Daytona Speedweeks 2004, part 5

Hershey's Kisses 300 Features Competitive Field DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 2, 2003) -- The 46th annual Hershey's Kisses 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, Feb. 14 at historic Daytona International Speedway will feature a who's who of...

Hershey's Kisses 300 Features Competitive Field

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 2, 2003) -- The 46th annual Hershey's Kisses 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, Feb. 14 at historic Daytona International Speedway will feature a who's who of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers mixing it up with the best from the Busch Series in a 120-lap, 300-mile race on Valentine's Day.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drives the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup Series, will once again moonlight in the Hershey's Kisses 300 as he searches for his third straight victory in the season-opening race.

In the most recent Busch Series race at Daytona - the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo in July - Earnhardt Jr. lead every lap in his No. 8 Chance 2 Chevrolet.

One driver who has yet to score a Busch Series victory at Daytona is Mark Martin, who drives the No. 6 Viagra Ford in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

After leaving the Busch Series in 2000 as the all-time winning driver with 45 victories, Martin will return in 2004 and compete in three races including the Hershey's Kisses 300.

"I never did manage to get a Busch Series win at Daytona, so we're going to be focused on that pretty hard," said Martin, a Daytona Beach resident.

Other NEXTEL Cup Series drivers expected to compete in the Hershey's Kisses 300 include two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, Joe Nemechek and Kevin Harvick, who'll wheel the No. 21 Hershey's Kisses Chevrolet.

Busch Series veterans who will battle for victory include David Green, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Kasey Kahne, Johnny Sauter, Stacy Compton, Kenny Wallace, Ron Hornaday and Jason Keller.

Hamilton Jr. doesn't mind the extra competition from the NEXTEL Cup Series drivers such as Earnhardt Jr. and Martin.

"It's definitely handful," Hamilton Jr. said. "To be the championship winning team that we need to be, you got to learn to beat everybody."

Said Kahne: "It just makes our team work that much harder."

Before the Hershey's Kisses 300 goes green on Valentine's Day, one lucky couple will exchange wedding vows. Hershey is sponsoring the "Tie The Knot At The Hershey's Kisses 300" promotion where a grand prize winning couple will get married prior to the start of the 300-mile race. Complete details about the contest can be found at www.herseyskisses.com

Tickets to the Hershey's Kisses 300 and other Speedweeks 2004 events are available on-line at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

-dis-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Green , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Mark Martin