BUSCH: Homestead Friday Practice Notes

JIFFY LUBE MIAMI 300 NOTES THREE MORE INCIDENTS marred the opening round of practice for Sunday's Jiffy Lube Miami 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet), Joe Bessey (No. 6 Power ...

JIFFY LUBE MIAMI 300 NOTES

THREE MORE INCIDENTS marred the opening round of practice for Sunday's Jiffy Lube Miami 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet), Joe Bessey (No. 6 Power Team Chevrolet) and Roy "Buckshot" Jones (No. 00 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Pontiac).

While the three drivers emerged unscathed from their respective accidents, Earnhardt, Bessey and Jones were forced to switch to backup cars in order to take part in the final practice session before today's first round of qualifying.

With Earnhardt needing only to start Sunday's Jiffy Lube Miami 300 to clinch the NASCAR Busch Series championship, his team is taking no chances, with a third Chevrolet being brought from the team's shop in Mooresville, N.C., to Homestead just in case.

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IN A PRESS CONFERENCE held in the speedway's infield conference room, officials of Exxon announced that they would sponsor the HVP Motorsports team and former NASCAR Busch Series champion Chuck Bown for the next two seasons.

HVP Motorsports is a partnership between Jeff Hensley, owner of the Hensley Racing team; former television executive/broadcaster Pat Patterson; and Tim Vargo, president and COO of AutoZone Inc. In addition, Mac Martin, former owner of Martin Motorsports, has sold his equipment to HVP Motorsports and will remain with the team as a consultant.

"I can't be more pleased to be sitting here, because two months ago things looked pretty bleak for Hensley Racing," Hensley said. "They came to me with this deal three weeks ago, and it's been a dream come true ever since. The best part of the deal is getting Chuck back. No promises, but I think we can be competitive right off the bat. We've got some good equipment right now, and we've got some good equipment coming in. I can't promise you we can win, but we'll give it 110 percent. Hopefully, we can pull off some of the magic we had."

Bown, a native of Portland, Ore., had some of his greatest success as a race car driver with Hensley Racing. In a four-year span from 1989-93, Bown won 10 races and 16 pole positions, and posted 42 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes, as well as winning the Busch Series title in 1990.

"I'm glad to be here, no doubt about it," Bown said. "Jeff and I had a very good rapport, and I don't see why we can't take up where we left off. I left in 1994 to go to Winston Cup, and my career has been up and down since then for a variety of reasons. It's exciting for me to get back in the Busch Series. It's very fun and very competitive. I can't wait to get to Daytona Beach (for the '99 season opener at Daytona International Speedway)."

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Tim Vargo