Notes from Charlotte Tour 99-01-14

NASCAR raises Busch Series stakes By Shawn A. Akers CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 1999) Some notes and quotes from Thursday's stops on the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by UAW-GM Motorsports: NASCAR is proud of its Busch...

NASCAR raises Busch Series stakes By Shawn A. Akers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 1999) Some notes and quotes from Thursday's stops on the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by UAW-GM Motorsports:

NASCAR is proud of its Busch Series Grand National Division, and with good reason. One look at some impressive numbers will tell why:

In the last 10 years, attendance in the NASCAR Busch Series has risen an incredible 286 percent

Since 1995, the number of states the NASCAR Busch Series runs in has risen from 13 to 20

Last year, a total of 126 different drivers made a start in the NASCAR Busch Series

In 1998, there were 15 different winners and 24 different Bud Pole winners in the series, including 20 in a row to end the season

The point fund for the NASCAR Busch Series will more than double from 1998, with a total fund of $1.5 million that will be awarded

NASCAR unveiled its new logo and plans for the NASCAR Busch Series for the media in Homestead, Fla., back in November. On Thursday morning, it reiterated its enthusiasm for the series at the University Hilton during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by UAW-GM Motorsports.

"We feel like we have a genuine, quality product in the NASCAR Busch Series," said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's Director of Operations. "It's not necessarily the best kept secret in motorsports any more. I'm proud of those numbers (above). I firmly believe that's why attendance and TV ratings are up, and why Anheuser-Busch is excited about this campaign."

Joe Bessey recently announced his plans to field a NASCAR Winston Cup Series team in 1999, with Geoffrey Bodine as his driver and The Power Team as the team's sponsor. On Thursday during a press conference at Joe Bessey Racing, Bessey announced that he will run at least one NASCAR Winston Cup Series race himself this season.

A full-time driver in the NASCAR Busch Series, Bessey said that he will run a second car in the first NASCAR Winston Cup race, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

Bodine doesn't want to be referred to as Geoffrey from now on because he's a snob. The reasons are much more important and personal for the driver of the No. 60 Power Team Ford.

"My mother always use to call me Geoffrey, and that's why I changed it," Bodine said Thursday. "I used to be the only Geoff around, and I'm still the only one that spells it with a 'G'. But there are a couple of more in the series now. But again, my mother always called me that and some other members of my family, and that's why I want to be called Geoffrey."

Big Daddy's BBQ, which will sponsor Junie Donlavey's No. 90 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1999, will also sponsor Henderson Motorsports' entry in the NASCAR Busch Series for a full season, with 25-year-old Virginia native Kelly Denton behind the wheel.

Denton ran late model stock cars in Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas between 1991 and 1997, and has competed in select ARCA and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in recent years. He'll run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Busch Series next season.

"Obviously, I'm very excited about this whole deal coming together," Denton said. "Getting the chance to run the entire Busch Series schedule and compete for rookie of the year is great, and to do it with a great team like Henderson Motorsports and an emerging sponsor like Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce makes it better."

Denton's older brother, Ron, will serve as crew chief of the Henderson Motorsports car.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Geoffrey Bodine