Set To Go

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That's it, we're all done with the off-season.

Sure winter has most of us locked indoors, I mean it is January. But at least we'll have the roar of engines to warm us up this weekend when the 2010 racing season officially begins in my book.

Media Tours and Fan Fests are all great but when the cars get back on the track, that's when the season really becomes a reality.

We'll do that on both coasts this weekend with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida and the Toyota All-Star Showdown in California.

There will be much to watch in both events plus some other last minute items to ponder before we make our annual pilgrimage to Daytona next week:

o This year's twice-around-the-clock endurance race in Daytona is shaping up to be another tight affair coming on the heels of the last couple of Rolex 24 Hour events. There's another strong contingent of NASCAR drivers in the mix this year but they will have to battle with some of road racing's best with the potent Brumos team looking for back-to-back victories. The race will have nearly unprecedented coverage with SPEED providing hours of programming both Friday and Saturday in addition to the Motor Racing Network's radio call that will also air on Sirius NASCAR Radio. If you're not in Daytona you'll be able to keep up with the Rolex like never before and I'd expect another thrilling edition.

o The seventh edition of the Toyota All-Star Showdown brings the best NASCAR short track racers to Toyota Speedway of Irwindale and the entry list for both the K&N Pro East and West Series as well as the super late models is impressive. The race will have to go pretty far to top last year's wild finish and one of the guys involved in the final lap theatrics will be back as Joey Logano tries to get to victory lane. SPEED and Sirius NASCAR Radio will also have coverage of the weekend activities with both Friday's preliminaries and Saturday night's main events set for air.

o It's got to be a painful realization for James Finch and Kyle Busch if the Miccosukee sponsorship dries up only days before the start of the season. A vote within the Indian tribe that oversees the casino which has sponsored NASCAR racing for several years could end that initiative which would put Finch's Nationwide and Sprint Cup programs in a major bind and Busch's brand new truck series effort behind the eight ball in a hurry.

o There aren't as many of those "David vs. Goliath" stories to tell this year at Daytona it appears as sponsorship problems continue to hinder all forms of the sport but particularly the small and independent teams struggling to field cars. If powerhouses like Hendrick and Roush are beating the bushes you know how difficult as task it must be for the teams further down the ladder.

o One of those affected could be Robby Gordon Motorsports and BAM Racing, which formed an alliance a few weeks ago. Gordon's locked into the first five races of the year based on his Top 35 finish of 2009 but has told many he needs funding to make it through a whole season. Ditto the BAM stable which will begin the year with David Gilliland behind-the-wheel before he bolts for Front Row Motorsports.


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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2010

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