Old-timers set to get back on the track

As the days tick away for the start of a fresh season at Daytona International Speedway, there still will be moments of old-school reverence at the fabled superspeedway.

Welcome back, Ward Burton.

We'll see you soon, too, Bill Elliott.

Both "old-timers" are back behind the wheel, even if it's just for a cameo appearance.

Burton, a former Daytona 500 winner, has signed with Hillman Racing and will drive in the season-opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Hillman has agreed to begin a driver development program for Burton's son, Jeb Burton, who is 19.

Burton, 50, has 375 career Cup starts but has not competed in a Sprint Cup race since 2007. Since leaving the circuit, he is mostly known for his work as an advocate for land and wildlife conservation.

It remains uncertain whether Burton will compete in other races, although he could share a ride with Jeb, who is expected to compete in about 20 truck races this year.

Elliott will drive in July's Coke Zero 400 as part of a one-race deal with Wal-Mart.

Elliott, 56, is the 1988 Cup champion and was voted one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers. He will drive a car with No. 50, commemorating Wal-Mart's 50th anniversary.

"This is a big deal to have Wal-Mart on a car and get more involved in the sport," Elliott said. "It helps to have a company like this take a major step forward in NASCAR."

Two for Daugherty? JTG Daugherty Racing is trying to cobble together a second team by next season, according to reports from NASCAR.com.

The organization has purchased some old cars from Michael Waltrip Racing and will get its engines from Toyota Racing Development for its one-car team, but there are plans to build its own cars at the Harrisburg shop in North Carolina. The second car could be able to run a handful of races this season.

"We're already working on it," owner Brad Daugherty said. "That's something that's going to happen sooner rather than later because we need that.

"That's as big as we want to be, though. The cost comes down and the information goes way up. So we're really working on that."

Veteran Bobby Labonte will be behind the wheel for the No. 47 Toyota Camry this season.

Be sure to toon in: It's almost time for NASCAR drivers to start picking up some new hardware.

Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne have been nominated as part of Cartoon Network's second annual Hall of Game Awards, airing Feb. 20.

Edwards is a finalist in the "Dance Machine" category for his signature back flip to celebrate a victory. Bayne is nominated in the "Gnarliest Newb" category for winning the 2011 Daytona 500 in just his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.

Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal hosts the show. Fans can vote for Edwards and Bayne on hallofgame.com through Feb. 17.

George Diaz

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