EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Koolerz 300; Time and Date: 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, Feb. 15; Site: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. Live Coverage: Fox (television) and MRN (radio) at 1 p.m. EST. Qualifying: 2:40 p.m. EST, Wed. Feb. 12; Happy Hour: Friday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST.
TOTALLY NUTS ABOUT RACING - PayDay peanut caramel bar enters its first season as the primary sponsor of the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet. The No. 21 PayDay Chevy comes out of the Richard Childress Racing Busch stable. In addition to PayDay, a Hershey Foods Corp. brand, the No. 21 Chevy will also carry three other Hershey brands throughout the season: Zero, Whoppers and Whatchamacallit. PayDay Racing driver Kevin Harvick will compete in 15 of the 34 Busch Series events this season, beginning with the season-opening Koolerz 300. Fellow RCR driver Johnny Sauter will drive the No. 21 PayDay Chevy in the 19 other events on the schedule.
THE SPONSOR'S RACE - CareFree Koolerz gum, a Hershey brand, will be the title sponsor of the Koolerz 300. That being said, Daytona becomes that much more important to Harvick and the rest of the PayDay Racing team. Harvick expresses his thoughts on the Koolerz 300: "Every time we go there, we've been in contention to win it. I've had some good runs, and the RCR cars should be tough all day long. The Koolerz 300 is an important one for the No. 21 PayDay team so we can get the season started off right. It will be great if we can win this Hershey sponsored race with our Hershey sponsored car."
THE CHAMP IS BACK - Kevin Harvick is the 2001 Busch Series Champion, and Saturday's Koolerz 300 will mark his first trip back to Daytona in a Busch car since 2001. Harvick won't be the only Busch Series champion in the race. Four other Busch Series champions will join him.
HONORING OUR NATION'S HEROES - The morning of Feb. 1, 2003, was a morning that will forever impact our country and our hearts. The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia died tragically miles above the Earth returning home from a successful space mission. To honor the fallen heroes and their family members, all five of the RCR cars will carry a special logo on the roof of the car beside the driver's name in honor of that tragic day.
Car owner Richard Childress spent a week in Afghanistan visiting troops from the National Guard and Reserves. The trip was a NASCAR-themed event for morale boosting during this time of heightened tension. All five Richard Childress Racing teams will carry the logo of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) during NASCAR SpeedWeeks 2003 at Daytona International Speedway. The logos will be placed on the "C" posts of each car.
TV PANEL GUEST - As part of Hershey's growing involvement in racing, Hershey has offered its customers a chance to become part of the program as well. This week CVS Pharmacy will ride along on the No. 21 PayDay Chevy as the TV Panel sponsor for the Koolerz 300. Chris Bodine, Executive Vice-President of Merchandising and Advertising for CVS Pharmacy, will serve as the Grand Marshal for Saturday's Koolerz 300.
A shot at four victories?
Harvick's busy schedule also presents Harvick with a unique opportunity, a chance at four victories during Speedweeks. Harvick's race line-up includes: the Bud Shootout [Earnhardt Jr. won the race], Twin 125s, IROC, Busch and Winston Cup.
Kevin Harvick on Daytona:
"It's a track that rewards patience, which is a good reminder for us drivers, especially at the beginning of the season. You're so happy to be back racing after being out of the car for a few months, it's easy to get wound up, and that's when you put yourself in bad situations. It's a cliche, but you have to be around on the last lap to win. Daytona's really good at reminding you of that fact."
On the deciding factors:
"There are several deciding factors you've got to account for if you want to win at Daytona. You've got to have a good car and make the right decisions. Missing wrecks and good pit stops are a must. You've got to position yourself for the win with 15-20 laps to go to even have a shot at winning."
On being a Winston Cup driver in the Busch Series:
"It's a good advantage for Winston Cup drivers to compete in Busch races. It's a chance to get used to the track and find your rhythm. Every time you compete in the Busch race you can take that knowledge and transfer it to the Cup car. Overall, it just gives you more seat time and you learn more about the track. most importantly, it's a chance to win races."