. Enjoy FOX’s coverage beginning at noon in the east.
- Daytona has 31 degrees of banking on the turns, three degrees of banking on the backstretch and 18 degrees of banking on the frontstretch.
- The backstretch is 3,000 feet.
- The frontstretch is 3,800 feet.
- Matt Kenseth won this race last year.
- Tony Stewart won the Daytona race in July.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the highest average finish at Daytona.
- Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, who never won here, and AJ Allmendinger have the next best average finishes among starting drivers.
- Gordon has won here six times. Tony Stewart has won here three times.
- The weekend forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures approaching 80.