Sophomore sensation Brian Vickers wheeled his way to the checkers for the third time this season, as he held off veteran Bobby Hamilton Jr to win the Stacker 200 at the Dover International Speedway.
Vickers, who has previously won at Indianapolis and Darlington, started the event third, after NASCAR set the field on owner's points in anticipation of potential problems stemming from hurricane Isabel.
With ominous whether looming for the region earlier in the week, NASCAR canceled Busch practice and qualifying for Friday, and requested that teams bring their haulers to the track twenty-four hours later than originally scheduled.
The decision to cancel Friday's track activities pushed many teams to the limit, as all competitors received there only on track practice just hours before the green flag dropped.
The limited practice time left little rubber on the track, and early indications where the teams where in for a long afternoon as the caution fell three time before lap sixteen, including for a multi-car incident on the front stretch where series points leaders David Green took contact from Scott Riggs, leaving Green to the series garage and Riggs to battle with Vickers for the win.
The field settled down for long green flag runs, and Vickers and Riggs engage in a strategy battle with Vickers taking the point after beating Riggs off pit road during a late race caution.
Riggs fell off after the restart giving Vickers what looked to be an easy ride to victory lane.
Vickers again was put in a position to fend of challenges as a lap 196 caution set the field for a green --white-checker finish.
Vickers held off a hard charging Bobby Hamilton to score the win.
"The boys got me out of the pits, they got me out first and gave us the race", said Vickers. "
Hamilton was content with his second place finish, and proud that he and Vickers raced clean.
"I got to him, and he is racing for a championship. As good as his car runs, I'm not going to just push him out of the way, he just beat us" said Hamilton.
By virtue of his win, Vickers now claims the top spot in the series points race, but notes that he would have rather had Green on track rather than in the garage.
"I really hated it for David, I wanted to race him for it, and I'm sure he feels the same way"
Green, who returned late in the race to finish thirty-first, was notably upset about the incident that cost him the points lead.
"I don't know what happened, I guess Scott Riggs pile-drived me. It makes me want to go out there and put the guy in the fence, but with all the rules, I guess I will be a gentleman".
Riggs, for his part stated the contact was not intentional.
"It was defiantly my fault, I got in the back of David there. He was struggling through the third corner, and I don't know if he checked up or just got a little loose and had to catch it but I got into the back of him." noted Riggs who finished third.
In a sign of family support, brother Jeff Green the 2001 series champion, who was also involved in the wreck, had less than kind words for Riggs.
"If that is the way he want to win a championship, let him wear that on his shoulders", noted Green who piloted the innovative Motorsports entry.
Finishing behind Vickers, Hamilton, and Riggs where Kasey Kahne and Mike Bliss to round out the top five.
New Jersey's Martin Truex Jr, running for his family owned team was impressive as he started thirty -second and by mid --point in the race worked his way to the top ten. Truex eventfully finished thirteenth.
Leaving Dover, Vickers takes the series points lead by thirty-two over Scott Riggs.
The change in the points standing marks the seventh time in fourteen races that the top spot has changed hands. The championship points battle remains the tightest in series history as one hundred six points separate the top five spots.
The series takes a week off before heading to Kansas City for the Mr. Good Cents 300.