Feb 14 | Daytona International Speedway, DuPont Motorsports and Clemson Motorsports Sponsor Driving Science
The high-speed thrill of NASCAR racing will take STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professional development to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. That’s
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The high-speed thrill of NASCAR racing will take STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professional development to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. That’s when 24 educators from six schools in an around Daytona Beach come together and engage in turns, spins and pit stops to improve their knowledge about STEM disciplines and best practices, using the world of auto racing as their classroom.
Driving SCIENCE is a four-day professional development institute sponsored by Daytona International Speedway, DuPont Motorsports and Hands-On Science Partnership. The curriculum, developed in Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Science with a grant from the DuPont Office of Education, is designed to strengthen content knowledge in STEM disciplines, model best practices for student achievement and promote awareness of motorsports careers. The course concludes with a day at the races, applying STEM knowledge and motorsport career awareness to the Gatorade Duel – two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500, Feb. 20.
“This partnership is an important step forward in bringing the exciting world of professional motorsports into the classroom and to a more youthful audience,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood. “Race teams depend on science and technology to help their drivers gain every bit of speed possible on the race track. The Driving SCIENCE students will be able to take what they learned in the classroom and see it applied in person on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.”
“DuPont is a leader in supporting STEM education. We all win when we help develop a work force that has an understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including local communities, businesses like DuPont, the United States and the world,” said DuPont Motorsports Manager Larry Deas. “Linking the Daytona International Speedway with STEM professional development allows teachers and students alike to see the many career opportunities available to them in racing and in business.”
Driving SCIENCE is based on the DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy – a professional development program that has transformed the teaching of science in high school agricultural programs. For Florida to receive a Race to the Top Grant from the federal government, the state has committed to an improvement in the teaching and learning of STEM disciplines. Driving SCIENCE at Daytona International Speedway helps Florida meet this goal, with a dual focus on changing the teaching of STEM disciplines and developing a cadre of leaders who will ensure that change happens in their schools and districts.
The analysis of speed, understanding force, energy and motion, experimenting with “mouse trap” cars and figuring out how safety applies to major super speedways are all a part of the curriculum during the first three days. Each teaching module is a hands-on experience. Inquiry-based teaching techniques are used and learned during this professional development course.
The emphasis on STEM education is driven by business and industry leaders who envision a work force with literacy in STEM disciplines, problem solving abilities that include being able to apply understanding to new problems and implement solutions, self-reliance in setting goals, working within time frames and applying design processes, and; ability to collaborate with others in the workplace and understanding that teamwork is essential for success in many situations.
Feb 13 | Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon capture front row for the Daytona 500
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon secured the starting spots on the coveted front row for “The Great American Race” Sunday afternoon during Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented by Kroger.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon secured the starting spots on the coveted front row for “The Great American Race” Sunday afternoon during Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented by Kroger.
Earnhardt wheeled his No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet around the 2.5-mile tri-oval for a fast lap of 186.089 mph to capture his first pole at the “World Center of Racing” in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
This marks the second year in a row that Hendrick Motorsports teammates have topped the speed charts for the prestigious season opener. Last year saw Earnhardt, the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, take the outside pole alongside teammate and pole winner Mark Martin.
“(Winning the pole) takes a lot of pressure off of me for the (Gatorade Duel),” said Earnhardt Jr., who will be making his 400th Sprint Cup Series start next Sunday in the 53rd annual Daytona 500. “We can just go out, try to have fun, win that thing and bring all the hardware home this week.”
Three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon (185.966) was thrilled to begin the new racing season with an outside pole in the Daytona 500.
“It’s always a great feeling to lock yourself in,” Gordon said. “This is the biggest race that we have. It’s more of a sign of the effort that was put out by the team. I had the pleasure of driving that car today and being on the front row. We had a shot at the pole, but it’s great to get Hendrick Motorsports a 1-2 (start). I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way this week has gone so far.”
Of the 50 cars that attempted to qualify on Sunday, 14 of them will have to qualify on time or through the Gatorade Duel. Of those 14, four of them are guaranteed a starting position in the Daytona 500 – Bill Elliott (184.532), Travis Kvapil (184.271), Joe Nemechek (184.222) and former series champion Terry Labonte (champion’s provisional).
Today’s qualifying effort only set the front row of the historic race. The rest of the field will be determined by the outcomes of Thursday’s Gatorade Duel at Daytona.
The high-speed qualifying session on Sunday capped off a successful weekend on the new racing surface. Kurt Busch made his first trip to Gatorade Victory Lane in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout, which was highlighted by a record 28 lead changes.
“The stage is set for what will be one of the most memorable Daytona 500’s in NASCAR history,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Last night’s Budweiser Shootout provided a small glimpse of what’s to come with a record number of lead changes and some high-speed drama the likes of which haven’t been seen in Daytona for a long time. With Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon secured in the top row, the action in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel will be intense as teams vie for a chance to battle for the ultimate prize in motorsports.”
Feb 13 | Busch wins 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout
After finishing in the runner-up position seven times, Kurt Busch finally captured a win at historic Daytona International Speedway in a thrilling finish in the 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After finishing in the runner-up position seven times, Kurt Busch finally captured a win at historic Daytona International Speedway in a thrilling finish in the 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout.
The victory marks Busch’s first restrictor-plate win, the first time Dodge has visited Gatorade Victory Lane in the star-studded race and the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the speedway’s new asphalt.
Busch was pushed to the lead by defending Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray, who finished second after Denny Hamlin was relegated to 12th place for passing below the yellow line coming to the checkered flag. Ryan Newman, the 2008 Daytona 500 champion, led the last 12 laps and rounded out the top three.
“To experience victory lane here, no matter what the race is, is very special,” said Busch. “I just have to thank Jamie McMurray; he stuck with us. He had an unbelievable amount of power to push us and kept us in the mix. When you have a friend like that, that’s what it takes.”
Jeff Burton, who led the race at the end of the first segment and finished eighth overall, led a race-high 32 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drew the pole position, was caught up in a multi-car incident which brought out the race’s second caution of the night. He finished 19th.
The 75-lap race included eight former Daytona 500 champions who have a combined 11 victories in “The Great American Race.” Nine drivers exchanged the lead a record-breaking 28 times.
The Budweiser Shootout is a star-studded, non-points race that kicks off the season for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The race is broken up into two segments of 25 and 50 laps, respectively, with a 10-minute break in between. The field is comprised of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year drivers from 2001-2010 and previous winners at the “World Center of Racing.” The starting positions for the 24-car field were determined by a blind-draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party. Actress Amber Heard served as the Grand Marshal and country music singer/songwriter, and former Broadway star, Laura Bell Bundy performed a pre- and post-race concert and the National Anthem.