BUSCH: Trio set for Texas debuts

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 10, 2004) -- The April 3 O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway carries the ultimate importance for Clint Bowyer, Justin Labonte and David Starr. The talented trio is looking toward one of the...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 10, 2004) -- The April 3 O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway carries the ultimate importance for Clint Bowyer, Justin Labonte and David Starr. The talented trio is looking toward one of the most prestigious races of the Busch Series season to kick off their 2004 campaigns.

Bowyer will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut in the Reese's Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing, the 2003 Busch Series car owner champion. Justin Labonte, son of NEXTEL Cup star Terry, will unveil the Coast Guard Dodge owned by the Labonte family in the O'Reilly 300. Starr will seek to make his initial Busch Series start at Texas in the Team Enzyte Chevrolet following a disappointing weekend at Las Vegas.

Bowyer is splitting the Reese's Chevrolet driving duties this season with 2001 Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick. Harvick is currently on top of the series standings after the season's opening three races. But in addition to making his debut, the Kansas native has extra pressure for the O'Reilly 300.

"There are two bus loads of friends and fans coming to Texas to watch me race, 95 in all," said Bowyer. "My mom worked with a travel agent we know to set up the trip. Not only will a full grandstand of people be watching me, but so will many of my friends that have come to my races through the years.

"Our car felt great during the two days of testing we did here this week. I'm very confident that we will be ready to go come race time."

Justin Labonte will be joined by his uncle Bobby Labonte in the O'Reilly 300. The race will mark the Labonte family's return to the Busch Series and the Coast Guard's first major race sponsorship.

"It's going to be something that's really special to race at Texas," said Labonte. "We have a lot of people coming to the race. I can't wait to get out on the track. I feel that we have some great equipment for the team.

"We have so many friends and family here, it adds that much more to racing in Texas. It is my dad's favorite track. He has had some great runs here. It is going to be a good weekend.

"This won't be any different than any other race we have run in the past," continued the second-generation racer. "You go to every race expecting to run up front and be in contention to win the race. If you're not doing that, you have something wrong with you."

Starr and Team Enzyte will be seeking to rebound from their Las Vegas debut in which mechanical woes prevented the team from making the Sam's Town 300 starting lineup. Starr expects that to change at his home speedway.

"To get to come here and run my first Busch race at Texas Motor Speedway with Michael Holigan and our new sponsor, Enzyte, it's great," said Starr. "Everyone on the team is excited, the sponsor is excited. We really, really feel good about racing in the O'Reilly 300.

"We had a fast enough car to race at Vegas but had a gear problem that knocked us out of the starting field. We feel that we have something to prove and can't wait to come here and race.

"The crew has done a tremendous job. They have put in long, hard hours. After not qualifying at Vegas, it would mean a lot more to come here, qualify well and race well. I think we're up for the challenge and I'm looking forward to it personally."

The O'Reilly 300 will get the green flag at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 3. O'Reilly 300 tickets are still available as well as 2004 season tickets that provide the same frontstretch seat to six major races at "The Great American Speedway," including the April 4 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.

Tickets are on sale daily at the speedway, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations.

-tms-

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