Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:41 am

Budweiser moves sponsorship to include Duel

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Duel at Daytona qualifying races will get a new name and sponsor beginning in 2013.

Budweiser has changed its sponsorship agreement with Daytona International Speedway and will now sponsor the pair of traditional 150-mile events that set the field for the Daytona 500.

The Budweiser Duel at Daytona is the new official name of the Thursday races with the brewery replacing Gatorade as sponsor of the event.

Beginning with the 2013 season, Budweiser will also become the official title sponsor of Speedweeks – the ten-day stretch of stock-car races from the Shootout to the Daytona 500.

The decision means the Shootout, which had carried Anheuser-Busch sponsorship since its inception, will have a new sponsor beginning next season.

"We've enjoyed a long relationship with Budweiser on that event and it's been great," said Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III. "But we've worked out an arrangement to enhance the company's partnership with the race track and in the process it's opened up an opportunity to bring a new sponsor to the Shootout beginning next year. We're talking to a few companies who have shown interest and the good news is after the race we had here last Saturday night, it's great timing to showcase the event to potential sponsors."

Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:05 am

Johnson the preseason favorite of NASCAR media

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

On Wednesday, Pete Pistone and I unleashed our 2012 NASCAR season predictions on the world.

Today, NASCAR released a poll it had been taking among NASCAR media members. Jimmie Johnson came out on top, just ahead of Carl Edwards.

In our picks, both Pistone and I felt Johnson would be in the thick of the title hunt yet again, with Pistone picking him to win it all, while I placed him second. We disagreed a bit about Edwards. I'm  pegging Edwards as my preseason favorite, while Pistone think it may take him a year to recover from last season's disappointment.

Here's the complete NASCAR press release:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2012) – Undoubtedly, Jimmie Johnson would like to forget that the 2011 season ever happened. Apparently, voters in NASCARMedia.com’s annual preseason poll already have.

Members of NASCARMedia.com picked Johnson to reign supreme once again – despite a career-low sixth-place finish in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points.

Johnson received 147 votes in the annual preseason poll, just two more than Carl Edwards, who finished second in last season’s championship points. Rounding out the top 12: defending champion Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

Voting among the top four was especially close, as Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon were separated by only seven votes. Stewart trailed Johnson by three votes.

“To be honest I'm stoked they did,” Johnson said. “They know racing and know how much last year will motivate us. Now, we need to go out and do our best to make them all look good.”

Media members were also tasked with predicting the final top 10 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

NASCAR reporters feel déjà vu in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, picking Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to become the first NASCAR Nationwide repeat champion since Martin Truex Jr. accomplished the rare feat in 2004-05.

Stenhouse, who tallied 74 votes, nabbed two more than Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon and last season’s runner up Elliott Sadler. Filling out the top 10: Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr., Danica Patrick, Kenny Wallace, Cole Whitt, Trevor Bayne and Michael Annett.

Johnny Sauter came a scant six points short of winning last season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Instead, Austin Dillon wore the 2011 crown. Dillon’s gone now, moving to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCARMedia.com prognosticators believe Sauter will take advantage of his absence.

In the closest vote among the three series, Sauter’s 62 votes barely edged Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ty Dillon (Austin’s little brother) for the top spot. The younger Dillon tallied 61 votes from the media.

Rounding out the top 10: Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Crafton, James Buescheer, Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman, Joey Coulter, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jason Leffler, Justin Lofton and David Starr.

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:18 pm

Budweiser Shootout entry list released

By Pete Pistone

Here are the eligible drivers for Saturday night's running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. There are severakl drivers eligible for the exhibition race that currently do not have rides for th eevent:

2012 Budweiser Shootout Entry List

1 - Jamie McMurray
2 - Brad Keselowski
5 - Kasey Kahne
9 - Marcos Ambrose
11 - Denny Hamlin
14 - Tony Stewart
15 - Clint Bowyer
16 - Greg Biffle
17 - Matt Kenseth
18 - Kyle Busch
20 - Joey Logano
22 - AJ Allmendinger
24 - Jeff Gordon
27 - Paul Menard
29 - Kevin Harvick
31 - Jeff Burton
34 - David Ragan
39 - Ryan Newman
42 - Juan Pablo Montoya
48 - Jimmie Johnson
51 - Kurt Busch
55 - Michael Waltrip
56 - Martin Truex Jr.
88 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
99 - Carl Edwards 

Eligible but yet not entered: 

Mark Martin
Brian Vickers
Bill Elliott
Geoff Bodine
Derrike Cope
Trevor Bayne
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader 

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:10 pm

Unpredictable Daytona Speedweeks lies ahead

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Trevor Bayne's win in last year's Daytona 500 set the tone for a competitive and exciting 2011 season)

The new NASCAR season is about to dawn as it has since 1959 when “The World Center of Racing” hosts Speedweeks. 

