Daytona February race moves to nighttime

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla, (Sept. 16, 2003) -- Building on the popularity of exciting nighttime races, the fifth annual Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will run for the first time under the lights at historic Daytona ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla, (Sept. 16, 2003) -- Building on the popularity of exciting nighttime races, the fifth annual Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will run for the first time under the lights at historic Daytona International Speedway. The kickoff race for the Craftsman Truck Series will go green on Friday night, Feb. 13.

The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 is traditionally scheduled during Speedweeks on Friday during the daytime, two days before the most prestigious race on the NASCAR circuit and the most watched motorsports event - the Daytona 500.

The inaugural nighttime running of the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at the "World Center of Racing" will be televised live on SPEED Channel in prime time.

"Night racing has quickly become popular for both fans and competitors and we're looking forward to the trucks in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 putting on a fantastic show under the lights," Speedway President Robin Braig said.

"The Florida Dodge Dealers are excited for the opportunity for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers to showcase their skills under the lights at the world's most famous motorsports venue - Daytona International Speedway," said Tom Myers, President of the Gold Star Dodge Dealer Advertising Association. "We are enthusiastic that this move will create a thrilling race for both fans and drivers."

The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 becomes the second race during Speedweeks to move to nighttime in the last two years. During Speedweeks 2003, the Budweiser Shootout was moved to night and televised in prime time on FOX Sports, which registered its largest rating for a prime time motorsports event - a 5.5 rating, equal to almost six million households.

"For the trucks to be able to run under the lights, I think it brings a whole new dimension to the race," said Bill Lester, who drives the No. 8 Dodge for Bobby Hamilton Racing. "It's already our biggest race of the year and I think this is just going to add to the significance of it. It's going to be historic for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."

The 2003 Florida Dodge Dealers 250 continued to prove its one of the best shows of Speedweeks as Rick Crawford captured the victory in a three-wide photo finish with Travis Kvapil and Robert Pressley. The margin of victory was .027 seconds, the sixth closest finish in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history.

"I think all the fans in the United States and abroad have seen it," Crawford said. "It was a pretty neat deal. It's just like having a great token from somebody that you cherish forever. That victory will be in my career and my mind forever."

The Speedway lighting system was first utilized for stock cars in 1998 for the Pepsi 400. Besides the Pepsi 400 and the Budweiser Shootout, other races at the Speedway that are held under the lights include:

* The Winn-Dixie 250 Presented by PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series race (July 2, 2004)

* The Rolex 24 At Daytona (Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2004)

* Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race (July 1, 2004).

Tickets for the inaugural nighttime running of the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 and other Speedweeks 2004 events, including the Daytona 500, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Robert Pressley , Rick Crawford , Bill Lester , Travis Kvapil