Beating Around The Busch, Chapter Twenty-five, Dover
By: Thomas Chemris
Saturday morning practice was busy at the Monster Mile, At the request of the speedway, and the sanctioning body, Busch series competitors arrived a day late to the track, after concerns for hurricane Isabel canceled Friday activities.
Dover marked the first time that NASCAR put into action the new rules regarding passing under the yellow, Drivers, owners and crew chiefs met prior to the start of the Stacker 200 to review the new procedures.
For the first time in it's fifty plus year history, NASCAR will freeze the field at the time the caution flag is displayed. NASCAR scoring officials will then to award a lap to the highest scored competitor not on the lead lap.
In what will become a future trivia question, Tammy Jo Kirk was the first driver to be awarded a lap back under the new rules
In addition, new pit road rules mandate that passing on pit road can only occur on the right passing lane.
The long anticipated announcement that former Winston Cup Champion Rusty Wallace has entered the Busch series, as a team owner is now official
Wallace, who co-owns the Penske South team that fields Ryan Newman in the Cup series, will field the number sixty-six Duraflame Dodge in 2004.
Wallace has picked driver Billy Parker to wheel the car. Parker, who has two Busch series starts under his belt, has made a name for himself in the Late Model ranks at Hickory Motor Speedway.
"Although I never met Rusty until this year, he was a driver whose career I had always followed. This year, I raced against Rusty's son Stephen at Hickory speedway, and we became pretty friendly. One day Stephen asked me if I wanted to have lunch with his father. Next thing I know I am driving a Busch series car for Rusty Wallace", noted Parker.
Wallace, who is obviously thinking about a life after driving was aggressive in starting the team, and feels the opportunity in Busch, fits well with his long-term plans. " We feel this venture will enhance our partnerships with NASCAR, our sponsors, and our loyal fans. We approach this commitment in the same manner as our past achievements."
Wallace will field Parker for a seventeen races starting with the Sam's Town 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wallace's champion crew chief Barry Dodson will serve as team manager
In the world of the HBO show the Sopranos, the thought of anything to do with cement is normally related to shoes, but several cast members from the hit show got an up close look at the concrete high banks of Dover as they participated in pre-race festivities. Vince Curatola who plays wise guy Johnny Sack sang the National Anthem. The actors were guest of the races sponsor Stacker Two
Busch whacker Kevin Harvick continues his string of top ten finishes. Harvick is thirteen for thirteen; never finishing out of the top ten for all series starts in the 2004 season.
Driver Donny Neunenberger trades spaces with pilots from the Air National Guard 121st fighter squadron.
Neunenberger will drive members of the squadron at speed around the Monster Mile, in exchange for a ride in an F16 following the race weekend.
The 121st squadron provided the fly over for the start of the Stacker 200.