BUSCH: Daytona Preseason Thunder preview

NASCAR Busch Series Takes Center Stage To Prepare For 2007 Season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2007) -- New hopes, new dreams, new season. Each comes into play for NASCAR Busch Series drivers and teams at NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason...

NASCAR Busch Series Takes Center Stage To Prepare For 2007 Season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2007) -- New hopes, new dreams, new season. Each comes into play for NASCAR Busch Series drivers and teams at NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona.

Nearly 50 drivers representing over 30 teams are scheduled to participate in two three-day test sessions -- a first for the series -- beginning Friday. Teams that were in even-number positions in the car owner standings as of July 12, 2006, are scheduled to test Friday through Sunday, Jan. 21 while teams in even-number positions in the car owner standings will test from Sunday through Tuesday, Jan. 23.

"It's great to get back to the track and see all the new names and the new talent," said NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash.

All sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., weather permitting, and include a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. During that time, select drivers will be available to the media in the Daytona International Speedway media center (see schedule on page 2).

Drivers attending the first session include Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) and Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford), two drivers who bring international appeal to the NASCAR Busch Series. Montoya, a former open-wheel star, is from Colombia while Ambrose, a native Australian, competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series last season

The Florida connection of 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion Joe Nemechek (No. 87 NEMCO Chevrolet -- Lakeland) and David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota -- Zephyrhills) test during the first session as do Clint Bowyer (No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet), Kyle Busch (No. 5 Spectracide/Sta-Green/Delphi Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 81 DEI Chevrolet).

Timothy Peters, one of many new drivers preparing for their first taste of extended series competition this year, will test the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet during the session. Childress captured his third NASCAR Busch Series owner championship with the No. 21 last year while Kevin Harvick -- who will share the ride in 2007 with Peters -- is the reigning series driver champion, having won his second title in 2006.

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Fan Fest Offers Driver Q&As, Entertainment ... Fans watching NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona test sessions also have the chance to ask questions of their favorite drivers plus enjoy an afternoon and evening at Daytona's NEXTEL FANZONE. Among the Fan Fest opportunities: Driver question and answer sessions, show cars, bands, a silent auction, displays and pit-stop demonstrations. Cost is $10 for each session. Fans can watch each day's test at no cost, beginning at 9 a.m.

Jan. 20 and 21: NASCAR Busch Series Fan Fest

Fast Facts

Session I: NASCAR Busch Series teams in even-numbered positions in car owner standings as of July 12, 2006

What: NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing for the 2007 Orbitz 300

Where: Daytona International Speedway

Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval.

When: Friday, Jan. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 21.

Times: 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Who: Eric McClure, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, David Ragan, Paul Menard, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Timothy Peters, Robert Richardson, Dave Blaney, Brent Sherman, Jamie McMurray, Jason Leffler, Juan Pablo Montoya, Danny O'Quinn Jr., Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Spraker, Steve Wallace, Randy McDonald, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Nemechek, Shane Huffman, Stephen Leicht, David Reutimann, Todd Kluever., Chad Blount, Carlos Contreras., Scott Wimmer.

-credit: nascar

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