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Cup drivers jump 2005 restart with 24-hour race

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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NASCAR drivers in
24 Hours of Daytona
Car No. Driver
01 Scott Pruett
02 Jamie McMurray
03 Casey Mears
4 Jimmie Johnson
20 Tony Stewart
44 Bobby Labonte
Terry Labonte
49 Greg Biffle
Kurt Busch
Matt Kenseth
54 Christian Fittipaldi
74 Wally Dallenbach
Casey from Sacramento, Calif.: How much does driving in the 24 Hours of Daytona race help drivers in the Daytona 500? Darrell Waltrip: Even though drivers have only been out of their cars a few weeks since Homestead, with testing and everything, they get very little time off. One of things that does get those competitive juices flowing is competition. The 24 Hours of Daytona (Feb. 5, noon on SPEED Channel) prepares you for the season that's getting ready to start. You've got some laps on a race track. You've been in competition. It hits the restart button and gets you ready to start another year, particularly at Daytona where the surroundings are so important. Going to a track early and getting comfortable at a particular race track was always helpful to me. You get your credentials. You get your parking space. You're in and out of the gate. The guards are familiar with the kind of car you're driving. They know who you are and where you're going. It just improves your comfort zone as you get ready to race.
Ask DW
Even though it's a different car, you are going to be running on about two-thirds of the Daytona International Speedway. It never hurts to say, "In the 24-hour car, that bump seems to have gotten worse." Or "Boy, in the 24-hour car, I've realized that I can really get a slingshot off of Turn 4 if I ran this line." A driver can always learn, no matter what type of vehicle he's in. The bigger issue is getting into the zone, getting comfortable and getting yourself ready for a grueling 10 days down there because you do a lot of racing in 10 days at Daytona.

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