Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas on December 2, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Preview 2012: What Drivers Will Be In Attendance?

The inaugural NASCAR Preview 2012, presented by Sprint, preseason fan event has been scheduled for January 21, 2012 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina with many of NASCAR’s superstars signing autographs and taking part in on-stage question and answer sessions. The event is apart of the three-day NASCAR Acceleration Weekend that gives NASCAR fans an unprecedented experience through a combination of events and activities, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Here is a look at who will be there and the highlights of their 2011 season.

Morning Appearances

The first appearances by NASCAR drivers will be from 9:15am to 11:15am and will include Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. Kenseth finished the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fourth in points and had a total of three wins, 11 top-fives, and 19 top-tens.  Kenseth, who has been known to be quite the comedian on Twitter, is a fan favorite for being calm and mild-mannered.  Kyle Busch, on the other end, is definitely on the opposite end of the fan spectrum.

Busch is definitely popular with the younger generation fans, but he is a driver than many love to hate. Busch had four wins in 2011. .While his maturitiy level is definitely in question, as he was in quite a few run in with drivers this year including his intentional run in with Ron Hornday, Jr. in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway, he is  a proven winner on the track.

From 10:15am to 12:15, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin will make an appearance on the stage.

Jeff Gordon is definitely a NASCAR superstar, and for a while, looked like he might be on his way to an impressive 5th championship but it was not meant to be. He had a good 2011 season, with three wins, 13 top-fives, and 19 top-tens.

Five-time Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson, is another superstar. He even came close to taking the title for the sixth consecutive year. He ended the season with two wins, 14 top-fives, and 21 top-tens.

Denny Hamlin came so close to dethroning in 2010, but we all know how that ended. This year, he ended the season ranked 10th in points with 1 win, five top-fives, and 14 top-tens. Fans attending this session will definitely get his opinion on his new crew chief, Darian Grubb.

Afternoon Appearances

Brad Keselowski is the lone driver in the 11:45 am to 1:45pm session. He was a contender for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after an impressive late season effort, in addition to his horrific crash at Road Atlanta that lead to a broken ankle. Keselowski finished the 2011 season in fifth place. He had three wins, 10 top-fives, and 14 top-ten finishes.

From 12:15pm to 2:15pm, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle will make an appearance. Kevin Harvick finished the 2011 season 3rd in points. He had four wins, nine top-fives and 19 top-ten finishes. Something tells me Harvick will definitely talk about the changes of the season, and who knows a fan may even ask him about Mother_Function, or should I say Juice Jonas(his assistant).

Greg Biffle didn’t have a stellar 2011 season. He didn’t have any wins and didn’t make the Chase for the Sprint Cup but he did have 10 top-five finishes and three top-ten finishes.

NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will make an appearance with Juan Pablo Montoya from 2:24pm until 4:45pm. While he hasn’t won a race in over two years, Earnhardt still has the largest fan base in NASCAR. He finished the 2011 season seventh in points, his best in six years. He had four top-five finishes and 12 top-ten finishes.

Juan Pablo Montoya didn’t have a superb 2011 season. He had no wins, and like Biffle, didn’t make the Chase. He had two top-five finishes and eight top-ten finishes. With a new crew chief for 2012, something tells me Montoya will be talking about his expectations for the new year.

3:15pm to 5:15pm bring to the stage the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart, along with the runner-up, Carl Edwards, and Kurt Busch.  Older brother Busch ended the 2011 season 11th in points, but the big news of the off-season was his mutual agreement  split from Penske Racing. There is a possibility that this maybe the only time his fans see him, as we don’t know where or if he will be behind the wheel in 2012.

Additional driver appearances from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, plus all four living NASCAR Hall of Fame members inducted the previous night, will be announced at a later date so stay with us for the latest information.

Tickets to NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint start at just $10 for individual event admission. A discounted $20 combo ticket includes admission to both the Preview event and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, while a $299 VIP weekend package includes all NASCAR Acceleration Weekend events, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

For additional information, visit www.NASCARAcceleration2012.com.



Tags: Brad Keselowski Carl Edwards Dale Earnhardt Jr Denny Hamlin Greg Biffle Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Juan Pablo Montoya Kevin Harvick Kurt Busch Kyle Busch Matt Kenseth NASCAR Acceleration Weekend NASCAR Preview 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tony Stewart

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