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Drew Bonifant

Day 1 Recap: NASCAR's Sprint Media Tour in North Carolina

  • Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

    Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

    Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

    Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

    Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

    Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)
  • Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)
  • Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)
  • Tony Stewart (left), Stewart's crew chief Steve Addington, and Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing talk to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)
  • Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing talks to the media during the Sprint Media Tour in Concord, N.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. (Drew Bonifant / Monitor staff)

Day 1 Recap

The four-day NASCAR Sprint Media Tour got underway today in Charlotte and began with an announcement on the season's first race, the Sprint Unlimited.

Sprint announced the fan-friendly nature of the race, as internet and fan voting will determine the rules. The race is 75 laps, split into three segments, but fans will determine how many laps go into each segment, as well as what kind of pit stop is made after the first segment, how many cars are eliminated after the second and starting order.

Next up was an open media session with Stewart-Haas Racing and Sprint Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman. The hot topic of the day was the Gen 6, the new car that will make its debut this season, but other themes drawing interest were Patrick's debut as a full-time Sprint Cup driver (and team co-owner Stewart's confidence in her) as well as the team's sponsorship situation – Stewart and Office Depot and Newman and U.S. Army parted ways after last year.

Stay tuned because tomorrow will feature media sessions with Furniture Row, Michael Waltrip Racing and Speedway Motorsports.

Quotes of the Day

"I'm pretty sure there won't be any numerical order starts." – NASCAR Hall of Famer and broadcaster Darrell Waltrip, on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the season-opening Sprint Unlimited race, which will let fans decide whether the lineup is determined by 2012 points, practice time or car number. Car number would put the hugely popular Dale Jr. (#88) way back.

"When drivers first come to this series, it takes a minute, then all of a sudden there's just a day that you can tell that the light switch came on." – Tony Stewart on teammate Danica Patrick's upcoming first Sprint Cup season.

"No! I worked hard for my points." – Stewart (jokingly) on whether he'd swap points with Danica to help her qualify in the first few races.

"My mom and I actually had a huge fight because she wanted me to go to college. And now she works for me." – Stewart, when asked the role his mother played in his upbringing and success. Teammate Ryan Newman's response: "I didn't fight mine, I went to college."

"I don't want to make any of them mad."
– Danica on going against Dale Jr. (and his fans) for the Most Popular Driver award

Monitor reporter Drew Bonifant will be in North Carolina all week covering the event. Follow him on Twitter (@dbonifant) and use the hashtag #MonitorNASCAR to get in touch with him, he'd love to answer any questions you have about this year's event.

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