Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changes Give More Bang for Fans' Bucks; SpeedWeeks Moves Include a Jam-Packed First Saturday and Price Cuts on Food

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changes Give More Bang for Fans' Bucks; SpeedWeeks Moves Include a Jam-Packed First Saturday and Price Cuts on Food

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE

DAYTONA BEACH - Crews that stayed up for the entire 24 hours of the Rolex 24 at Daytona were told in advance they needed to leave the Daytona International Speedway as soon as possible on Sunday.

The racetrack wasn't being an ungrateful host; it just needed all the time possible to get ready for two more weeks of racing.

The schedule and rules have been changed for this weekend's qualifying for the Daytona 500, ARCA Series race and Budweiser Shootout, as well as next week's schedule that includes the season-opening races for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.

While sports car teams finally slept, the speedway continued its around-the-clock work in preparation for a busy two weeks.

THREE PRIME EVENTS, ONE ADMISSION

Every car at Daytona this Saturday will be on the track, giving fans an all-day buffet of racing and music.

In the past, the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 for the ARCA Series and the Budweiser Shootout were held on Saturday, and pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 followed on Sunday.

This year, they're all on the same day. And one ticket is good for all three events, including a concert before and after the shootout from the Zac Brown Band, which won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist on Sunday.

The speedway wanted to avoid competing with the Super Bowl on Sunday, so it's packing a weekend's worth of action into one day. And the ARCA race will be the long-awaited stock car debut for Indy-car driver Danica Patrick.

"There has been a lot of interest from the media because of Danica," speedway spokesman Kenny Kane said. "And we've seen particularly more interest from the fans."

If Patrick does well, her race team said they might bring her back for the Nationwide Series race on Feb. 13.

WINDS OF CHANGE

The Budweiser Shootout will have its third different format in the past three years.

The race used to be among pole winners from the previous season. Last year, the top five drivers from the four manufacturers were invited. The exhibition race now includes the 12 drivers from last year's Chase for the Championship, former series and Shootout champions, former winners from either the Daytona 500 or Coke Zero 400 and last year's rookie of the year. …

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