It's that time again: After almost three months of waiting the new NASCAR season traditionally begins with the Speedweeks in Daytona! This weekend is the first Budweiser Shootout in the night from Saturday to Sunday, followed by the Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Sunday night.

This year, a written season preview of the teams and their drivers must unfortunately be omitted due to time constraints. A replacement but we still offer in our podcast: The spending yesterday we first talked about Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing and the changes (such as fuel injection) demonstrated compared to 2011. In the next few weeks then available to other ideas, should be short so none of Racing blog readers or podcast listeners come! For Whom the forty-five minutes of this week is too long: listen, can also look directly at the team chart 2012 in . This preview should therefore explicitly deal with the first part of the upcoming Speed ​​Weeks:

On the Daytona International Speedway NASCAR starts namely this weekend traditionally associated with the Budweiser Shootout and the Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 in their new season. The invitation race has been held since 1979, an ever-changing rules and brings the winner is currently a whopping $ 200,000. By the end of 2008, the shootout was an unofficial competition all last year's pole position-holders, but then the sponsorship deal was for the Pole Award over the competitors Coors Light. Budweiser therefore wanted to solve the race concept of its top ranking in qualifying and then the shootout was declared 2009 a power struggle of six (plus one wildcard 1) highest-ranking manufacturer of cars per year-owner standings.

This qualification rule could be maintained by the majority departure of Dodge only a year, so that the starting locations had to be awarded from 2010 again for a new system. This time, moved the Daytona International Speedway themselves in the spotlight, because in addition to the past winners of the invitation race all former race winner of the Daytona race points were first admitted. These were joined in one - despite generous participation restrictions - relatively small field of starters (24) also all previous Cup Champions, the Chase drivers in the preseason and all drivers who ever rookie-of-the-Year honors first in the league come are (2010 only the best rookie last year).

This season, it was decided to simplify the conditions and the little box to increase again. As of 2012, the top 25 in the driver standings are the Budweiser Shootout now set and also still as before all former winners of the invitations and the points race. The mode in which the event is held, has not changed, however great since the introduction of the now valid name in 2001. At the time, took the Shootout 70 rounds, there are 75 rounds since 2009, which are divided into two segments since 2003.

Segment 1 runs over 25 rounds (until 2009 only 20 rounds) and can be seen as a foretaste of the extended finale. It gives the team enough time on the track to get the setup of the car under control before it goes 50 rounds to win the sausage or premium segment 2. The two sections are interrupted by a ten-minute break in which the teams in the pit lane or optionally the garage may perform all work on the vehicle to which they are entitled during a normal pit stop in the race. Major changes such. As the change of springs, shock absorbers or rear sections are prohibited.

The Budweiser Shootout is usually quite a spectacle, since the scope of the prize money drops in chasing the winner rather quickly: "Win or bust!", As the Americans say. In recent years, however, it is become more quiet, as you calculated for the entire Speedweeks only two cars per driver. The best car of a team is doing just rolled usually for Great-American-Race from the hauler to nothing to risk. So should the B variant, which is one of, if possible invitation race in one piece off after the shootout also through the poles qualification and Gatorade Duels must be returned to the garage! Otherwise, the donning of gloves off for the rest of Speedweeks in the actual race car's just announced ...

What we in the night from Saturday to Sunday at 2 Clock (Yes, it goes directly to a beloved night race going on!) But definitely will see is an interesting view of the bump-draft mode for the big Daytona 500 . The NASCAR has already formidable playing around in the pre-season tests with the cooling system of the car to get the cockpit instruments previously illuminated. For if the engine overheats faster, the driver of a two-car drafts have often swapped positions because the newer form of restrictor-plate Racings by many fans, drivers and officials is not appreciated. The vexing issue should properly belong to the past in January after the Daytona test session, but so very successful one was not there.

The tango would simply not be resolved, and that even though they had the air intake for the radiator offset almost directly to the contact point for the bump-drafting. Under certain circumstances, ie the engine now gets no cooling wind at a more driving on it afterwards. In addition, the capacity of the cooling circuit was reduced and prescribed a pressure valve that even with less steam a boiling fountain can shoot into the sky. Numbers I quote here for clarity deliberately does not occur because the officials have yet been experimenting a lot with small things. Also, an increase in the holes in the restrictor plate brought no relief, no more than the sense that the connection of the two car was heavier produce.

What NASCAR has achieved so ultimately, is to shorten the maximum period of implementation of a two-car drafts per unique sequence in the formation of the two cars. Could one earlier ride more than ten rounds together, so this period has gone down to less than ten rounds. Nevertheless, the tandems are still faster by up to five miles per hour namely. The only downside is the loss of time in internal position change and as long as NASCAR makes at least not any second round ahead of time - as it used to be - I do not see any changes. The test as driving in big package has not been successful in January anyway. Maybe the officials should there something creative and rigorous be.

But before we ever get to the Daytona 500, first, the participants must be determined in a rather complex mode of qualification. The first step of a long series takes place on Sunday evening from 19 clock in the so-called pole qualifying and that involves as its name suggests, really just for pole position (on both sides). After the session, namely, the two top-ranked pilots on these same starting positions established in the biggest race of the year. All other results from qualifying then just define the starting order of the two Gatorade Duels-in which the exact order in the grid for the Daytona 500 is determined; with one exception:

It is very important to the three (possibly four if no Champions Provisional claim is made) to watch top-ranked and not yet qualified teams. These are then eligible to computational reasons after the Pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. You can check in their Gatorade Duel but still go once more to the big race and thus any substitutes on doing a big favor. But I'll get to in the next week in time for the talk yet Duels on Thursday. In order to shorten the possible scenarios something, therefore, there is only so much time being. Who really wants to have a full shot at a stroke, which can feel free to look at my article last year in this regard, I have linked here .

Well, one more thing, not some readers vain have to worry about their favorite: Who has landed last season in the Top35 of the Owner Points or has subsequently managed to get such sufficient points in this year's haggling, which is in each event at the Daytona 500 this. The relatively recent entry tricked offers, this I have also linked . Fixed-qualified drivers are NOT marked in red. There is of course also the entry list for the Budweiser Shootout and a timetable to next article:

Broadcast data

Friday, 2/17.
23:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout Practice, SPEED
00:30 clock, Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout Final Practice, SPEED

Saturday, 2/18.
17:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, SPEED
20:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, SPEED
22:30 clock, ARCA Series race (Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200) SPEED
02:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series race (Budweiser Shootout), FOX

Sunday, 2/19.
19:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 pole qualifying FOX

Monday, 2/20. & Tuesday, 2/21.
- FREE -

Wednesday, 22/02.
18:00 clock, Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, SPEED
20:30 clock, Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, SPEED

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