March 2004 Busch Series Archive
- Parker and RWI back at Texas: Even though Duraflame RWI Racing and driver Billy Parker turned a lot of heads in their Busch Series debut, Parker feels the team will be even better in its second race, the O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. “Our car was bad fast at Las Vegas, but we just didn’t have all of the pieces put together. We needed to be a little bit better in the pits, and we feel that we’ll definitely be better at Texas. Other than the gasman and catch can man, Rusty (Wallace)’s entire Miller Lite pit crew will be pitting our car at Texas. Larry Carter and all of the guys over at Penske South have really worked hard to put together a good group and I can’t wait to have them going over the wall for us this weekend. We had a great test, the team’s pumped up and I’m ready to go. This Duraflame team’s going to come out with guns blazing when we hit Texas.”
The changes to the RWIR pit crew for Texas will be extensive, as Penske South crewmen DJ Richardson (Rear Tire Changer), Jay Hackney (Front Tire Changer), David Cox (Jackman), Andy Brown (Rear Tire Carrier) and Dave Littau (Front Tire Carrier) will be added to the RWIR roster. Existing Duraflame RWI Racing pit crew members Greg Rimmer (Gasman) and Phil Edgar (Catch Can) will remain in those roles for the Texas event. This lineup could prove quite potent, as the Penske Racing crew helped Wallace to a second-place finish and a near-victory in last Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Parker and Duraflame RWI Racing joined team owner, Wallace and his Penske Racing teammate, Brendan Gaughan, in a test at TMS earlier this month. Wallace was pleased with the results.
“Billy, Blake and Barry seem to work better together every week. They took two cars down to Texas and picked out the fastest hot rod we had. Our Miller Lite car didn’t get on the track until the second day of the test, so on the first day, I definitely had my car owner hat on with Billy and Brendan. It was a lot of fun to be able to help them. It seemed as if both teams had a lot better handle on the race track when we wrapped up. I felt like I put 3000 miles on my shoes that first day-I was in the garage, on pit road, in the grandstands, on top of the truck, all over the place watching those two cars.”
Taking into account the Texas test and the pit crew changes, Wallace feels optimistic about the team’s chances heading into Saturday’s O’Reilly 300. “Going into Texas, we have the cars tuned up. We took them home from Texas and buffed on them a little more, so they should be even better yet. Penske Jasper Engines found a little more power for us, too, so we should be better in that department as well. The pit crew changes will definitely help and needless to say, the driver is really confident after getting that first race under his belt. It’s all systems go for us. We’ll be ready for them.”
The O’Reilly 300 will mark Duraflame RWI Racing’s second Busch Series attempt. Despite his veteran-like performance in the team’s first start at Las Vegas, Billy Parker will be making only his fifth career Busch Series start, should the team qualify for Saturday’s event. Duraflame RWI Racing will debut a brand-new car for this weekend’s event.(RWI PR)(3-30-2004)
- Mike Garvey to run the Busch race at Nashville: Joe Auer, co-owner of Competitive Edge Motorsports, hopes his driver, Mike Garvey, can create the same level of excitement for his new team in the upcoming NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway that Auer did when he returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown in the first game of the Miami Dolphins’ inaugural season in the AFL. According to Auer, the excitement he felt when he raced down the field of the Orange Bowl in 1966 is already instilled in his team as it prepares for the Pepsi 300, slated for April 10. “I provided some game-opening excitement, but we were not able to get a win out of it against Oakland,” said Auer, who was the Dolphins’ MVP that first season. “There is already a lot of adrenaline surrounding this team. I don’t need to return another opening kickoff for a touchdown to get this team excited. We have a lot of confidence in Mike and the cars we have. We expect a solid start for our new team in Nashville.” Garvey, the Most Popular Driver in American Speed Association (ASA) last season, will drive a Chevrolet sponsored by NegotiationsSeminar.com. Auer founded the parent company, International Computer Negotiations (ICN) after retiring from professional football. NegotiationsSeminar.com is testing the power of NASCAR with a marketing program focused exclusively on its sponsorship of Competitive Edge Motorsports. NegotiationsSeminar.com will host three workshops in 2004 that are designed for any person in a position to negotiate a deal, from a personal real estate transaction to an acquisition or merger. NegotiationsSeminar.com will be with Garvey and Competitive Edge for several Busch Series races, and it will also sponsor the team in several Nextel Cup races this season. The team has only announced its plans for the Nashville Busch Series race. Last season Garvey finished 26th in the Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway after a 17th-place start. Garvey has competed in the ASA since 1988 and has visited victory lane 17 times, including a series best four times in 2003. Garvey also has 19 Busch Series starts under his belt, one in 1993, 13 in 1994, one in 1995 and 1998, three in 1999 and last year’s start in Phoenix.(Keystone Marketing PR)(3-30-2004)
- Grissom and team to skip Texas: #36-DCT Motorsports has put its organization into “catching-up” mode, and will skip Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in order to fully prepare for races at Nashville, Tenn., and Talladega, Ala. “Since we were running a partial schedule anyway and we were a little behind on where we wanted to be with cars prepared and engines ready, we felt the best thing to do would be to concentrate on Nashville and Talladega,” said John McGill, who co-owns the team with Carl Natale. Both are from the Cleveland, Ohio, area. “We had a nice, solid run at Bristol and that’s what we’re looking for on a consistent basis,” he said, referring to driver Steve Grissom’s 15th-place finish in last week’s Sharpie Professional 250 at the demanding Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Taking some extra time to concentrate on our pre-race preparation will help along those lines.” The team had originally scheduled 25-29 events for the season. They will run Nashville and Talladega, then skip California, which had already been planned, before returning to race at Gateway, Richmond, Nazareth and Lowe’s. “This one additional week will help us in the shop,” said crew chief Ricky Pearson, considered one of the top mechanical minds in the NASCAR Busch Series. “We take this week off, then run Nashville. There is a week off between there and Talladega. Then we have the California week off before running four straight weeks. That extra time can help us a lot on the race track,” Pearson said. DCT Motorsports is led by championship veterans Grissom and Pearson. Named for the idea “Dreams Come True,” owners McGill and Natale – “two guys from Cleveland building a future in motorsports,” as they refer to themselves – have developed the sport’s most cost-efficient, sponsor-friendly marketing setup. It is based on giving full value to sponsors, and utilizing the many business-to-business contacts McGill, a developer, and Natale, a major earthwork contractor, have in place. DCT Motorsports, seeking sponsorship for next year and the remainder of this season, plans on running a 25-29 race schedule in 2004, hitting all of the major NASCAR Busch Grand National events and markets. One of the most comprehensive sponsorship packages in any form of motorsports, DCT offers a complete package of top racing equipment, hospitality, public relations, publicity, appearances and show cars.(Williams Company PR)(3-30-2004)
