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CUP: New Daytona Surface To Get Big Test/Notebook

The repaving is finished at Daytona International Speedway and the testing of the new surface is about to begin.

DIS officials said Tuesday that at least 18 NASCAR drivers will be on the track for next week’s (Wednesday and Thursday) test session.

The test is officially being call a tire test and it is being conducted by Goodyear, but the event will also give drivers their first experience with the surface. It will also allow them to begin collecting data for Speedweeks in February.

“I know for us at Penske Racing with the 2 and the 22,” Kurt Busch, who will participate in the test, said, “we need to be there on track, gathering data, understanding as much as we can about the new surface at Daytona. We know that it’s the most prestigious race for us all year long, and if we can come out of the gates strong, we need to have as many test sessions at tracks as we can get, and that means tracks that we race on.”

Among other drivers participating in the test are Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Ragan, Brad Keselowski, Todd Bodine, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Bill Elliott and Paul Menard.

Also on hand will be NASCAR officials, including Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition.

Work began on the new surface shortly after the July 3 Sprint Cup race at DIS.

The track surface had begun to age and actually come up. During the 2010 Daytona 500, the race had to be red flagged and delayed when a pothole developed.

CMS Recruiting

Recruiting is under way for the 2011 edition of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Council.

The Fan Council consists of 30 members who serve one-year terms. Members are encouraged to share their experiences, offer ideas for improvement and help shape the creation of new programs and initiatives to improve the fan experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte.

Fans interested in serving on the council are invited to download the application from the speedway’s website, www.charlottemotorspeedway.com, and submit the form by Jan. 3, 2011.

Formed in August 2008, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Council gathers feedback from a cross-section of fans to determine possible changes at the various facilities. Throughout the year, council members join speedway management for conference calls, participate in surveys after events, attend meetings at the speedway during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event weekends and participate in online fan forums.

“Our mission is always to put fans first at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Fan Council enhances our ability to do that,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of CMS. “We’re now able to communicate directly with our fans and gather their ideas to improve the at-track experience for everyone. The Fan Council has made suggestions that have resulted in some of our most fan-friendly enhancements over the past two years.”

Previous Fan Council suggestions have included a play area for children that resulted in creation of the Powerade Play Zone; more interaction with drivers, which led to NASCAR Nationwide Series fan autograph sessions; and more viewing screens, which led to the installation of the largest video board in the world — the Panasonic HD Video Board — along the backstretch.

Questions about the Fan Council can be e-mailed to fancouncil@charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Jim Pedley is a veteran, award-winning sports journalist who has worked at, among other places, the Boston Globe, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Kansas City Star. Pedley spent more than 10 years covering auto racing for the Kansas City Star. Pedley can be reached at