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Daytona paving plan accelerated

The Daytona 500 will have an improved look.

Daytona International Speedway will be repaved for the second time in its history after a pothole on the track during this year's Daytona 500 forced two delays that totaled more than two hours during the race Feb. 14.

The repaving project will begin immediately after the Sprint Cup race July 3, with completion targeted for Jan. 1.

"We owe it to the fans to do this now," track president Robin Braig said Saturday.

The original plan was to repave the track in 2012. Braig said the resurfacing was accelerated because they couldn't risk a similar situation in February.

Braig said a concrete patch was poured in the area where a significant pothole developed, and he is confident the race in July will run without any disruption. Nationwide series cars will test there in May.

"We may as well do it now and get it over with so we don't have to hold our breath at every race," he said.

The entire 2.5-mile DIS tri-oval will be repaved as well as the skid pads, apron and pit road. Braig said drivers endorsed the fix.

"It is kind of getting past it's prime, I think," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "The sooner we get a new surface down that can get some weather on it, the quicker we will get to the kind of racetrack that everybody wants. … I'm glad to see it get a facelift."

Fans who renew their 2011 Daytona 500 tickets will receive a portion of the track surface.

Weather reshuffles NASCAR slate again

TALLADEGA, Ala. — NASCAR canceled all Saturday track activity at Talladega Superspeedway because of threats of extended periods of severe weather.

The National Weather Service said Talladega County was one of the areas in Alabama facing a high risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

The Aaron's 312 Nationwide series race was pushed back to 5:30 p.m. today, after the Sprint Cup race. It's the second consecutive weekend that NASCAR will try a doubleheader.

Rain last weekend in Texas washed out both Cup and Nationwide events, and they were run back to back Monday. Drivers who competed in both series totaled 801 miles of racing.

There are 10 drivers scheduled to run both of today's races, which are scheduled to total 811.30 miles barring any additional "overtime" laps.

Qualifying for the Aaron's 499 Cup race was canceled, and the field will be set by owner points, so series leader Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth will start on the front row.

Fans camping on the grounds were encouraged to dismantle their tents and seek more stable shelter. At least one driver, Denny Hamlin, left the property. Hamlin posted on his Twitter page he was headed back to Charlotte, N.C., to catch Game 3 in the NBA playoff series between the Bobcats and Orlando Magic.

Earnhardt Jr. said he didn't know what he'd do during the storms — particularly if there's a tornado.

"I was gonna ask for advice about the best plan," he said. "I ain't got my plan together yet. I'll look up in the sky a lot, I reckon."

GRAND-AM: Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas teamed for their third consecutive win, taking the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in Danville in a BMW Riley. The duo edged the Ford Riley of Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins.

Sprint Cup points

Through 8 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Jimmie Johnson 1,248—

Matt Kenseth 1,140 108

Greg Biffle 1,120 128

Kevin Harvick 1,107 141

Jeff Gordon 1,028 220

Kyle Busch 1,020 228

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,013 235

Jeff Burton 1,005 243

Kurt Busch 999 249

Mark Martin 994 254

Denny Hamlin 973 275

Joey Logano 941 307

Today's races

Sprint Cup: Aaron's 499, 1, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

TV: Ch. 13

Nationwide: Aaron's 312, 5:30, Talladega Superspeedway

TV: ESPN2

Daytona paving plan accelerated 04/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:12pm]
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