NASCAR announces 2003 Busch North Series schedule; 18 races include first visit to Lake Erie Speedway; opener set for April 27 at Lee USA SpeedwaY.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 26, 2002) -- NASCAR has announced the 2003 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring schedule, an 18-event campaign that features the series' first visit to Lake Erie Speedway, a 3/8-mile oval in North East, Pa. Other traditional stops include the April 27 season opener at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway along with three races at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, two at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine and two events at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. The Busch North Series will once again conclude its year at Lime Rock Park, a 1.53-mile road course in Lakeville, Conn.

"The mixture of traditional Busch North Series tracks and the addition of Lake Erie Speedway is a compliment to the strength of this series," said Chris Boals, NASCAR's director of regional touring series. "We have proven, year after year, that the fans and sponsors at these tracks truly appreciate this series, and come back each year to see their favorite drivers."

A breakdown of the 2003 schedule shows 10 short tracks, two superspeedways and two road courses. Four events -- July 19 at NHIS, Aug. 9 at Watkins Glen, Sept. 13 at NHIS and Sept. 19 at Dover -- are held in conjunction with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The addition of Lake Erie stretches the series across eight states from Maine to Pennsylvania. SPEED Channel will continue to televise select Busch North Series events.

The regular-season schedule will be capped off with a special "all star" event combining the best drivers from the NASCAR Winston West Series and the Busch North Series. A date and location for this event has not been announced. Effective in 2003, the drivers in each series will compete under the same set of rules. The rules changes allow for Busch North Series drivers to compete at the 2003 Winston West season opener, February 1-2 in Phoenix, Ariz.