- Starr to attempt Texas: #50-Holigan Racing, based in Dallas and owned by Dallas’ Michael Holigan, will compete in Saturday’s O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race with Houston, Tex., native David Starr behind the wheel. Of course, if you have been tuned in to Spike TV every Saturday morning at 10:30am/et, you already knew that. That’s when Reality Of Speed, the nation’s most-watched motorsports reality television show airs. The show, the brainchild of Holigan, began airing Jan. 3, and will continue to air a new show every week for at least 52 total weeks. It follows the triumphs and travails of Holigan Racing’s Enzyte Chevrolet team with Starr and the Samsung/Radio Shack AMA Motorcross team, which is fielded from the same shops. What Team Enzyte is hoping to unveil this week at Texas is exactly how strong they are. The fluke mechanical problem at Las Vegas was disappointing, especially since the team has no owners’ points to fall back on for provisional starting positions. Following a good testing session at Texas Motor Speedway last week, Holigan, Starr and crew chief Todd Myers feel the team could quickly gel. “We have all of the ingredients,” Holigan said. “A little bit of luck, and we were in good shape at Las Vegas. We were going to be fine on qualifying time – not the pole but solidly in the field – and we felt we were going to have a good race setup too. I really feel a top-15 finish was in the cards for us there. Team Enzyte scheduled 15 NASCAR Busch Series races for this season (its next race is the Apr. 10 event at Nashville, Tenn.) but already has the pieces in place for a full-season Busch Series run in 2005, and an eventual multi-car team. Holigan is a former volume home-builder and contractor with his own nationally-syndicated television show. He purchased the assets of TKO Motorsports, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team. Starr, one of the top names from NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series, drives the Busch car, and continues driving the NASCAR Truck Series entry of Spears Racing. Todd Myers, a veteran who has worked previously with such names as Jamie McMurray, Brendan Gaughan and Starr, is crew chief. Lifekey Healthcare, Inc. is sponsoring the Busch team through its brand of Enzyte, the once-a-day tablet for natural male enhancement. The show follows the lives of drivers, riders and members of both the NASCAR and AMA Holigan Racing teams as they prepare and compete on the grueling circuits.(Williams Company PR)(3-30-2004)
- Teams test at Nashville: Four Busch Series Drivers tested at Nashville Superspeedway on Monday, March 29th: #25-Bobby Hamilton, Jr.; #22-Jason Keller, #37-David Green and #27-Johnny Sauter. No speeds reported. And on Tuesday, March 30th, scheduled to test include: #2-Ron Hornaday, #22-Jason Keller, and #87-Joe Nemechek.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(3-30-2004)
- Sad News: Farris Frazier, father of Busch Series crew chief Bryant Frazier and Susan Grissom, wife of 1993 Busch Series champion Steve Grissom, died March 26,2004 in Gadsden, Alabama. Funeral services were held March 29. Bryant Frazier is crew chief for Labonte Motorsports and Team Coast Guard driver Justin Labonte.(Labonte Motorsports PR)(3-29-2004)
- Reed Sorenson Set for Run at ASA Championship and run some Busch races: 18-year-old driving sensation Reed Sorenson may be returning to familiar territory when the 2004 ASA Racing season kicks off this Saturday at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., but one thing is for sure – almost everything around him has changed. Sorenson, the 2003 ASA Rookie of the Year, will be sporting a new car with new colors in addition to having some major sponsorship backing. Sorenson will pilot the #29 Target/Texaco/Havoline Dodge for RSR Racing full time in ASA competition this season. Veteran crew chief Gene Roberts has been added to help guide the 18-year-old to the 2004 ASA Championship. “I’m really excited about getting things started this year,” Sorenson said. “Gene is going to bring a lot of information to this team and I’m looking forward to working with him. I’m also very excited to have Target and Texaco/Havoline supporting me this year. Being part of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is definitely an honor for me. Hopefully we can deliver everyone with a championship this year.” Sorenson, who is part of the driver development program at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, also plans to test the water in several other racing series during the 2004 season. Through a collaborative effort with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Sorenson will compete in select ARCA and NASCAR Busch Series races in 2004. For more information on Reed Sorenson, please visit www.reedsorenson.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-29-2004)
- Biffle to have McLaughlin standing by: #60-Greg Biffle, one of three Nextel Cup drivers also running a full Busch Series schedule this season, said his team is working out the travel details for the Busch races not run in conjunction with Cup. One element of that problem has been taken care of with the hiring of Busch veteran Mike McLaughlin, who will step into the Busch car when travel conflicts arise with Biffle. “The biggest thing that will impact us is weather. If it rains practice out or delays practice, we would have problems,” Biffle said. “We secured a deal with Mike and he is going to go test with us and get used to the car and drive it the way I like it and see if we can work together. So if a situation ever arises, we have somebody.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-28-2004)
- New Jersey Native Martin Truex Jr. Wins at Bristol: #8-Martin Truex Jr.’s first NASCAR Busch Series victory was dominating and clear-cut [a NJ native with NJ native Jayski in attendence]. The remainder of the finishing order in Saturday’s Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, however, was determined only after myriad replays, complaints and discussions in the NASCAR hauler. After a wild final three laps in which first #32-David Stremme, and then #27-Johnny Sauter, were involved in accidents without a caution being displayed, Truex Jr. claimed a win under caution when the yellow finally came out for #1-Johnny Benson’s wreck in Turn 1 on Lap 249 of 250. Even then, rather than sort out the many issues, including cars passing under yellow and another driver – Mike Bliss – failing to take the checkered flag, NASCAR stood with its initial finishing order. Series points leader #21-Kevin Harvick was credited with second, rookie #5-Kyle Busch third, pole-winner #60-Greg Biffle fourth and #37-David Green fifth. Truex Jr., in his 20th start, took the lead on Lap 117 after running down Biffle, who decided against stopping for fresh tires with the rest of the lead-lap cars under caution on Lap 71. He never lost the lead after that. “Martin Truex Jr. What can you say?” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who co-owns Truex Jr.’s Chance 2 Motorsports team with his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. “These guys deserve all this success.” Truex Jr. had come close to victory before in his short series tenure, with three second-place finishes. “We’ve had things not go our way and today, I swear, I thought they weren’t going to go our way at the end there. But we pulled it together,” Truex Jr., 23, said. “I can’t wait for the rest of the year. I think we can win the championship. These guys are that good and these cars are that good every week.” The race was slowed eight times by caution for 49 laps. Truex Jr.’s pass of Biffle was the only lead change of the race. The drama didn’t end with the checkered flag. Mike Bliss, who was running second when the caution came out, failed to take the checkered flag [and drove onto pit road]. When he realized his mistake, he ended up 17th [after going back on the track and taking another lap]. Harvick apologized for starting the late-race incident with Stremme. The crews of Stremme and Benson got into a shouting match on pit road and then the garage, as it was Stremme who hit Benson on the next-to-last lap.(ThatsRacin.com report)
