Beating around the Busch, chapter 28 - Phoenix By: Thomas Chemris Harvick and RCR extend relationship with Hershey Foods. 2001 series champion Kevin Harvick, who has scored a remarkable seventeen top ten finishes in the last seventeen...
Beating around the Busch, chapter 28 - Phoenix
By: Thomas Chemris
Harvick and RCR extend relationship with Hershey Foods.
2001 series champion Kevin Harvick, who has scored a remarkable seventeen top ten finishes in the last seventeen starts will stay behind the wheel of the Richard Childress owned number twenty-one Chevrolet through 2004. Driving a split schedule with teammate Johnny Sauter, the two have combined to lock into the owner's championship for the 2003 season. Looking ahead to 2004, the team announced, Hershey Foods, who currently promotes it's Payday brand through the team will continue as primary sponsor, substituting Payday, with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
"Kevin Harvick and Reese's will continue the winning tradition of Richard Childress Racing in 2004," said Alex Corcoran, Marketing Manager, Reese's brand. "What could be better -- one of the best drivers in NASCAR and one of the best tasting candies of all time, Reese's peanut butter cups. We look forward to an exciting year with Kevin driving the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet during the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season."
The partnership of Harvick and Sauter will not continue in 2004, as Sauter has announced his move to Brewco Motorsports. Speculation that veteran Jason Keller will join the team has not been confirmed, but Keller has been acknowledging the possibility.
"Some of the things that have been discussed between me and some of the other owners, said Keller. Everything is not being told right now and there is a little bit of uncertainty at ppc. I don't know if I'd want to be a part-time racer, no, but there are some other things that could materialize and we'll just have to wait and see."
Brian Vickers, who lost the points lead following Atlanta noted that he prefers to be the "hunter", rather than the "hunted".
"I want to be able to track down the leader and not have to worry about what the other four guys behind me are doing. When it comes down to it, I don't want to be leading heading into Miami." Noted the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
Andy Petree announced that he will make a full time return to the series. Petree, who made a name for himself as a Crew Chief, and then Winston Cup Owner has been running a limited schedule due to sponsorship problems. He announced that he would field a full time Busch team in 2004 for driver Paul Menard. The team has aspiration of a series title and moving up to Cup by 2006.
Mike Wallace and Biaggi Brothers racing announced that primary sponsor Geico will return for a partial season in 2004.
David Stremme, who has only sixteen series starts in 2003 has passed full time driver Coy Gibbs in the Raybestos Rookie of the year competition. Stremme leads Gibbs by five points in the standings with two races remaining. Surprisingly, Stremme has no plans to drive the final race, handing the driving duties over to teammate Jamie McMurray.
"The biggest benefit to staying in the car is that the last three weeks that we've unloaded and been in the top-10 in practice, happy hour, and the race, said Stremme. We've either finished in the top-10 or we've had a little mistake that I've done or whatever. In all, I'm pretty happy with everything going on. We're just building on next year. Next week I'm going to run a car for Braun Racing, just to kind of stay in the seat. It's looks like at Homestead we're not going to put anything together. We've just got to keep gaining experience and look towards next year." Noted Stremme, who will run full time wit Finch racing in 2004.
General Motors pulls support from Pontiac brands.
Pontiac will go the way of Winston, Unocal, and North Wilkesboro as the auto manufacturer announced it will focus it's racing program with the Chevrolet models. This will have little impact on the Busch series. Brewco Motorsports is the only full time team running the Pontiac Grand Prix. Potentially, Pontiac may go out in style, as Brewco fields David Green who sits twenty-one points away from his second series championship.
Roush Racing and Pennzoil announced the formation of the Pennzoil Super Team.
Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, and Matt Kenseth will combine to run nine selected Busch series events for the Roush stable with Pennzoil on board as primary sponsor. Mark Martin, the most successful driver in Busch series history will lead the effort, taking to the track at the series opener in Daytona.
"Well, I can tell you that for me to come back into the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series means", said Martin. "I am confident that we can pick up where we left off -- as a highly competitive team that is capable of running up front and winning races. Pennzoil is part of that equation, Roush Racing is part of that equation, and I can assure you that I will do everything I can to hold up my end of that equation next year. I've been looking to come back to the Busch series and I'm excited to make that return with a great company like Pennzoil... I can't wait to get started."