Beating Around The Busch: Chapter Twenty-three, Darlington
By: Thomas Chemris

With the announcement that his PPC team will be losing its sponsor in 2004, Jason Keller prepares to mount a final charge for the elusive championship title.

"There is still a ton of racing left in the season," said Keller. "As a driver and a team we don't need to overanalyze the situation. We need to go out every week and do what we all know we are capable of accomplishing, and that's winning races."

Keller finished seventh at Darlington, and remains fourth is the championship standings.

Vickers continues to impress. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports Vickers has fifteen top ten finishes in twenty-five starts. In addition, Vickers is enjoying a nine-race string of qualifying in the top ten.

Busch was well prepared for Darlington. Proving that practice makes perfect, Kyle Busch tested for over three hundred miles in preparation for his Darlington debut.

Busch avoided one rite of initiation, a Darlington stripe.

"We kept the right side clean, which usually means you're not trying hard enough. But I think we were trying just as hard as we needed to for my first time there", said Busch.

The Winn Dixie 200 marked the first time in recent memory that Roush Racing did not have an entry in a Darlington Busch event. Roush drivers Mark Martin and Jeff Burton combined for twelve wins between 1992 and 2002.

Joey Clanton was named "rookie of the race" by virtue of his twenty-second place finish. Coy Gibbs maintains the lead in the rookie of the year competion, twenty- four points ahead of Clanton.

The Funai 250 at Richmond will mark the first time the Busch series competes at a facility with SAFER technology, (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) wall system. The barriers run continuously for 1,197 feet from turn one through turn two, and for another 1,197 feet starting again at turn three all the way through turn four. The walls are 40 inches high and contain steel tubes and 22" thick blocks of Styrofoam that are placed between the original wall and the new wall.

Televisions rating for the Food City 250 were the highest-rated NASCAR Busch Series race in Bristol's history. The race had an average of 1,707,000 households tuned in, a five percent increase from 2002, when the race also was on TNT. An average of 2,490,000 viewers watched the race.