For race results, see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com, Motorsports One or NASCAR.com.(3-27-2004)
- RB1 Motorsports changes plans and regroups: Due to unexpected adversity, NASCAR Busch Series driver Ron Young and his RB1 Motorsports team have seen their 2004 plans change. Young and RB1 Motorsports, who has been called “the best underfunded team in NASCAR,” had planned to make its season-debut in the second race of the year at Rockingham. However less than three weeks before Rockingham, the freightliner rig that hauls the trailer carrying RB1’s racecars and equipment to and from the track was stolen from the shop. Due to the setback, the process of preparing racecars for te upcoming season has been slowed. Young plans to run approximately 15 races later in the year which will be announced at a later date. Young is still seeking sponsorship for the 2004 season. Interested parties can call RB1 Motorsports at (770) 922-1275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (RB1 PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-26-2004)
- Biffle on the pole at Bristol: #60-Greg Biffle’s day with his NASCAR Busch Series team started with a wreck and ended with a pole. During Friday morning’s practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway, Biffle got into a wreck with Jay Sauter, which damaged both cars. By the afternoon, Biffle’s Roush Racing team had repaired the nose of his #60 Ford and his qualifying lap at 127.132 mph was good enough to take the pole for Saturday’s Sharpie Professional 250 (1:00pm/et, Fox). The pole is the 10th of Biffle’s career and first at Bristol. It comes on the heels of Biffle’s win last weekend at Darlington. Biffle said he felt bad for Sauter and for his team, which spent most of the rest of the practice session working on his car. “It was one of those deals where Jay Sauter was coming up off the corner and he just let off the throttle,” he said. “At Bristol when your mirror is full of a car, you can’t let up off the gas.” Biffle and second-fastest qualifier #8-Martin Truex Jr. (126.679 mph) eclipsed the previous track qualifying record (126.495 mph), set by David Green in March 2003. “It was a great run for us,” Truex Jr. said. “I think we’ve been close (to a win) already, but it seems like at the end of races circumstances don’t ever seem to go our way. But all we can do is run as best we can every week.” #37-David Green was third fastest, #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. fourth and series points leader #21-Kevin Harvick completed the top five.(ThatsRacin.com), missing the race were #16-Justin Ashburn, #53-Butch Jarvis and #0-Mike Potter.
For race lineups see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com or NASCAR.com.(3-26-2004)
- Bear Creek Soups Primary Sponsor for Jason Keller: ppc Racing and Bear Creek Soups have agreed to a one-race sponsorship with driver Jason Keller in the #22 Ford Taurus for this weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway. The slogan “Eat My Soup,” will be visibly seen on the hood, bumper and TV panel as the Heber City, Utah-based organization makes its 2004 debut appearance as primary sponsor with ppc Racing. “Bear Creek Soups recognized ppc Racing’s sponsorship opportunity for Bristol was available,” said Steve Zupan, Director of Motorsports for Bear Creek Foods. “We’ve stepped up to the plate before and have seen positive results in sales and brand recognition. Placing Bear Creek Soups on the car as a primary sponsor completes our visit to Bristol, Tennessee with our Traveling Soup Kitchen. Race fans will be able to sample our soup and see the No. 22 Bear Creek Soups Ford race around the track.” The Traveling Soup Kitchen, a state-of-the-art kitchen with a surround sound system on wheels, has been a hit with the race fans in the past. The Traveling Soup Kitchen enables race fans to sample a variety of Bear Creek Soup Mixes all the while listening to their favorite music on four, 400-watt speakers. Bear Creek Soups has introduced four soup mixes during its past two seasons with ppc Racing. “We’re ecstatic that Bear Creek Soups has decided to be our primary sponsor for this weekend at Bristol,” said Keith Barnwell, Co-Owner and General Manager of ppc Racing. “We’ve had a great relationship with those guys in the past and enter our third season. They were a very small associate sponsor the first year and now have stepped up to their first primary sponsorship this year. Hopefully it won’t be their last. We’ve still got 12 more races that we need to have sponsorship for the No. 22 Ford Taurus. We’re hoping we can work out something with Bear Creek Soups. The TV panel on this race car is going to be awesome. It’ll send a message to the other 42 guys on the track; ‘Eat My Soup.'”(ppc Racing PR)(3-26-2004)
- Sauter fined $10G and 25 points for cursing UPDATE 2 to appeal: In a pre-race drivers meeting several weeks ago, drivers were warned by NASCAR President Mike Helton, to watch their language and to maintain a suitable level of decorum during live television (and radio) interviews in the wake of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime show. Helton said. “We have a policy about profanity, and that is under more of a microscope today than it ever has been.” Following the Sam’s Town 300 Busch Series race at LVMS, Johnny Sauter, driver of the #27 Kleenex Pontiac, had a bone to pick with Michael Waltrip and let loose a string of expletivities during a post-race radio interview. NASCAR may come down hard on him, to make an example of what shouldn’t be done. If penalties are in order, they will probably be announced by next Tuesday.(Insider Racing News)(3-9-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR has fined Johnny Sauter $10,000, deducted 25 NASCAR Busch Series championship driver points and placed him on probation through Dec. 31 for using inappropriate language following the NASCAR Busch Series race on March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sauter, driver of the #27 Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series, was penalized under Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Use of improper language.) for his comments during a post-race broadcast interview. The loss of 25 driver points dropped him from second to fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings, with an adjusted total of 425 points. The use of inappropriate language and NASCAR’s lack of tolerance for such behavior was brought to the attention of all drivers by NASCAR President Mike Helton during the drivers’ meeting held for the NASCAR Busch Series on Feb. 21 and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Feb. 22 during the race weekend at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.(NASCAR PR)(3-10-2004)
UPDATE 2: Brewco Motorsports and driver Johnny Sauter have decided to appeal part of his penalty for using profanity in a post-race radio interview following the NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas. Sauter was fined $10,000, placed on probation through the end of the year and docked 25 Busch Series driver points after a live radio interview with Performance Racing Network. Sauter and the team will appeal the points reduction and their appeal is scheduled to be heard Tuesday before a three-member panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission in Daytona Beach, Fla. During the race weekend at Rockingham, N.C., NASCAR President Mike Helton warned participants the sanctioning body would be strictly enforcing its restrictions on the use of profanity in radio and TV broadcasts. Helton cited the Federal Communication Commission’s recent crackdown on such language for its toughened stance.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-21-2004)
