DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 18, 2002) * A day after winning the 44th annual Daytona 500, Ward Burton gave up his No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge to DAYTONA USA, the official motorsports attraction of NASCAR. Burton met with the media on Monday morning...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 18, 2002) * A day after winning the 44th annual Daytona 500, Ward Burton gave up his No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge to DAYTONA USA, the official motorsports attraction of NASCAR.
Burton met with the media on Monday morning and then visited his car, which now rests in Gatorade's Victory Lane inside the attraction. Burton strolled around the car that remains in the condition it was when it pulled into Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon.
The South Boston, Va., native peeked inside the windows and penned his autograph on the front hood. Burton's Bill Davis Racing crew signed the car in Victory Lane on Sunday.
"I want to jump back in it and make sure it feel right," Burton said.
Burton, in his eighth Daytona 500 start, became the first Virginian to win the "Great American Race." He now owns four NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories.
"To win NASCAR's biggest race is a real accomplishment for Bill Davis Racing," Burton said. "Looking over the tapes of the pioneers of the sport, Bobby Allison and Richard Petty and David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, they've made (the Daytona) into something that is big for us."
Burton, owner Bill Davis and crew chief Tommy Baldwin participated in a fan forum before traveling to New York City for a media tour.
"It doesn't get any bigger than this," said Burton, whose other major victory of his career came in last year's Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
While Davis and Baldwin will miss the car, they're pleased that DAYTONA USA guests will be able to get up close to the winning Daytona 500 car for the next year. The team will receive the car back before the start of the 45th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, 2002.
"I hate to see it go, but we'll see it again next year," Baldwin said.
Said Davis: "It's such a honor to have it here and it's such a honor to win the greatest auto race of all-time."
For more information on DAYTONA USA, you can call (386) 947-6800 or go online at www.DAYTONAUSA.com Next up at the Speedway is motorcycle racing, which will run Feb. 28-March 10. Stock cars will return to Daytona on July 3-6 for the Pepsi 400 weekend. Tickets for these events and the 2003 Daytona 500 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.