DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 4, 2001) -- The 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season officially came to a close last weekend with the banquet at the historic Waldorf-Astoria in New York and the celebration of Jeff Gordon's fourth Winston Cup championship.
But now that the dinner has been devoured, the paychecks distributed and the speeches given, it's time to turn our attention to Speedweeks 2002 and the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.
But before the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season begins with the "Great American Race," teams will first come to Daytona International Speedway in January for testing. Kicking off the testing season at Daytona will be the Grand American Road Racing Series on Jan. 3-5 as the top sportscars in the world prepare for the 40th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 2-3.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will test in two sessions. On Jan. 7-9, the teams that finished in the odd-numbered owner's points standings in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will test on the 2.5-mile tri-oval with Jan. 10 serving as a rain date.
Among those teams expected to be in attendance will be two-time Daytona 500 champions Jeff Gordon and Sterling Marlin, three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett, Raybestos Rookie of the Year Kevin Harvick and 2001 Pepsi 400 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
On Jan. 14-16, the even-numbered teams in the owner's standings will test with Jan. 17 serving as a rain date. Expected to be in attendance for that test include Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Burton. The two sessions will be the only testing time Winston Cup teams will have at Daytona before Speedweeks.
"Anytime you can test and try to get better, it's very, very important," said Mike Skinner, who takes over the driving reigns of the No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.
On Jan. 12-13, the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series will prep for its 150-mile season-opening event on Feb. 9 while on Jan. 18-20, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will test for the third annual Florida Dodge Dealers 250 on Feb. 15.
The NASCAR Busch Series teams that finished in the odd-numbered spots in the owner's points standings will test on Jan. 21-22 in preparation for the Feb. 16 EAS/GNC Live Well 300 with Jan. 23 serving as a rain date. On Jan. 24-25, the even-numbered Busch Series teams will test with Jan. 26 serving as a rain date.
Testing is free to the public with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Speedweeks 2002 events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.
January Testing Schedule
3 -- 5 Rolex 24 Test
7 -- 9 NASCAR Winton Cup Test -- Odd Car Owner Points (Jan. 10 rain date)
12 -- 13 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Test
14 -- 16 NASCAR Winston Cup Test -- Even Car Owner Points (Jan. 17 rain date)
18 -- 20 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Test
21 -- 22 NASCAR Busch Series Test -- Odd Car Owner Points (Jan. 23 rain date)
24 -- 25 NASCAR Busch Series Test -- Even Car Owner Points (Jan. 26 rain date)