DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. , (Feb. 3, 2009) – DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 marks the 10th year of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing at historic Daytona International Speedway.
Since Mike Wallace’s inaugural victory back in 1999, the 100-lap, 250-mile race has evolved through the years from the daytime to under the lights.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has consistently supplied exciting, close finishes with the closest margin of victory of .027 seconds coming in the 2003 race.
The 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will kick off its season on Friday, Feb. 13 with the 10th Annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 at “The World Center of Racing.”
Here are some thoughts from the drivers about 10 years of Camping World Truck Series racing at Daytona:
Rick Crawford, 2003 winner: “Well personally, I realize that we have 25 races during the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but you know, racing at Daytona makes you feel like there is only one race every year that you gear up for. That’s the race every year, no matter what division you’re in, you want to win.
“When the drivers and crews walk out to get on pit road during that night for driver introductions and all of a sudden you see 90,000 folks up in the grandstands, if that don’t get you up for a performance, I don’t know what will.
“I think about it daily (the 2003 win) probably. It was definitely the biggest victory of my career. Fans in the stands still remember it today. I’m always remembering it, and it’s really neat to win at ‘The World Center of Racing.’ ”
David Starr: “When you think of NASCAR racing, the first thing that comes to my mind is Daytona International Speedway. If there’s a race you want to win, it’s the Daytona race. It’s wild and fun as a competitor sitting in the seat and there’s no place I would rather race at than at Daytona.
“Being able to go to Daytona and race the NASCAR Truck Series race there, it’s done everything for this series.”
Terry Cook: Seems like just yesterday we were down there for the first race, actually the first-ever test and it got everyone pretty amp’d up. That was another defining moment of the Truck Series, when we went to Daytona for the first time. You finally get off the half miles, 5/8 miles, went to the miles and the mile-and-a-half (tracks), went to the two miles, so when they finally put Daytona on the schedule, I think it was the final crowning jewel for the (series) because it says ‘we made it’ and we proved it.”
Brendan Gaughan: “The Camping World Truck Series was always the Tuscons and the Bakersfields and the short tracks.Then they got to the bigger places. But you knew the day had finally come that it had gained that national legitimacy on the national touring scale when we were allowed to go to Daytona. In NASCAR terms, that’s what tells you, ‘you’re the real deal.’ ”
Todd Bodine, 2008 winner: “Daytona is our Super Bowl. We all strive to win at Daytona.”
Johnny Benson: “I remember seeing some of the first races there and it was awesome to watch. Some of the best racing I’ve ever seen. So it’s cool to go down there and run that race. Daytona has all the history that nobody needs to explain.
“Every year you go there it’s amazing. You don’t think that the next race could be as good as the last one but yet it is every year.”
Tickets for DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 and the 51st annual Daytona 500 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.