Daytona hot spot for testing
Amanda Vincent/NASCAR Columnist
Jan. 12 2002
Testing is underway for the 2002 season with mixed manufacturer Winston Cup teams testing at Daytona International Speedway. Teams that finished the 2001 season in odd numbered positions are testing this week, and those that finished last season in even numbered positions will test next week. It marks the first time in 15 years that Winston Cup Daytona preseason testing has not been manufacturer specific.
One of the reasons for testing all the manufacturers together was to test a new aero package for restrictor plate racing in 2002. NASCAR plans to utilize a slightly smaller restrictor plate. Gone will be the strip near the front of the roof of the car. Spoiler angles will also be modified. There also will be a few other modifications that will be manufacturer specific.
NASCAR will wait until after the even number testing next week to make a final ruling on the new aero package. The sanctioning body has, however, decided to let teams change engines at Daytona despite a new rule that goes into effect in 2002 limiting teams to only one engine per race weekend. NASCAR sites the extended practice sessions and additional races at Daytona for the rule exception.
Perhaps one surprise already coming out of Daytona testing has to do with the first day speed chart. At the conclusion of the first day of testing, 2002 Rookie of the Year candidate Jimmie Johnson was on top with a newly-formed team owned by veteran owner Rick Hendrick and four-time Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon.
Johnson will be competing with the likes of Ryan Newman and possibly Shawna Robinson for 2002 Rookie of the Year honors.
Another Daytona-related NASCAR note for 2002 is the addition of a second Busch Series race at the track. The Busch Series schedule expands to 34 in 2002 compared to 33 in 2001. The one road course race previously on the schedule was dropped and a second race also was added for Nashville Superspeedway.
There will be a NASCAR first in 2002 in relation to schedules. All three of NASCAR's top touring divisions (Winston Cup, Busch Grand National, and Craftsman Truck) will wrap-up their seasons at the same place and during the same weekend, Miami-Homestead from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17. Below are schedules
for the 2002 season.
Winston Cup Schedule
Feb. 10 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 14 Gatorade 125s at Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 17 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 24 North Carolina 400 at North Carolina Speedway
March 3 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 10 Atlanta 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 17 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway
March 24 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
April 7 Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
April 14 Martinsville 500 at Martinsville Speedway
April 21 Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway
April 28 NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway
May 4 Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway
May 18 The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway
May 26 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway
June 2 MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway
June 16 Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway
June 23 Sonoma 350K at Sears Point Raceway
July 6 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway
July 14 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway
July 21 New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway
July 28 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway
Aug. 4 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug. 11 Watkins Glen International
Aug. 18 Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 24 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 1 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway
Sept. 7 Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 15 New Hampshire 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway
Sept. 22 MBNA America 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway
Sept. 29 Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway
Oct. 6 EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway
Oct. 20 Martinsville 500 at Martinsville Speedway
Oct. 27 NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Nov. 3 Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway
Nov. 10 Checker Auto Parts 500K at Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 17 Homestead 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Busch Series schedule will be printed next week and the truck series
schedule the following week.