Jimmie Johnson hoists the Sprint Cup
Jimmie Johnson hoisted his fourth straight Sprint Cup, now the eyes of the racing community begin to turn their attention on the 2010 Daytona 500.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jimmie Johnson made history by hoisting his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Series trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a feat that has never been accomplished in NASCAR competition.

Now, the eyes of the racing community will their turn attention to Daytona International Speedway and the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 – the prestigious season-opening event for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Johnson, the 2006 Daytona 500 champion, will attempt to capture a fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup beginning with “The Great American Race.”

During the post-race news conference, Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus said preparations are well underway for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team.

“We're already well in motion for 2010,” Knaus said. “We've been working on that for a couple of months now.  So we've got Daytona cars in the queue, one of them almost done, and we've got Fontana/Las Vegas cars rolling up through the system right now.  So we're well into preparation for next year.”

The 2010 Daytona 500 will give race fans their first look at the new driver-team combinations. Among the noticeable changes will include:

• Martin Truex Jr., the 2009 Daytona 500 pole winner, behind the wheel of the No. 56 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

• Jamie McMurray, the 2007 Coke Zero 400 winner, reuniting with team owner Chip Ganassi behind the wheel of the No. 1 Dodge.

• Brad Keselowski kicking off his first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition with Penske Racing in the No. 12 Dodge

And Daytona International Speedway will be boasting its own set of changes. The start time for the 2010 Daytona 500 is 1 p.m., 2 ½ hours earlier than the 2009 Daytona 500 and the earliest start time since 2003.

Speedweeks 2010 will also feature a racing tripleheader with Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, which secures the prestigious front row for the 52nd annual Daytona 500, part of a tripleheader day of racing on Saturday, Feb. 6 with the 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout and Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.

In addition, race fans visiting the “World Center of Racing” will noticed some additions to the 480-acre property.

The phase one of the frontstretch renovation project will be complete and bring two additional gate entrances behind the Keech and Lockhart Grandstands, move the Turn 1 tram stop closer to the center of the frontstretch grandstands, a new exterior pedestrian boulevard that will eventually stretch from Turn 1 to Turn 4 and improved directional signage, landscaping and lighting.

On the Superstretch, race fans will have a new 136,000-square foot interactive fan area complete with amenities such as a go-kart track, kids play area, Ferris Wheel, show cars and a fan hospitality area called the SPEED Trackside Tavern, among other attractions.

Tickets for all Speedweeks 2010 events, including the 52nd annual Daytona 500, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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