When the green flag waves at the start of the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday at 1:15 p.m. ET, there will be plenty of star power on hand to welcome the new NASCAR Nationwide season.
The series regulars will be joined on-track by some of NASCAR’s biggest names, including Danica Patrick, who heads to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year after one full and two partial seasons in NASCAR Nationwide. She will drive the No. 34 Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999, will also suit up for the race. In 16 seasons, he’s captured 23 checkered flags, the most recent coming in the July Daytona race while driving the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet.
The reigning 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski will also compete in the season-opening race. Keselowski brought owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR national series title in 2010, when he won the NASCAR Nationwide championship.
Other big names include former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Tony Stewart, who has won the event six times, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, as well as Kyle Busch, who won the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide title.