UPDATE 3 – upheld: The National Stock Car Racing Commission announced Thursday that it had rejected NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter’s appeal of financial and points penalties levied earlier this month. The Commission, consisting of Chairman George Silbermann, NASCAR’s director of administration; former sports car driver Lyn St. James; and former track owner Mike Staley upheld NASCAR’s $10,000 fine and 25-point penalty. Sauter has the right under Section 15 of the Busch Series rulebook to appeal the decision to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner Charles D. Strang and Thursday his team owner, Clarence Brewer, said the team was seriously considering that move. “As of right now we plan to appeal,” Brewer said. “Because I think we’ve been made an example of. My biggest problem with the whole situation is not the fine for cursing, because I agree with it. Even if it were more I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The problem I have as a team owner is that when you deduct points for an action that the driver did, you’re affecting Clarence Brewer and the team more than the driver. If Johnny were to finish second in points instead of first because of the 25 points (penalty), it’s going to cost Clarence Brewer $200,000 in driver point fund money that’s shared between the team and the driver.” Sauter is currently 10th in the Busch Series driver standings, 113 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Without the 25-point penalty, Sauter would be tied with Bobby Hamilton Jr. for sixth position. Brewer said he looked back through five years of records and could find no record of anyone being penalized points for cursing, only for breaking other rules in the rulebook. Sauter, who also competes in the Nextel Cup Series, was penalized — including being placed on probation for the balance of this calendar year — for cursing in a live broadcast interview March 6 following the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in which he finished 16th. According to a statement issued Thursday by the Commission, during the hearing Tuesday, Sauter acknowledged that the infraction had occurred. He did not contest the fine or probation, but appealed the loss of driver points, arguing that points had not been deducted for improper language violations in the past. Witnesses further argued that the loss of driver points would have an adverse effect on the team. In its statement the Commission countered that, in considering the appeal, it recognized that NASCAR drivers in the top tiers of the sport are high-profile celebrities and should conduct themselves accordingly. They also noted that NASCAR had issued specific warnings to contestants during the driver briefings at the preceding event, at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, regarding the use of inappropriate language during live event broadcasts. The Commission noted that the violation occurred on-air at the racetrack during the live broadcast of a NASCAR event, not in a casual private conversation or off-site activity. Brewer said Sauter had to pay $200 to appeal the penalties to the Commission. The appeal to Strang carries the same fee.(NASCAR.com)(3-25-2004)
- Joe Gibbs Racing Signs Denny Hamlin to Driver Development Contract: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that it has signed driver Denny Hamlin to a driver development contract. Beginning in 2004, Hamlin, 23, will test a NASCAR Busch Series car and an ARCA car with the plan to enter select races in each of those divisions in 2005. “We are certainly very excited about Denny’s potential,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “I know first-hand how difficult and challenging it is to compete and win at the local short-track level. Denny has a ton of talent and has won races in everything he’s ever driven. We are confident that he will continue that success with us in the years to come.” A native of Chesterfield, VA, Hamlin started his career at the age of seven when he began competing in go-karts. He won his very first go-kart race and his go-kart accomplishments include over 50 wins. Hamlin won the 1994 Amelia Track Championship in the Junior Restricted and Junior Super Stock Division, and he placed fourth in the 1995 WKA National Championship. In 1997 at the age of 16, Hamlin began his stock car racing career. In his first stock car race, Hamlin won the pole, set a new track record, and won the race at the season opener at Langley Speedway. He finished the season by winning the Rookie of the Year title and two track championships (Langley Speedway and Southside Speedway in Richmond, VA). Hamlin moved to the Grand Stock division in 1998 and 1999, winning five races. He also racked up 20 top fives and 38 top tens. Hamlin finished second in points at Southside Speedway and won the Most Popular Driver Award in 1999. In 2000 Hamlin started racing Late Model Stock Cars, and he won the Rookie of the Year Award at Southside Speedway. The following year Hamlin finished in the top ten at every race at Southampton Motor Speedway. Finally, in 2002, Hamlin broke into the Late Model Stock Car winner’s circle as he recorded 10 wins, 15 poles and 26 top fives. Hamlin’s 2003 season was simply dominating as he won an astounding 25 races in just 36 starts. He finished in the top five 32 times and also won 30 poles.
“There are many people I must thank that contributed to the development of my racing career,” said Hamlin. “My parents helped pave the way for me, and we always had several friends and family members who were eagerly willing to help out in times of need. In addition, Jim Dean (Hamlin’s current Late Model Stock Car owner) has given me a great opportunity to drive his car the last couple of years. I am so thrilled to be involved with such a great organization like Joe Gibbs Racing,” Hamlin continued. “It is very humbling to hear Joe Gibbs Racing express such excitement and confidence in me. I can’t wait to get in one of their cars and translate their excitement and confidence into actual results on the track.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(3-25-2004)
- #22 Sponsor Update: The Bristol race marks the first of 13 in which Miller High Life will appear as an associate sponsor on Jason Keller’s #22 car. The Miller High Life brand will appear as a primary sponsor for 19 of the 34 races for the 2004 season. The High Life brand is no stranger to the NASCAR community. The brand made its motor sports debut in 1970 by sponsoring the High Life 500 NASCAR stock car race at California’s Ontario Motor Speedway. The Miller High Life logo also garnered the hood of Bobby Allison’s #22 championship winning car in 1983. Keller’s car carries a similar paint scheme to that of Allison’s championship car, in honor of Miller High Life’s rich history in the sport.(Miller High Life Racing PR)(3-25-2004)
- Bristol Notes: David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) holds the NASCAR Busch Series track qualifying record at Bristol, with a speed of 126.495 mph. He set the mark in March, 2003. … Jason Keller (No. 22 ppc Racing Ford) has three Busch Poles at Bristol, tying him with Morgan Shepherd for most at the track. … Kevin Harvick has three NASCAR Busch Series wins at Bristol, second on the all-time list, just one victory behind Shepherd. Harvick has led 672 laps to Mark Martin’s track record of 675. … Chevrolet has 22 wins at Bristol, including the last 13. That total is more than triple the number of wins by its next closest rival.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
It’s been 10 years since one of the most bizarre finishes in NASCAR Busch Series history. On April 9, 1994, Mark Martin was leading at what was then known as Bristol International Raceway under caution when he pulled off the track in Turn 4 and headed to Victory Lane. Only one small problem … there was still another lap to go. A surprised David Green, running second at the time, maintained his course and went around the .533-mile layout one more time to collect the win. It would be the only win of the year for Green, who went on to capture the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series championship.
