BUSCH: Daytona: Round one preview

Daytona Season-Opener Starts Year In High-Banked Style DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2007) -- Call it the ultimate undercard, the premier preliminary in perhaps all of sports. The annual NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona ...

Daytona Season-Opener Starts Year In High-Banked Style

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2007) -- Call it the ultimate undercard, the premier preliminary in perhaps all of sports.

The annual NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway is the final

"Speedweeks" event before the Daytona 500 and it inevitably stands on its own merit -- both in terms of its field, and its excitement.

Expect more of the same Saturday afternoon, as the ORBITZ 300 will have a mix of NASCAR's biggest names and some of its most promising newer talent, starting with two-time defending champion Tony Stewart (No. 33 Old Spice Chevrolet).

Stewart, also a two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, will drive a Chevy owned by last year's NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick and his wife DeLana; Harvick will be in the race as well, driving the No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet owned by Richard Childress.

Harvick is the series' reigning champion but he won't be defending his title this season.

He plans a limited schedule, sharing the No. 21 with newcomer Timothy Peters, a "graduate" of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he raced the previous two seasons.

Harvick-Peters won't be the only intriguing driver combination, which will make for an especially compelling competition for the car owner championship.

Another combo to watch: Todd Kluever and Greg Biffle in the No. 16 3M Ford; Kluever has the honors this week in the No. 16 with Biffle sliding over to Roush Racing's No. 26 Oreo Ford.

Three past winners of the Orbitz 300 are entered in addition to Stewart: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Menards Chevrolet); Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Arby's Ford); and Joe Nemechek (No. 87 NEMCO Chevrolet).

Earnhardt is a three-time winner of the race (2002-04).

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Todd Kluever