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Sunday, February 24, 2013
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski was summoned to a meeting with NASCAR chairman Brian France and International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy after Keselowski made some critical remarks in a USA Today story about the direction of the sport.
NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes said Keselowski wasn’t penalized or facing punishment. “Brad has opinions, some informed and some less informed,” Jewkes told USA Today. “The meeting was to improve the latter.”
Keselowski tweeted afterward, “Spent some time with the Lesa and Brian from the NASCAR team after yesterday’s article, the passion we all share for our sport is amazing!”
Don’t forget Gordon
The hype surrounding Danica Patrick becoming the first woman to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole today may have overshadowed Jeff Gordon, who will start on the front row next to Patrick — but that’s OK with Gordon, a three-time Daytona 500 champion.
“I think we are in the best position to win the race,” Gordon said. “Everybody has sort of been under the radar other than maybe [Kevin] Harvick winning two races. I think those two look very strong, with a great chance to win the Daytona 500. Obviously, Danica brings a lot of attention, and that is fantastic for our sport. For us we are just doing our jobs, doing our thing and we have a great race car, great race team.
“It’s nice to be able to just go about it without too much attention on us, too many expectations and hype so that there are not any distractions.”
In case of rain …
There’s about a 40-percent chance of rain today, but should a shower interrupt the race, NASCAR has introduced its Air Titan track-drying technology that should considerably shorten those two-hour delays by up to 80 percent.
The new system, created by the NASCAR R&D Center in the wake of last year’s first postponement in Daytona 500 history, will use compressed air to efficiently and reliably push water off the racing surface and onto the apron where vacuum trucks will remove the remaining moisture. Jet dryers will follow each Air Titan to dry excess water left on the racing surface, as well as any debris.
It’s possible that NASCAR will be able to transport the Air Titan to other tracks, including Kansas Speedway.
“Keep in mind that this has never been tested during a race or during full rain conditions at a track,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations. “So we’ve still got some work to do once we see it, if we do see it in play, and we’ll learn from there and make sure we’ve got the best model going forward possible for other tracks.”
Relax, WFXR back on Dish Network
Dish Network customers in Western Virginia will be able to watch the Daytona 500 on WFXR today.
Grant Broadcasting, the parent company of Fox affiliate WFXR and the CW5, announced Saturday night it has reached an agreement to restore those channels to the Dish Network lineup.
WFXR and the CW5 had been blacked out on Dish since last weekend in a disagreement over how much Dish pays to carry those stations. The blackout ended about 8 p.m. Saturday. A Grant news release said the channels will remain on Dish “for years to come.”
Weather Journal7 wintry scenarios for Sunday