What: Sharpie Professional 250 (Race No. 5 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
When: 1 p.m. (ET), Saturday, March 27, 2004
Track layout: .533-mile high-banked concrete oval.
Race length: 250 laps/133.25 miles.
Posted awards: $1,173,029.
TV: FOX, 1 p.m. (ET).
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Kevin Harvick.
2003 polesitter: David Green.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday – Practice, 9-11:15 a.m.; Qualifying, 1:30 p.m.; final practice following conclusion of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-25-2004)
- #32 gets an associate: Rite Aid will be an associate sponsor on the #32 Braun Racing Dodge that David Stremme drivers for the rest of the 2004 season.(Braun Racing PR)(3-25-2004)
- If Compton Wins at Bristol, Fan wins a million: Bristol win for Compton worth $1 million for a fan … Race fan Tammy Anders of appropriately named Speedwell, Tenn., stands to collect $1 million in the Food City/Acosta Crew Chief for a Day Sweepstakes if Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush’s Beans Ford) wins the Sharpie Professional 250. Anders and a guest will spend the day with Compton and his ST Motorsports team, riding with Compton during driver introductions and serving as an honorary pit crew member. “With odds of 1 in 43, I would say she has a lot to be excited about, especially with Stacy’s familiarity at Bristol,” stated Tom Hembree, Food City Senior Vice President of Marketing. Consumers were automatically entered in the Feb. 15 – March 13 sweepstakes promotion each time they purchased certain brand products.(NASCAR PR)(3-25-2004)
- Raines in the #74 at Bristol: #74 driver Damon Lusk will take a hiatus from the Outdoor Channel Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. Tony Raines returns to the helm of the BACE Busch Series entry at the same race where he posted a career best finish (2nd), just one year ago. Lusk will return to the seat next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
“This is an opportunity to maximize the performance assets available to us at BACE,” said team owner Bill Baumgardner. “First and foremost, our goal is to make sure that we continue to advance our Busch Series program, and Tony’s experience at a track like Bristol is something you just can’t set aside. We’re committed to the investment that we’ve made in Damon as an aggressive young racer and future star that we’re pleased to have in our family,” Baumgardner added. “However, having Tony behind the wheel this weekend will allow us to address some baseline issues that will benefit Damon and facilitate his growth at BACE.”
“I’m a racer,” Lusk said, “and, by nature, I’m an extremely competitive person. As a driver, I’m not thrilled at the prospect of not being behind the wheel in Bristol. But as a member of this team, I stand by our decision to take advantage of every asset available to making our team as competitive as it can possibly be.”
“I’m excited to return to the Outdoor Channel team at Bristol,” Raines said. “It’s my opportunity to take care of some unfinished business. Our car was strong at both Bristol races last year but we weren’t able to close the deal. Our main goal for this weekend is to put BACE back in Victory Lane on Saturday.”(BACE Motorsports PR)(3-24-2004)
- Tennessee Driver to debut later this season: Although Kingsport [TN] native Bob Harshbarger is planning to run the full American Speed Association [ASA] schedule with his locally-based Appalachian Motorsports race team, this also will be a transitional season for the team. Harshbarger plans to begin phasing his team into the NASCAR Busch Series later this season, with veteran ASA driver Gary St. Amant behind the wheel helping develop the cars. The goal is to run a few races this year, including the Bristol night race and fall Richmond race, about half the Busch Series races in 2005, and then go full time to that circuit in 2006. He currently is working with Nextel Cup veteran Ken Schrader, who is helping him pick out used Busch cars that are ready to race. Rather than “reinventing the wheel”, Harshbarger said he wants to use established Busch cars as templates for eventually building his own fleet. By the time he’s in Busch racing full time in 2006, he hopes to be building his own cars. “Anybody can go out there and just run, but we don’t want to run in the back or not make the race,” Harshbarger said. “Easing into Busch like this is going to help get us over the learning curve. We want to be competitive, so if we can get through the growing pains in the next couple of seasons, we’ll be ready when we go Busch racing full time.”(Kingsport Times News)(3-23-2004)
- New Website for Crosby; Next Race at Talladega: Crosby Motorsports has launched a newly redesigned CrosbyMotorsports.com, the official website of ARCA and Busch driver, Kim Crosby. Crosby’s next scheduled race is at Talladega on April 24, as she will be entering the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Busch Series Event.(3-23-2004)
- Baker Racing Still Looking For Sponsorship: Veteran NASCAR Busch Series driver Brad Baker has informed Catchfence.com that his No. 28 Baker Racing team is still looking for sponsorship after their primary sponsor for their limited schedule for the past two season Trus Joist backed out heading into the 2004 season. Baker is still hoping that they will be able to find a sponsor that will allow the team to compete at their “hometown” track at Nashville Superspeedway next month. We will keep you informed on Baker Racing future plans.(Catchfence)(3-22-2004)
- Testing at Texas: #44-Justin Labonte, #66-Billy Parker, and #50-David Starr will be testing Mar. 22-24 at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for the O’Reilly 300 on April 3. (TMS PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-22-2004)
- Atwood to test at Nashville: Casey Atwood will be testing his #14 Chevrolet at Nashville Superspeedway on Monday, March 22. Nashville Superspeedway PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-22-2004)
- Amick Back From The Trenches: from Lyndon Amick / Busch Series Driver In National Guard Training – “Hello Everyone – I know it’s been a while since I last wrote here at Catchfence.com, but I’m glad to be back and hope to write a little more often. As most of you know, I’ve been away in Infantry training for the National Guard in Ft. Bend, Georgia. I must say that attending the Infantry school was probably the hardest thing I’ve done so far. However, I would not take it back for anything, as it was well worth the experience. We did a variety of tasks during the training, which included a four-mile run, to a 15-mile march. We did something different every day, it all happened outside, and was very physical. We would get to bed if we were lucky around 9:00 PM, but then be back up at 4:00 AM to start the day all over. They treated us well though, we received three meals a day, and we were able to complete a task and were rewarded with watching the Daytona 500.”(see the full story at Catchfence)(3-17-2004)
- Federated Auto Parts to sponsor the #4 at Nashville: Biagi Bros. Racing announced that the #4 NASCAR Busch Series Ford of Mike Wallace will carry the colors of Federated Auto Parts for the June 12th running of the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. “I’ve been involved with Federated Auto Parts for three years,” said Wallace. “This is a nice compliment to my working relationship with Federated Auto Parts. I look forward carrying the Federated Auto Parts colors in Nashville and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.” Federated Auto Parts recently announced a multi-year agreement with Nashville Superspeedway to be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Busch Series race from the state-of-the-art 1.33-mile tri-oval in Music City. “We are happy to be associated with Mike Wallace and the Biagi Bros. race team,” said Gene Jeffries, president of Federated Auto Parts. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Mike, who has always been a great representative for Federated Auto Parts Stores and Car Care Centers.” Federated Auto Parts will also be an associate sponsor of the #4 Ford for the entire 2004 season. Wallace will participate in select hospitality events on behalf of Federated Auto Parts throughout the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season. For more information on Federated Auto Parts and to find the locations nearest you, please visit www.federatedautoparts.com.(Biagi Bros. Racing PR)(3-16-2004)
- Biffle Wins at Darlington:
