Daytona paving going smoothly

In a tight economy, you rely on all your available resources to get things done.

Jeff Burton, can you help repave the Daytona International Speedway?

Burton will be at the Speedway on Wednesday as part of a ceremonial time capsule event. He will climb aboard a piece of Caterpillar equipment to repave a portion of the Speedway and then assist Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood by burying a time capsule at the start/finish line.

It's an interesting smorgasbord of items, including a piece of the pothole from the 2010 Daytona 500, a newspaper clipping proclaiming Barack Obama as the new president, and a miniature die cast of Kevin Harvick's winning car in the 2010 Coke Zero 400.

The repaving is going along, um, smoothly, even without Burton's help. The most recent piece of work involved the 31-degree high banks in Turns 3 and 4.

Sprint Cup teams reportedly have been told the tentative testing dates for drivers are Jan. 17-19.

Expanding borders: NASCAR's push for diversity keeps stretching into unmarked territories. India anyone? Narain Karthikeyan is trying to become another crossover star.

The first Indian driver to break into the Formula One is running a limited schedule on the Camping World Truck series and is making some noise as a up-and-coming driver to watch.

He has run seven races and has finished in the top 20 five times. His best is 11th at the WinStar World Casino 400K in June.

"I've had a great tour so far," Karthikeyan said recently. "You realize how big NASCAR is only once you go out there and see it. The more time I get in NASCAR, I will feel more comfortable. Overall it has been quite good, and we are hoping that it gets even better."

Karthikeyan's interest in stock car racing spiked after he noted Juan Pablo Montoya's successful switch to NASCAR from F1 in 2006. He has 22 seasons of experience in open-wheel racing, including Formula 1 and the Le Mans Series.

Karthikeyan, 33, is driving the Wyler Racing No. 60 Chevrolet Silverado for Starbeast Motorsports.

Look who's back: An old face will be in the mix of teams at Richmond. Terry LaBonte will be behind the wheel to mark the debut of Stavola Labonte Racing. Labonte has not raced in the Sprint Cup since Homestead last year and isn't guaranteed a spot in the field.

"I know there are still fans who saw him win championships and put on great shows that will welcome him back to the racetrack," Mark Martin said.

— George Diaz

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