ROGER DIEZ: The green flag drops on a new season today |

ROGER DIEZ: The green flag drops on a new season today

Roger Diez
For the Nevada Appeal

Racing is back! This weekend marks the kickoff of the 2010 racing season with the Toyota All-Star Shootout at Irwindale and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Two local racers – Dallas Colodny and Bobby Hodges – are on the entry list for tonight’s Late Model 75-lap race at Irwindale.

Hodges’ participation is iffy based on information I got from him two weeks ago, but Colodny will definitely be there. Friday night was the 100-lap Super Late Model event, and the big finale is tonight.

There are a couple of entries in the K&N field that are listed as to be determined, and I have heard rumors that one of them may possibly go to yet another local racer, Mackena Bell. I haven’t been able to confirm that, but I hope to have news about Mackena’s 2010 season plans very soon. The Drive for Diversity folks are keeping a tight rein on information about the 2010 class, but the dam is about to break.

Back at Daytona, 45 teams are getting ready to take the green flag today for the grueling Rolex 24-hour enduro. Ganassi Racing is pulling out all the stops, fielding two new Riley chassis with BMW power and an all-star driver lineup. Grand-Am regulars Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will team with Indy Car star Justin Wilson and NASCAR regular Max Papis. The other Ganassi team consists of 2009 Indy Car champ Dario Franchitti, runner-up Scott Dixon, and NASCAR drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie MacMurray.

Four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will team with 2009 Grand-Am Champions Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, with 1996 CART Champion Jimmy Vassar the fourth driver. The team did not post a qualifying time because of Johnson’s crash in practice, but the car should be repaired in time for the race.

Next Saturday we will see pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 at 10:05 a.m , followed by the ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at 1:30 p.m. on SPEED. Danica Patrick and Nelson Piquet Jr. will both be making their stock car debuts in this event.

Following the ARCA race is the Budweiser Shootout on FOX, with coverage beginning at 5 p.m. The Gatorade Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500 are scheduled to start at 11 a.m Feb. 11. The green flag for the Camping World Truck series NextEra 250 will wave at 5 p.m Feb. 12.

On Feb. 13, the Nationwide series will appear on ESPN2 with the Camping World 300 scheduled for a 10:15 a.m. start.

And of course, Daytona 500 coverage on FOX will start at 10 a.m. Feb. 14.

Also, if you’re a Jimmie Johnson fan and get HBO, you can see episode 2 of the series 24/7 at 10 p.m. on Tuesday. The series follows Johnson through Speedweeks, and this episode concerns his experience in the Rolex 24. Episode 3 airs a week later, Feb. 9, and episode 4, the Daytona 500, on Feb. 16.

Finally, Indy Racing League founder Tony George has fallen on hard times. George, who was stripped of his Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairmanship by his family last year, recently resigned from the Speedway board. And on Thursday, George’s Vision Racing team suspended operations for the foreseeable future due to lack of sponsorship. So if you see somebody on the street corner with a hand-lettered cardboard sign saying “Will screw up U.S. open-wheel racing for food,” it just might be Tony.