BUSCH: Daytona Preseason Thunder preview

NASCAR JACKSON HEWITT PRESEASON THUNDER AT DAYTONA CONTINUES WITH NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TESTING * NASCAR Busch Series 25th anniversary season begins with Daytona testing * Final 2006 Fan Fest takes place on Saturday from 6 -- 9 p.m. DAYTONA...


* NASCAR Busch Series 25th anniversary season begins with Daytona testing

* Final 2006 Fan Fest takes place on Saturday from 6 -- 9 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2006) -- The final test session of the preseason for NASCAR's three national series at Daytona International Speedway takes place Friday -- Sunday as NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona culminates with the NASCAR Busch Series on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Over 40 teams are scheduled to participate in the three-day session. Monday, Jan. 23 is a rain date if necessary.

All sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m., weather permitting. Each session includes a lunch break from noon until 1:00 p.m. Media covering the sessions will have interview opportunities during the lunch break and again at the end of each day's test session.

Drivers scheduled to attend the session include last year's series runner-up Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), along with seven other drivers who finished in the top 10 of the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings in 2005: Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard's Chevrolet), Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Chevrolet), David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) and Jason Keller (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge), who will drive for Phoenix Racing this season.

Other top 2006 title contenders scheduled to test are John Andretti (No. 10 FreedomRoads Racing Ford), who makes his fulltime series debut this season; Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) and his new Team Rensi Motorsports runningmate Regan Smith (No. 35 McDonald's Ford); Jason Leffler (No. 32 Braun Racing Chevrolet), Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox Ford) and Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet).

Three former NASCAR Busch Series champions are scheduled to test -- Joe Nemechek (No. 87 NEMCO Chevrolet), who won in 1991; Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Kraft Chevrolet), who captured consecutive titles in 1998-99 and Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet), the 2001 series champion. All three former champs are also NASCAR Busch Series team owners, too.

An exciting Raybestos Rookie group will make its series testing debut at Daytona including A.J. Foyt IV (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge), Danny O'Quinn (No. 50 Ford) and Todd Kluever (No. 06 3M Ford) of Roush Racing, Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) and Mark McFarland (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet). Although not a rookie, another first-year driver of interest will be Paul Tracy (No. 34 Cicci/Kelly Chevrolet), the veteran open-wheel star who plans to make his NASCAR debut this season in the NASCAR Busch Series.

And along with Bowyer, Edwards, Hamlin and Sorenson and Harvick, Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) are scheduled to test, joining the group that plans to run a full schedule this season in both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

The NASCAR Busch Series will continue preseason testing with a three-day session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Feb. 6-8. The 2006 season -- the 25th anniversary for series sponsor Anheuser-Busch -- begins Feb. 18 at Daytona with the Hershey's Kissables 300 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Fan Fest offers fans Q&As with drivers, entertainment ... On Saturday, fans attending NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona have a final opportunity for an evening of fun at Daytona International Speedway's NEXTEL FANZONE. From 6 -- 9:00 p.m., Fan Fest will feature NASCAR Busch Series driver question and answer sessions, bands, show cars, pit-stop demonstrations, a silent auction and displays. The cost is $10 for Fan Fest. Fans also can watch each day's test session for free, beginning at 9 a.m.

Fast Facts

Who: Over 40 NASCAR Busch Series teams are scheduled to participate.

What: NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing for the 2006 Hershey's Kissables 300 on February 18.

Where: Daytona International Speedway.

Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval.

When: Fri., Jan. 20 -- Sun., Jan. 22 (rain date Mon., Jan 23).

Times: 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m.; one-hour lunch break from Noon -- 1 p.m.


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , John Andretti , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kenny Wallace , A.J. Foyt IV , Paul Tracy , Jon Wood , David Green , J.J. Yeley , Paul Menard , Carl Edwards , Regan Smith , Clint Bowyer , Ashton Lewis , Mark McFarland , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Todd Kluever , Danny O'Quinn , Kyle Busch
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Phoenix Racing