BUSCH: Daytona preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 5, 2003) -- The richest race purse in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition will be at stake when the green flag waves on the 45th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway. The ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 5, 2003) -- The richest race purse in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition will be at stake when the green flag waves on the 45th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.

The posted awards for this year's Daytona 500 are $13,816,240, an increase of $1.5 million from last year's posted awards. The posted awards for last year's Daytona 500, won by Ward Burton, were $12,314,505.

"The Daytona 500 is the most prestigious race in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and this year's competitors will be rewarded handsomely for their efforts," Speedway President Robin Braig said.

The driver that takes the checkered flag in the Daytona 500 will pocket a minimum of $1,352,080. The second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers will receive $949,550, $654,850, $503,175 and $375,075, respectively.

ARCA, IROC practice: The True Value IROC Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series turned practice laps on Wednesday at the Speedway in preparation for their events during Speedweeks.

The entry list for Saturday's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener stands at 65 teams. Qualifying for the race is slated for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with 40 starting positions available. The 41st position will be available to a past ARCA champion.

"It's great for the series and it's a good time to be third in the points last year," said Jason Jarrett, driver of the No. 67 Biomet-Damon RV Pontiac and son of three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett. "I don't expect us to have any problems (qualifying). We raced this car four times and the last finish on it was a fifth place.

"It's a good car. I would like to get a pole at Daytona. At the start of the year, everybody is pumped up. If you can get off to a good start here then it makes the rest of the year go a little bit easier."

Besides Jarrett, other notable drivers in the field include 1985 Pepsi 400 champion Greg Sacks, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Rick Carelli, female competitors Shawna Robinson and Deborah Renshaw, open-wheel star turned NASCAR rookie Christian Fittipaldi, four-time defending ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and two-time Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 winner Andy Hillenburg.

"I've won twice and sat on the pole," said Hillenburg, who is driving for Stan Hover Motorsports. "Hopefully, we can have a shot at both of those."

Fastest: Chase Montgomery, driver of the No. 27 Alice Cooper-Montgomery Racing Pontiac, was the fastest in practice on Wednesday with a speed of 184.862 mph. Montgomery won last year's pole for the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200.

Record start: If he qualifies, Mark Gibson, a native of Daytona Beach, can tie Bob Dotter for most Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 starts in Saturday's 200-mile race. Gibson is driving the No. 59 Williams Brothers Lumber Pontiac.

"Anytime you can tie Bob Dotter, a champion like that, in anything, it's a great moment," Gibson said. "I'm kind of stunned. I didn't realize that."

IROC practice: NASCAR Busch Series champion Greg Biffle and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss along with World of Outlaws competitors Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski participated in the IROC practice sessions. Assisting the drivers were Andy Hillenburg, Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Dave Marcis.

-dis-

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Series ARCA , IROC , NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ward Burton , Dale Jarrett , Shawna Robinson , Greg Biffle , Christian Fittipaldi , Frank Kimmel , Chase Montgomery , Andy Hillenburg , Dave Marcis , Jason Jarrett , Rick Carelli , Danny Lasoski , Jim Sauter , Steve Kinser , Mark Gibson , Mike Bliss , Deborah Renshaw , Greg Sacks
Teams Williams