2003 KROGER 200 NAMED THE TOP NASCAR NATIONWIDE RACE OF THE DECADE

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 29, 2009) O'Reilly Raceway Park has been honored for holding the top NASCAR Nationwide race of the decade according to a recent NASCAR news release. The official release sited that "the list of races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors, other longtime observers in the industry and from direct input from NASCAR fans."

The story continues that, "the top NASCAR Nationwide race of the decade was held at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis during the 2003 season. The race featured an intense battle between Brian Vickers and Shane Hmiel."

Vickers and Hmiel battling for over 40-laps often just inches apart but never caused the other to wreck. An exuberant Vickers said at the time in victory lane, "Shane is a good racer he was cutting me off, knifing down and doing what he had to do and racing me hard. I was rubbing him and pushing him up. It was an awesome race, I had a lot of fun, sitting here in victory lane ain't too bad."

At the time of the race Vickers was only 19 years-old, was in his 47th career Nationwide start and used the win to propel himself to the then Busch Series Championship.

Hmiel faded to a fourth place finish but Jason Keller who finished second said following the race, "that was as good as it gets. Short-track racing and I said a little while ago, if the fans don't like that race, they don't enjoy short-track racing. It doesn't get much more exciting than that."

Following the 2003 season the race was then called one of the best of the entire season.

"To be named the top NASCAR race of the decade is a tremendous honor as we have long known that the NASCAR races held at O'Reilly Raceway Park are often the best of the year," said Ron Anderson, general manager of O'Reilly Raceway Park. "This puts our event in the elite status of NASCAR races and we can't wait for the 2010 race to take place and once again thrill those in attendance."

This announcement comes on the heels of a NASCARmedia.com story that stated the 2009 Kroger 200 was one of the best races of the past season as Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch battled for the win. That story said "The race was the highlight of a spectacular stand-alone season on short tracks for the series."

Renewal letters for our season ticket holders have been sent and tickets for the general public will be on sale in January.

-source: orp