#60-Greg Biffle dominated the late stages of Saturday’s Diamond Hill Plywood 200, leading the final 43 of 147 laps, en route to a 3.115-second victory over Roush Racing teammate #9-Jeff Burton. It’s the 12th career win for Biffle and first since winning at Atlanta last fall. Biffle’s previous best finish at Darlington was second in the spring race in 2002. Biffle is one of three drivers – #38-Kasey Kahne and #27-Johnny Sauter are the others – running full schedules in Busch and Nextel Cup this season. #37-David Green finished third, #8-Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and #30-David Stremme completed the top five. #21-Kevin Harvick, who is not running the full schedule, remains the series points leader. Green is second, 26 behind. Saturday was the first race at Darlington since SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers were installed over the winter. The walls took away up to 30 inches of the racing groove in the turns. The race was slowed four times by caution for 23 laps. There were 14 lead changes among seven drivers. Biffle led the most laps (67).(ThatsRacin.com)
See results at ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com, MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(3-7-2004)
- Busch on the pole: #5-Kyle Busch won his first career Busch Series pole at Darlington Raceway for the Diamond Hill Plywood Co. 200 with a speed of 168.619mph. The rest of the top five are: #38-Kasey Kahne, #23-Kenny Wallace, #60-Greg Biffle Ford abd #00-Jason Leffler. Missing the race were #94-Eddie Beahr and #84-Norm Benning.
Motorsports One, BGNRacing.com, ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(3-19-2004)
- Yeley finds the wall: Busch Series rookie J.J. Yeley created some extra work for the body shop at Joe Gibbs Racing when he brushed the Turn 2 wall at TMS with the right side of his #18 Chevrolet. “There’s a bump right in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2, and as the car bottomed out it moved me up the racetrack,” Yeley said. “There’s just so many marbles [rubber chunks] up there, and once I got up there it seemed like an eternity before I hit the wall.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-17-2004)
- #38 names crew chief: Akins Motorsports has named Jamie Jones to be the crew chief for the team’s #38 Dodge for Kasey Kahne in the Busch Series. Jones, 43, has been the shock specialist for the team, which had been operating without a crew chief.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-15-2004)
- Labonte Racing hires GM: Fred Turza finds himself an architect for a stock-car racing organization affiliated with one of the sport’s well-known families….one looking to become a major player at the national level. Turza has taken a big step upward in his association with Justin Labonte, son of NASCAR legend Terry Labonte. The Pottstown [PA] native was recently named general manager for the younger Labonte’s #44 Team Coast Guard Racing organization, which will compete in a limited number of Busch Series events this season in anticipation of running the full slate next year.(Pottstown Mercury)(3-12-2004)
- Bristol Testing: This week, a few Busch teams tested at Bristol Motor Speedway, including #27-Johnny Sauter, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, #8-Martin Truex Jr, #5-Kyle Busch and #00-Jason Leffler. Busch had something happen to his car and smacked the wall in Turns 1-2.(3-12-2004)
- Hytrol Conveyor Company to Sponsor the #20 Rockwell Automation/Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet: Rockwell Automation is proud to announce that Hytrol Conveyor Company will become an associate sponsor of the Rockwell Automation #20 NASCAR Busch Series entry for the 2004 season. The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy will again be piloted by Mike Bliss, a NASCAR veteran and 2002 Craftsman Truck Series Champion. Rockwell Automation offers unique NASCAR Busch Series sponsorship opportunities, supported by their internal sports marketing team, known as Matrix Sports Marketing. Since 2001, Rockwell Automation and Matrix have helped more than 40 companies develop and activate successful sports marketing initiatives. Hytrol joins Spectrum Controls, Triad Packaging and DVT Corporation as associate sponsors of the 2004 Rockwell Automation racing team at Joe Gibbs Racing. “The Matrix team continues to develop additional sponsorship partners, adding considerable value to our overall motorsports program,” added Lee.(Rockwell Automation PR)(3-11-2004)
- Lusk “Heads Up” St. Baldricks Event: When the NASCAR Busch Series returns to action next weekend at Darlington Raceway, one of its competitors is sure to be sporting a new look. BACE Motorsports driver Damon Lusk did not only remove his helmet during the off-weekend but his hair as well. Helping to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the St. Baldricks Celebration, an event to raise awareness for childhood cancer research, Lusk shaved his locks live in front of a national audience this morning on the ESPN2 program, Cold Pizza . The driver of the #74 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet joined over 3000 participants who have shaved their heads this year during the fundraiser that aids the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation (NCCF). Since its inception, the St. Baldricks event has raised over $3 million in support of life-saving research for childhood cancer. The event has grown to include participants in over 35 states and four countries. “I have to admit it was a little intimidating at first to have my head shaved,” admits Lusk. “Honestly though, all it took was hearing the many stories from the children this disease affects and those who raise funds for CureSearch and then it seemed that removing my hair was a non-issue, especially when it helps bring awareness to this cause and a smile to the children.” Donning the razor that removed Lusk’s hair was Amy Dilbeck, a childhood cancer survivor and current spokesperson for NCCF and the St. Baldricks Celebration. Dilbeck is no novice at shaving heads and will continue to bring awareness to St. Baldricks and to CureSearch this week as she shaves the head of world famous magician, David Blaine. Lusk will continue his partnership with the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation by running a CureSearch scheme on his #74 Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 27. The St. Baldrick’s Celebration continues nationwide throughout the month of March. Visit www.stbaldricks.org or call 1-800-458-6223 to participate by becoming a shavee or to make a donation to conquer childhood cancer.(PR)(3-11-2004)
- ppc Racing and Airplus: Airplus Insoles, a leading brand of insoles and devices from footcare expert Implus Footcare LLC, announced today its association with ppc Racing and the #22 Miller High Life Ford driven by Jason Keller.(ppc PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-11-2004)
- Bear Creek Country Kitchens and ppc Racing Agree To “Eat My Soup” Again In 2004: The slogan “Eat My Soup,” made synonymous by Bear Creek Country Kitchens will once again “bear” its colors on the #22 Miller High Life Ford Taurus in 2004 with driver Jason Keller. Bear Creek Country Kitchens, the makers of dried soup mixes and Freezies, is entering its third year of sponsorship with ppc Racing. The Heber City, Utah-based organization has introduced four new soup mixes during its two seasons with ppc Racing and is working on more this season. Returning in 2004 is the Traveling Soup Kitchen, a state-of-the-art kitchen with a surround sound system all on wheels. A hit with the race fans, the Traveling Soup Kitchen provides samples of Bear Creek Country Kitchen soup mixes all the while listening to their favorite music on four, 400-watt speakers. The Traveling Soup Kitchen will make select appearances throughout the 2004 NASCAR racing season, attracting race fans and Bear Creek Country Kitchen soup lovers alike.(ppc Racing PR)(3-11-2004)
- Harvick wins at Vegas; Lucky Dog Problem? #21-Kevin Harvick’s dramatic efforts to protect his lead from a furious charge by Kasey Kahne was just one of many wild moments during and following Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300. Kahne tried to pass Harvick exiting Turn 4 on the last of 200 laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Harvick blocked him on the bottom of the track to claim the NASCAR Busch Series victory by 0.119 seconds. It was the 12th series win for Harvick and first of the season. Harvick, who will not run the whole series schedule, remains the series points leader. #32-David Stremme finished third, #99-Michael Waltrip fourth and #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. completed the top five. The race was slowed four times by caution for 32 laps. There were 13 lead changes among nine drivers.
