The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins Sunday, Feb. 14, with the Great American Race — the Daytona 500 — from Daytona International Speedway. Lots of stories to look at this season in NASCAR, as the sport looks to get back to basics and improve competition by relaxing some of its restrictive rules. Jimmie Johnson’s quest for a fifth straight Cup title, Danica Patrick racing in the Nationwide Series will also be top storylines this year. Here are the details of the Daytona race coverage from FOX:
FOX Sports Starts the Engine on Its 10th Season of NASCAR Coverage
This Sunday Feb. 14th with the 52nd Daytona 500
DW: I Believe Danica Can Succeed in NASCAR
Joy: Jeff Gordon is Poised to Win the Championship
Tim McGraw Revs Up FOX NASCAR SUNDAY with Live Prerace Performance
Storm Scout Makes Its NASCAR on FOX Debut in Daytona
On Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14 (12:00 PM ET), FOX Sports proudly presents the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. Coverage starts with FOX NASCAR SUNDAY host Chris Myers, along with analysts Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond from the Hollywood Hotel, FOX Sports’ traveling prerace set providing up-to-the-minute reports and live interviews with drivers, crewmen and officials shaping the day’s action. Also, Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw performs during the prerace extravaganza leading up to the start of “The Great American Race.” Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy will be alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for up-to-the-second reports on teams and pit stops.
Joy on who is in position to challenge Jimmie Johnson for the Championship: “The biggest threat to Jimmie Johnson is right there in the same shop. Jeff Gordon is best poised to win this championship. I am not saying Jimmie’s train is going to get derailed but this is the year if anybody is going to beat him.”
Waltrip on Johnson’s competition: “Jack Roush has a real commitment to get his teams back in the Chase and his teams have a shot to win the championship. I would love to see Gregg Biffle do it. Mainly because he is one of the Truck Series Championship, the Nationwide Championship, and I would really like him to be a guy that could win all three series championships. That has never been done before. Kevin Harvick is another guy that can give Jimmie a run for this money.”
Hill on NASCAR’s popularity: “It’s extremely healthy. I don’t think I have ever seen a sport that has resonated so strongly with the public than NASCAR has. Naturally, you’re going to see a little bit of decay in anything that spreads so quickly, but what is so incredible is that NASCAR listened to their fan base, the owners, drivers and crew chiefs etc. They’re constantly trying to make the sport better. It is a good bench mark for any business to continue to analyze itself and evaluate strengths and weaknesses. I’m incredibly optimistic about the coming season!”
DARRELL WALTRIP: “I’D GIVE DANICA AN ‘A’ FOR HER 1st STOCK CAR RACE” – After witnessing Danica Patrick’s debut in Saturdays ARCA race, NASCAR on FOX Analyst Darrell Waltrip thinks she’s on the right path. “I easily give her an “A” for her first-ever stock car race,” said Waltrip. “I was impressed listening to her on the radio in practice and in the race. When the race started she maintained her composure. For the most part she stayed in line and rode right at the bottom of the race track hugging the yellow line. Overall it was a great start for Danica. In my mind, she didn’t disappoint anybody. I am excited to see how she handles things this Saturday because the degree of difficulty is going to go way up.” http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/Waltrip-I-believe-in-Danica-020810
STORM SCOUT MAKES NASCAR ON FOX DEBUT DURING DAYTONA 500 – Since few variables can affect a race plan more than changes in the weather, this season NASCAR on FOX introduces Storm Scout to its prerace and race coverage. The Storm Scout is meteorologist Rick Dickert, who officially becomes a member of the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team during this Sunday’s Daytona 500 prerace. As Storm Scout, Dickert reports from the FOX Sports Weather Center in Los Angeles, detailing weather conditions at the race site during the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show, appearing with host Chris Myers and analysts Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. Once the green flag drops, and if conditions warrant, Dickert maintains communication with race announcer Mike Joy who provides updates to viewers.
FOXSPORTS.COM GOES 3-WIDE BEGINNING THIS FRIDAY – 3-WIDE is the latest show developed by FOX Sports Digital Entertainment exclusively for FOXSports.com on MSN and stars NASCAR on FOX/SPEED TV analysts Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds. The newest addition to the “Lunch –w/ Benefits” programming lineup premieres on Friday, Feb. 12 at 1:00 PM ET on FOXSports.com and replaces the NFL-themed INSIDE CALL every Friday through May. Each week, Waltrip, Hammond and McReynolds are joined via Internet video conference without a moderator to discuss breaking news and give a sneak peek at what race fans can expect come Sunday. In addition, NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and crew chiefs appear weekly to join in the casual conversation. www.msn.foxsports.com/lunchwithbenefits
FOX AUTO RACING CHALLENGE 2010 PUTS NASCAR FANTASY FANS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT – FOXSports.com on MSN unveiled a new and exciting NASCAR fantasy game this season designed to allow fans to get into and out of the action at any point during the season without missing a beat. FOX Auto Racing Challenge 2010’s unique week-to-week format gives users looking to participate in a racing fantasy league the freedom of not having to manage one team over NASCAR’s 10-month season. At the start of each week, players are challenged to create a team made up of five drivers, including one captain, while staying within a salary cap. After every race, the player with the most total points is declared the winner. Before the next race, rosters and points are cleared as new dollar values are assigned to the drivers. The active fantasy players for the next race pick from the pool of qualified drivers and set their lineups for another exciting challenge. FOXSports.com drops the green flag on FOX Auto Racing Challenge 2010 on Sunday, Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500 on FOX.