Teams have been hard at work preparing for their 10 days in Florida that will no doubt produce surprises, frustration and excitement culminating with the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26.


Things are a week later than usual at Daytona as NASCAR pushed back the proceedings in advance of the NFL’s proposed move of the Super Bowl to President’s Day weekend in the near future. The separation of the Daytona 500 from the NFL shadow was a wise move to get in front of and has also helped whet the appetites for hungry race fans anxious for the start of the season. 

But before “The Great American Race” there will be much to watch at Daytona beginning later this week so we offer you a quick “Guide to Speedweeks 2012:” 

Thursday, February 16 – Media Day

After one of the busiest and most memorable offseasons in NASCAR history, drivers will officially gather to meet the media in a daylong gathering held in a mammoth tent just outside the speedway. Sure we heard from drivers during Preseason Thunder testing in January and during the annual Media Tour in Charlotte, but Daytona Media Day offers one more chance to hear how excited everyone is for the coming campaign. It’s also a chance to see some of the new sponsor and color combinations as well as who stayed on their workout plan during the winter and who strayed from the program. 

Saturday, February 18 – ARCA 200/Budweiser Shootout

The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) stock car series begins its 60<sup>th</sup> season of activity with its annual 200-mile Daytona event. Many of today’s NASCAR stars came through the ARCA Series over the years and young drivers like Brandon McReynolds, Chris Buescher, Mikey Kile and Max Gresham bear watching Saturday afternoon. 

The main event then comes with Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, an exhibition race open to the top 25 drivers in last year’s point standings as well as others who have won at Daytona in recent years, a criteria that should produce one of the race’s largest fields in history at more than 30. Although no points are on the line, there is a healthy payday to the winner of the event, which is broken into two segments of 25 and 50 laps. But more importantly, it's the first real opportunity for teams to see NASCAR’s new rule package in place after days of testing last month in Daytona. The bigger restrictor plates, smaller spoilers and cooling system modifications -– all designed to at the very least limit the two-car tandem draft that has been so poorly received by a majority of fans –- will get a workout in the Shootout and perhaps provide a sneak peak of what to expect later in the week. 

Sunday, February 19 – Daytona 500 Qualifying

Sprint Cup drivers will get two laps around the 2.5-mile speedway in Sunday’s qualifying session with the fastest of the pair the official mark. However, unlike the other 35 races of the season, this qualifying session is unique in only the front row for the Daytona 500 is locked in. The rest of the starting lineup will be determined through Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races with a combination of finishing positions, points and qualifying speeds deciding the 43-car field.

Thursday, February 23 – Gatorade Duel at Daytona

The two Thursday races have lost some of their luster from the days of the “go or go home” heat races they were before NASCAR instituted the Top 35 rule. Now drivers who finished inside the first 35 of last year’s point standings are guaranteed berths in the Daytona 500, so, for some, these two races don’t carry as much pressure as years past. Drivers who qualified in odd spots during Sunday’s time trials make up one race while the even qualifiers comprise the second race. It’s still imperative for some outside the Top 35 to finish high enough in their race to make the field, so although it’s limited, the day does carry a certain amount of drama.

Image Detail
(Michael Waltrip scored an emotional victory in last season's truck series opener at Daytona)

Friday, February 24 – Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy 250

The season opener for the NCWTS is usually a competitive and at times slam bang affair. Last year’s race saw Michael Waltrip score an emotional win 10 years to the day after his 2001 Daytona 500 victory. This year’s Truck Series features an eclectic mix of young drivers trying to make a name for themselves and veterans looking to add to their careers. Ty Dillon takes the championship-winning ride of his older brother Austin and will face a field that includes four-time champion Ron Hornaday, former champ Mike Skinner, 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, Jason Leffler in Kyle Busch’s truck and another former Daytona winner in Todd Bodine among others.

Saturday, February 25 – Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300

This race has been the Tony Stewart show for the last four years with “Smoke” winning the season-opening race every year since 2008 and victorious in six of the last seven seasons. He’ll try it again this year and as always will battle of stellar field of Sprint Cup drivers as well as Nationwide regulars. The race will mark the debut of Austin Dillon’s NWS effort for Richard Childress Racing while Danica Patrick begins her full-time assault on the series crown. Cole Whitt, Elliott Sadler and defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- back for another complete season for Roush Fenway Racing -- will be others to watch. 