Lucky Dog? The wild ending provided just a taste of the drama surrounding Saturday’s race. When awarding a lap back to the first car not on the lead lap under caution, NASCAR has directed the car receiving the benefit to restart at the tail end of the longest line. During Saturday’s race, series director Brian DeHart said officials discovered there were instances where the car receiving the lap back should start at the tail end of the lead lap, so as not to gain an advantage or position. DeHart said they altered the positioning of the car the remainder of the race, which affected driver Stacy Compton, who twice received a lap back. The first time, Compton was sent first to the tail end of the longest line; the second he was sent to the tail end of the lead lap. His crew chief, Jeff Chandler, was arguing with NASCAR officials about the second instance when the race restarted. In an act of frustration, he stood on his pit box and directed obscene gestures toward the scoring tower. Chandler was summoned to the Busch Series hauler after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)
See results at ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com, MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(3-7-2004)
- Provisional Rules Changed: NASCAR announced a slight change in the provisional rules for the Busch Series, on the past, if a driver was in the top 35 of the Nextel Cup drivers points, they could not use a provisional [unless they were a past series champion], it was reported on XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio, that the rules was changed to the top 25 drivers in Cup points, cannot use a provisional. Kenny Wallace missed the race at Daytona in his #23 Stacker Chevy [but ran the race in the #91 Stanton Barrett car] because he finished the 2003 season in the top 35 in Cup driver points.(3-5-2004)
- Grubb Suspended UPDATE working to : Officials of NASCAR have suspended driver Kevin Grubb indefinitely for violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy. Grubb was in violation of 12-4-E (Violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) and 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2004 NASCAR Rule Book. The indefinite suspension will remain in effect until Grubb meets the terms and conditions set forth by NASCAR for future reinstatement. As part of those terms and conditions, NASCAR will require Grubb to attend counseling and undergo periodic random testing. “NASCAR has zero tolerance for any type of behavior that is in violation of our Substance Abuse Policy,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “We have a moral responsibility to protect the integrity of our sport.” To emphasize the importance of a substance-free sport, NASCAR, in 1988, created its Substance Abuse Policy. The policy provides for testing under reasonable suspicion, an approach that is well suited to NASCAR because of the close and continuing contact between its officials and competitors. Grubb, 25, most recently competed in the NASCAR Busch Series last season, where he made 25 starts and finished 19th in the series championship.(NASCAR PR) Grubb also was to run for Team Rensi in the #35 Ford in ten Busch races.(3-2-2004)
UPDATE: After being suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, Kevin Grubb said he is planning to seek treatment. “Right now, I’ve got to take care of myself,” the Mechanicsville native said yesterday. “I’ve got to get some counseling and get myself straight before worrying about anything else.” The 25-year-old said he hadn’t talked yet with NASCAR, which will set the terms for his possible reinstatement. As part of having the suspension lifted, Grubb will be required to attend counseling and undergo random testing. “You play with fire, you get burned sometimes,” he said. “I know the mistake I made, and I have to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-5-2004)
- Bliss wins pole at Las Vegas: #20-Mike Bliss broke the track qualifying record Friday with his lap at 171.238 mph to claim the pole for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (4:00pm/et, FX). It’s the first NASCAR Busch Series pole for Bliss, who finished 10th in points but without a pole or win last season. Bliss, who started the year with 30th and 13th-place finishes, said he was looking to get a jump-start on his season. “I let the team down the last two races and I told them I was going to make it up to them this weekend,” he said. #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. and #38-Kasey Kahne tied for the second-fastest speed (171.048 mph). Hamilton Jr. will get the second starting position by virtue of his higher finish in points last season. #8-Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and #00-Jason Leffler completed the top five. Kahne is using the same #38 Ford he drove to his first series win in last season’s season finale at Homestead. “I really like this track and I think we have a shot to win,” he said. “We’ve kind of started in a hole and this is a good place to get back on track.”(ThatsRacin.com), missing the race include: #50-David Starr and #74-Damon Lusk. #18-J.J. Yeley makes Busch debut starting 7th and #66-Billy ‘Catfish’ Parker starts 15th in the Rusty Wallace owned Duraflame Dodge.
For the lineups, see ThatsRacin.com, BGNRacing.com, MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com.(3-5-2004)
- To the back: #24-Mike Harmon’s [was to start 42nd] team changed engines, so he will have to start the Sam’s Town 300 from the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Saturday.(3-5-2004)
- Parker ready to debut for Rusty’s team at Vegas: Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will mark the first race for the newly-formed RWI Racing and its rookie driver, Billy Parker. Team owner and former NASCAR Champion, Rusty Wallace, is quite optimistic about the race. “This kid’s (Parker) going to be a good one, that’s for sure. He grew up working on race cars and really knows what’s going on with the car. The team came out here to test and just flew. They ran a 31.67 (seconds) in qualifying trim (170.508 MPH, the fastest unofficial lap in recent Busch Series testing at LVMS) and ran over 450 miles. The cars are fast and durable, Billy and Blake (Bainbridge, crew chief) are really getting along well and we’re set to light it up for Duraflame and all of our other great partners.”
