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CUP: Burning Questions

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The Atlantic wind is blowing and the palm trees are swaying and the first snowbird race fans are trickling in along International Speedway Boulevard.

It’s Speedweeks time – stock car style – at Daytona International Speedway, where Friday NASCAR race cars will roar back to life after a winter’s calm.

With a new race car model, some new faces in new places and a new champion to celebrate, the season carries much promise.

And it presents some questions, some serious, some not so much:

1. Will the Gen-6 car be a salve for what ails NASCAR, or will the struggle to produce consistently competitive racing at the circuit’s intermediate tracks continue?

2. Will Ricky and Danica, the sport’s new power couple, be spotted snuggling behind the Roush Fenway transporter?

3. Will Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon, the sport’s new couple of angst, be spotted slugging it out behind the Michael Waltrip Racing transporter?

4. Will the Kurt Busch explosion come in the first half of the year or the second or at the summer solstice?

5. Can Brad Keselowski drive and tweet and hold a Miller Lite at the same time?

6. Is Jimmie Johnson ever going to win another championship?

7. Is Jeff Gordon?

8. Will start-and-park teams gather as one and start-and-park in Bruton Smith’s driveway?

9. Will the arrival of Penske Racing lift all boats in the Ford camp, making the Blue Oval a little less blue?

10. Will Kasey Kahne’s hair be grown out enough so that he can appear in person this weekend at Daytona?

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.