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John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington

Kylie Clem
Johnson Space Center, Houston

David Talley
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Fla.
Jan. 4, 2008
NASA Astronaut at Daytona Speedway Event for 50th Milestones
WASHINGTON - Astronaut Andrew Feustel will participate in NASCAR's Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway, Fla., on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The appearance is in celebration of NASA's 50th anniversary and the Daytona International Speedway's 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008.

Feustel will ride around the track, or take "hot laps," in an official track vehicle. Immediately afterward, he will be available for media interviews behind the Pit Road wall. Reporters interested in participating in these interviews should contact John Yembrick at 202-358-0602 by 6 p.m. EST on Monday, Jan. 7.

To make arrangements to cover the day's activities, please request access by faxing a letter from an assignment editor to the speedway at 386-947-6798. Letters must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7.

The schedule of events includes: (All times Eastern)
9 a.m. - Sprint FanZone opens
1 p.m. - NASA Television segment with Feustel, Sprint FanZone
5:30 p.m. - Feustel does “hot laps” around the speedway
6 p.m. - Media interviews with Feustel behind the wall on Pit Road

Technology developed for the space program has helped NASCAR drivers increase their performance and stay safe over the years. They wear cooling suits similar to what astronauts wear during a spacewalk. Foam that NASA developed for aircraft seats protects racecar drivers' necks in crashes.

In addition to participating in the fan festival, NASA will fly three Daytona 500 flags aboard an upcoming space shuttle flight. Speedway officials plan to wave one of the flags to begin the 2008 installment of the Daytona 500, while another will be presented to the winning driver. NASA will keep the third.

Feustel will fly on the space shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission will extend and improve the observatory's capabilities through 2013. Launch is targeted for August 2008. For more information on Feustel, visit:

Video of Feustel's visit to the fan fest will air on NASA TV. For streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

Photos of the event also will be available at:

For more information on Daytona 500, visit:

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