For Parker, son of legendary fisherman Hank Parker, Sr., the Las Vegas race sets a new high-water mark for his career.
“All my life I’ve dreamed about getting to the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup Series. To able to do it with a legend like Rusty, an incredible leader like Barry Dodson and a great sponsor like Duraflame is like a dream come true for me. We’ve all worked so hard over the past year to get everything ready, the cars, the shop, everything…it’s definitely going to be fun to finally get behind the wheel of the Duraflame Dodge and do what we’re ready to do…race and win. First things first though, as a new team, we have no provisionals, so we all really have to work hard to make sure that we get qualified well; I’m confident in our team and I feel like we can do that.”
RWI Racing is not Rusty Wallace’s first stint as a Busch Series car owner. Wallace founded Wallace Racing in 1989 with brother Kenny as driver. Together, they earned two wins, five pole positions and 19 top-5 finishes, garnering Rookie of the Year honors in 1989 and a second-place points finish in 1991, the team’s final year of operation.
Said Wallace, “We had a great run with Kenny in the 80’s and 90’s. We won the pole for our very first race, it was Daytona-believe it or not, and really ran well. You know, we almost won the championship in 1991. There’s no reason that Billy can’t do just as well for us. All the parts and pieces are there; he’s going to be one heck of a driver.”
Saturday’s race will mark Billy Parker’s fourth career NASCAR Busch Series start. His previous Busch Series races are highlighted by a seventh place start at Memphis in 2000. Prior to 2004, Parker’s resume included starts in the NASCAR Busch Series, the American Speed Association, the United Auto Racing Association and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge.
Parker’s 2003 season was spent in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, NC. Against some of the toughest late model competition in the country, including Wallace’s youngest son, Stephen, Parker scored five wins and five poles in six starts, including sweeping a pair of twin 50 lap races on March 29. He led every lap en route to four of his five victories.
Notes of Interest: When the #66 was chosen for the Duraflame Dodge, it was no mere coincidence. The #66 has a long history with the Wallace family, as Rusty drove cars with the #66 to the majority of his over 200 feature race wins, including his 1983 ASA Championship. The number was revived when Wallace’s eldest son, Greg, used it on a Jack Ingram-owned late model at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 2001. Rusty Wallace and Billy Parker will appear together for an autograph session Thursday, March 4th at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The event runs from 5:30-7:00 local time and will be held in the Viva Las Vegas lounge. In addition, Parker will make a personal appearance at the NASCAR Café in Las Vegas, Thursday, March 4th at 8:00 PM local.
For more information on Billy Parker and RWI Racing, please visit the newly-created www.rwiracing.com. To learn more about RWI Racing’s primary sponsor, Duraflame, check out: www.duraflame.com.(PR)(3-3-2004)
- Lewis still looking: Thanks to the Advertise Here!!! decals, #46 Lewis Motorsports has received several sponsorship inquiries since the Daytona debut. However, Lewis Motorsports is still searching for primary and associate sponsors.(Lewsi Motorsports PR)(3-3-2004)
- NASCAR BUSCH SERIES NEWS & NOTES – LAS VEGAS
Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) is slated to make the 325th start of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Sam’s Town 300. In doing so, Keller will move past Dale Jarrett into sole possession of third place on the all-time list of most NASCAR Busch Series starts. Tommy Houston leads the pack with 417 races in the series to his credit, while Elton Sawyer is second with 392 starts. Both are retired. Keller made his first NASCAR Busch Series start April 27, 1991 at Lanier Raceway in Georgia, where he qualified eighth and finished 29th in the 30-car field due to an accident. Keller collected a whopping $575 for his efforts in that first race. Nearly 13 years later, with more than $8 million as the division’s all-time leading money winner, Keller is one of the series’ established stars. Keller can tie Houston atop the list of all-time starts in the 26th race of the 2006 season, and pass him in the 27th.
Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) has seven consecutive top-10 finishes at Las Vegas, and an average finish of sixth, in NASCAR’s top three divisions – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In his two NASCAR Busch Series races at the track, Hornaday was eighth in 2000 and ninth last year. Hornaday’s best finish at the track is a second in a 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race was the first for the division West of the Mississippi River. This season, seven of the series’ 34 races will be held West of the Mississippi, plus one at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Fast Facts
What: Sam’s Town 300 (Race No. 3 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
When: 1 p.m. PT, 4 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 6.
Track layout: 1.5-mile, banked, paved oval.
Race length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted awards: $1,438,367.
TV: FX, 3:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Joe Nemechek.
2003 polesitter: Stanton Barrett.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday—Practice, 9-11:15 a.m.; Qualifying, 1:30 p.m.; Final Practice, after conclusion of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-2-2004)
- Blaney/#31 to make 2004 Busch debut at Vegas: After Daytona Speedweek Dave Blaney is very excited about 2004. He is looking forward to working with Ted Marsh and the #31 Whelen guys again this year. 2003 was a successful beginning for them and they are anticipating more of it in 2004. About the changes in 2004 Blaney said: “The new Ford body will be a big improvement from last years model, combine that with Ilmore (Penske) engines we feel we have the full package, and expect to run well. Last year we were a little behind the eight ball with the ford body style. Near the end of the season we began to improve and it showed in our results. We know the body is much improved and with the new rules concerning the Ford we will be very competitive at all the tracks, but the intermediate low drag tracks is where you should see the most improvement. Las Vegas is the raciest track we run, it has 2 grooves and develops another one late in the race. LVMS is all about handling, motors are important too, but handling is what wins races. Tire’s are an unknown here, because of the changes NASCAR and Goodyear implemented with the softer tires. Las Vegas will be the first track to use the New Generation tire. Tire management will be critical since NASCAR limits the amount of tires you can use under cautions there will be several tire changes under green flag conditions. Pit crews who can get you in and out quickly will be a major advantage. Were looking forward to turning a good qualifying lap and racing well.” Ted Marsh said: “Were proud of our association with Dave Blaney and Whelen, they have been great to Marsh Racing and would love to put Dave in a position to give them a WIN! We had only minor changes in the scheduled 10 races we run this year Texas and Las Vegas were added and the spring Charlotte (Lowes) race and Michigan were eliminated. I am very proud of the team and its progress last year and I am happy to announce all the team is intact coming into the 2004 season.(Voight Motorsports Management PR)(3-2-2004)