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NASCAR drivers plan a different kind of race

February 05, 2013, Staff report,

Half marathon beckons on day of Daytona 500 qualifying

Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne would like nothing more than to be the quickest driver during qualifying for the Daytona 500. But first, the Hendrick Motorsports teammates hope to be quick in a different kind of race.

Johnson and Kahne, along with Aric Almirola and Michael Waltrip, will all run in the fifth annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon (13.1 miles), which starts at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 17 -- the Sunday of qualifying for The Great American Race. It’s the first time the race has been held during Speedweeks.


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Perhaps the foursome can get one final scouting report on Daytona International Speedway. The race starts on pit road, before the runners eventually exit the track, run over a bridge and onto the beach before eventually ending up in Victory Lane at the finish.

“We all decided this was a perfect run to do,” Almirola said. “It’s during Speedweeks, it’s going to get the race fans involved and it just seems like a lot of fun. We are looking forward to it.”

Of the four NASCAR drivers, Waltrip and Johnson have at least one Daytona 500 win on their respective resumes. Johnson won the 2006 race, and also has a Daytona 500 pole to his credit. His best finish in the past six 500s, though, is 27th (2011, 2008). Waltrip won in 2001 and 2003, and one of his other two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins came during the summer race at Daytona.

Kahne has a pair of seventh-place finishes (2007, 2008) in the Daytona 500 while Almirola has two starts to his credit.