Sunday, February 26 – Daytona 500

Last year’s Cinderella story of Trevor Bayne bringing the storied Wood Brothers to Victory Lane was the start of what turned out to be what I considered the best season in NASCAR history. The number of unknowns heading into this year’s race has even the most seasoned follower wondering what will transpire once the green flag flies. Will the new rules make an impact in the style of racing? Which news driver-crew chief combinations will prosper? What teammates will be able to work together in the draft and will anyone be left out in the cold ala the last restrictor plate race at Talladega? How will the new electronic fuel injection system function? Can either Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Danica Patrick pull off a victory that would send NASCAR into the stratosphere of publicity and exposure? 

It promises to be one of the most intriguing Speedweeks in recent history. We’ll all find out together when we roll into Daytona later this week. 

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @PPistone on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed      

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:42 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 2:59 pm

2012 Daytona Speedweeks Schedule

By Pete Pistone

Here's this year's official Daytona Speedweeks schedule of events with radio/television coverage information. All times are Eastern:

Date Event Time TV
THURS 2/16 ARCA Racing Series Practice 1 p.m.-5 p.m.  
FRI 2/17 ARCA Racing Series Qualifying 2 p.m.  
  Budwiser Shootout Practice 5 p.m.-5:45 p.m. SPEED
  Final Budweiser Shootout Practice 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. SPEED
  Drawing for Budweiser Shootout Lineup 8 p.m. SPEED (8:30 p.m.)
SAT 2/18 ARCA Racing Series Final Practice 10 a.m. -10:45 a.m.  
  Sprint Cup Series Practice 11 a.m.-1 p.m. SPEED
  Sprint Cup Series Practice 2 p.m.-3:45 p.m. SPEED
  ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil SLick Mist 200 4:30 p.m. SPEED
  Radio Pre-Race 7 p.m. MRN
  Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout 8 p.m. FOX
SUN 2/19 Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 Qualifying 1 p.m. MRN/FOX
WED 2/22 Sprint Cup Series Practice 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m.  
  Sprint Cup Series Practice 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m.  
THURS 2/23 Nationwide Series Practice 9 a.m.-9:50 a.m.  
  Nationwide Series Final Practice 10:15 a.m.-11:50 a.m.  
  Camping World Truck Series Practice 12:10 p.m.-1 p.m.  
  Radio Pre-Race  1 p.m. MRN
  TV Pre-Race   SPEED
  Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 2 p.m. MRN/SPEED
  Camping World Truck Series Final Practice 6 p.m.-7:20 p.m.  
FRI 2/24 Sprint Cup Series Practice 11 a.m.-12 p.m.  
  Sprint Cup Series Practice 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.  
  Nationwide Series Qualifying 2:05 p.m.  
  Camping World Truck Series Qualifying 4:05 p.m.  
  Radio Pre-Race 7:15 p.m. MRN
  TV Pre-Race   SPEED
  Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 7:30 p.m. MRN/SPEED
SAT 2/25 Sprint Cup Series Final Practice 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.  
  Radio Pre-Race   MRN
  TV Pre-Race   ESPN2
  Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 1:15 p.m. MRN/ESPN2
SUN 2/26 Radio Pre-Race 12 p.m. MRN
  TV Pre-Race 12 p.m. FOX
  Daytona 500 1 p.m. MRN/FOX
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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:04 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 11:05 am

Speedweeks start times finalized

By Pete Pistone

For the third straight year, the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time.

Start times for the other remaining events of Speedweeks 2012 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:

·         The 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race, Jan. 28-29, 3:30 p.m.

·         The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Saturday, Feb. 18, 4:30 p.m.

·         The Budweiser Shootout  non-points event, Saturday, Feb. 18, 8:10 p.m.

·         Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 19, 1:05 p.m.

·         Gatorade Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.

·         NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.

·         DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:15 p.m.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:53 pm

NASCAR limiting team radio communication

By Pete Pistone

Teams will no longer be able to communicate with one another next season under new guidelines implemented by NASCAR.

The sanctioning body will reportedly end the practice of crew chiefs, team members, drivers or spotters talking to one another during races in an effort to break up the two-car drafting tandems at restrictor plate races in Daytona and Talladega.

Last year several teams used in-car communication to discuss drafting options with competitors and help orchestrate the nose-to-tail drafting practice that many fans have come to despise.

While teams will still be allowed to communicate inside an organization they will no longer be allowed to talk with others beginning with Speedweeks in Daytona next February.

Last year some drivers had the ability to talk with more than 20 others via in-car radio.

An official announcement has not yet come from NASCAR, which issued this statement regarding radio communication:

"We are having and will continue to have discussions with the race teams about radio communication, in particular, teams communicating between one another during events and expect to have a policy in place for the 2012 season."

NASCAR is expected to implement other changes to the restrictor plate as well as engine cooling systems to continue the effort to eradicate the two-car tandems.

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Category: Auto Racing
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com