BUSCH: History made with team title

PayDay Team makes NASCAR history by winning 2003 Busch Series team title. ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Nov. 9) -- The goal of the PayDay team entering the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season was to win the Owners' Championship for Richard Childress. That goal...

PayDay Team makes NASCAR history by winning 2003 Busch Series team title.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Nov. 9) -- The goal of the PayDay team entering the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season was to win the Owners' Championship for Richard Childress. That goal was achieved, as the team clinched the 2003 Busch Series Owners' Championship at North Carolina Speedway. In doing so, the team etched its name in the NASCAR record book, becoming the first team in Busch Series history to win the team title with two drivers. Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter shared duties at the helm of the No. 21 car this season.

There is still one race left in the season, but the PayDay Racing team clinched the Owners' Championship Saturday by virtue of Harvick's 14th-place finish. Even if Pollex's driver, Scott Riggs, scores the maximum of 185 points in Miami, he cannot make up the difference.

"This was a goal we set at the beginning of the season for our Busch program at RCR, to win the Owners' Championship with two different drivers," Childress said. "Butch Hylton and the entire PayDay team worked very hard week in and week out to achieve this goal with Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter. The No. 21 team has been a top performer throughout the year, and are well deserving of this championship. I'm extremely happy for Hershey Foods and the PayDay brand. It's their first year as a primary sponsor with RCR, so to be able to win the Owners' Championship is an incredible accomplishment. We're really looking forward to celebrating our Owners' Championship in Homestead next week."

En route to its championship, the PayDay team garnered three wins, one each at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The team collected 16 top-five finishes and 23 top-10 finishes.

Richard Childress Racing (RCR) is known for producing championship-caliber teams, largely built by Childress and Dale Earnhardt, who won six NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championships for the organization. Childress became the first NASCAR team owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR's premier divisions: the Winston Cup Series, the Busch Series (2001) and the Craftsman Truck Series (1995).

RCR's Busch Series operation, which was established in 2000, has flourished. Its 2000 effort yielded a Rookie-of-the-Year title for Harvick. The 2001 squad earned the Busch Series Championship with Harvick at the wheel and gave Childress his first Busch Series Owners' Championship. The 2002 team was also a two-driver team, with Jeff Green and Johnny Sauter alternating time behind the wheel. That team earned three wins and the third-place ranking in the owners' standings.

Harvick has earned NASCAR championships in the Late Model division at Mesa Marin (Calif.) Speedway (1993), the Winston West Series (1995) and the Busch Series (2001). He also won the International Race of Champions (IROC) title in 2002, his rookie season in that exclusive series. The nine-time go-kart champion joined RCR in 2000.

Although Sauter began his racing career in his late teens, he already has an impressive resume. He won both the American Speed Association (ASA) Rookie-of-the-Year award and the ASA Championship in 2001, and he holds the record for most wins in a season (10). He also drove a handful of races for RCR's Busch Series team that year, and finished runner-up in the Busch Series Rookie-of-the-Year battle in 2002.

The PayDay team's success also comes from the crew, led by crew chief Butch Hylton. Hylton began his crew chief career in 1998, but quickly moved to the Winston Cup Series. He was the car chief of Bobby Labonte's 2000 Winston Cup Championship team. That expertise no doubt helped him lead the PayDay team to this title.

"This is such an awesome accomplishment for the guys that work on this car and work back at the shop," Hylton said. "Every week we've come out and have been competitive and run up front. We've got a great owner, drivers and crew, and we all had one goal at the beginning of the season, to win the Owners Championship. All the elements came together for us this year. The engine shop, the fab shop and all the guys that work on the No. 21 car are awesome. This was our goal at the beginning of the season, and I'm just so excited that we accomplished it. We've got a great sponsor with PayDay and Hershey Foods, they played a critical part in enabling us to try and win this championship with two different drivers. I can't wait to get to Homestead and try and put an exclamation point on the season with a win."

The members of the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Owners' Championship team also include: Chris Chase, Daniel Blizzard, Dan Deeringhoff, Dennis Gammons, Greg Dahl, Jake Lind, Jim Stugart, Karen McNew, Paul Flury, Phil Gould, P.J. Bryant, Ronald Jones, Steve Brown, Stephen Ellis and Will Lind.

-pr/rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Johnny Sauter
Teams Richard Childress Racing