By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on January 11, 2018 | 10:10 A.M. EST
NASCAR’s annual pre-season Media Tour from Jan. 22-24 is part of a busy month that’ll lead to Speedweeks opening at Daytona in February. (Photo: Getty Images)
There’s enough going on in the motor sports world to satisfy fans’ appetites from now until the start of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
With the holidays in the rear-view mirror, the next five weeks include a number of racing-related events that will make the time fly until stock cars descend on “The World Center of Racing.”
Goodyear’s first tire test of 2018 was completed at Texas Motor Speedway this week with four drivers taking part. Defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. represented Furniture Row Racing and Toyota. Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) and Aric Almirola (Stewart-Haas Racing) were on hand for Ford. Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott handled responsibilities for Chevrolet.
Elliott took the first on-track laps behind the wheel of the new Camaro ZL1, which Chevrolet will compete with in the Cup Series beginning in 2018.
While Texas hosted two days of testing, its neighbor to the north – Oklahoma – has nearly a week’s worth of actual racing on tap with the 32nd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Over 300 midget entries are taking part in the annual winter gathering under the roof of the massive Tulsa Expo Center. Action began on Tuesday.
NASCAR drivers participating include Kyle Larson, who won opening night, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kasey Kahne and Justin Allgaier. Events culminate with Saturday night’s main event and a quest for the elusive Golden Driller Trophy.
Attention will shift to the Charlotte, N.C., area next week for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday night, Jan. 19. Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday, Ken Squier and Robert Yates will be honored. (The ceremony will air live on MRN beginning at 8 p.m. ET).
The following week brings the annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Media members from around the world will gather for the annual pre-season opportunity to talk with and interview top personalities in the sport beginning Monday afternoon, Jan. 22, through Wednesday, Jan. 24.
There’s more on-track action slated for the following weekend with sports cars competing in the 56th running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. The prestigious twice-around-the-clock endurance race takes place on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course January 27-28.
The year’s first NASCAR organizational test, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Each Monster Energy Series team is allowed to send one representative. Since LVMS will host two races for the first time in 2018, including a playoff race, this test carries additional importance.
So while “Old Man Winter” continues to hold most of the country in his icy grip, there’s plenty of racing-oriented activity to keep everyone busy as we count down the days to being in the warm Florida sunshine when Speedweeks 2018 officially begins on Friday, Feb. 9.
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