BUSCH: Preseason Thunder: Daytona day four report

Biffle Gunning For More Daytona Victories DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 20, 2004) - Greg Biffle returned to historic Daytona International Speedway during this month's Preseason Thunder with an extra bounce in his step. Biffle, who captured the...

Biffle Gunning For More Daytona Victories

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 20, 2004) - Greg Biffle returned to historic Daytona International Speedway during this month's Preseason Thunder with an extra bounce in his step.

Biffle, who captured the 2003 Pepsi 400 as a rookie, would like to return to Gatorade Victory Lane at the "World Center of Racing" in both the Hershey's Kisses 300 NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday Feb. 14 and the 46th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday Feb. 15.

The Roush Racing driver will be pulling double-duty by running a full schedule in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Busch Series.

Biffle admits to thinking about his Pepsi 400 victory when he returned to Daytona for his NEXTEL Cup Series test session.

"I didn't think about (the Pepsi 400 win) at all until I walked through the garage," Biffle said. "I parked the car, came through the tunnel and started walking to the garage. Then it dawned on me that the last time I was here I won. The last time I was here, I was in Victory Lane. So it was pretty exciting to think about that again."

Biffle, the 2002 Busch Series champion, says that both his NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series Roush Racing Fords have tested well and that he enters Speedweeks with high hopes.

"The Cup test went fairly decent down here, better than we've been past years," Biffle said. "This year we were better than we have ever been. Obviously it's the guys back at the shop doing harder work than everybody else or we're just getting more caught up, so that's exciting news.

"I've always run good here in a Busch car. I enjoy racing here in a Busch car, so I'm excited to be back and ready for the season to get going."

Fastest of the day: Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 00 Chevrolet, was the fastest on the day during the first day of testing for Busch Series teams that finished in the even-numbered positions of the 2003 owner's standings.

Leffler posted a speed of 179.662 mph followed by Kyle Busch (178.870), Robby Gordon (178.664), Paul Menard (178.373) and Ron Hornaday (178.267).

"Whether you're racing go-karts or Cup racing, winning at Daytona is special," Leffler said. "For us being a new team, to start the year off with a win is just incredible no matter where it's at. I mean it would be really special. Hopefully we can do that. There's a lot of work that lies ahead and just hopefully the rest of the Speedweeks goes as smooth as it did today."

Back In Busch, Part I: Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge, will run a full NASCAR Busch Series schedule for Phoenix Racing as well as selected NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, which will include the 46th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 15.

"I'm not sure about the whole deal yet," Benson said. "I've heard that I'm going to run the full season, but I haven't talked to James (Finch, owner) actually about the Busch car. We've talked about running eight races in a Cup car and then he said something about going to test in a Busch car so that's where we're at. I'm fairly confident we'll be in it all year."

Even though Benson has been participating in races at historic Daytona International Speedway since 1990s, he has attended the Daytona 500 a few times - as a driver.

"I'd never been to the (Daytona) 500 until 1996 when I was in it," Benson said. "I'd been coming down here for 20 years and I'd never been to the 500. I'd watch the Busch race and go home."

Benson, who captured the Busch Series championship in 1995, hopes for another title run in 2004 with Phoenix Racing.

"I hope we're competitive," Benson said. "They haven't run a full-time schedule in the Busch Series yet, just done a limited deal. I've only run two years in Busch. I've had good success in it. We finished sixth my rookie year in the points and I won the championship. So that's pretty neat for us.

"The goal obviously would be to come and try to run for the championship again. Whether that will be realistic or not we'll find out. You've got a lot of the Cup owners that own teams in this series, which makes it very competitive. (There's) a lot of things you've got to contend with."

Back In Busch, Part II: Mark Martin, the all-time winningest driver in the Busch Series with 45 victories, posted a fast lap of 177.326 mph in the No. 9 Roush Racing Ford, 10th fastest on the day.

Martin, who competes in the NEXTEL Cup Series driving the No. 6 Viagra Ford, is making a return to the Busch Series running select races in 2004, including the season-opening Hershey's Kisses 300 on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Testing open: All the test sessions during Preseason Thunder are free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.

Test speeds on Tuesday from NASCAR Busch Series testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 14 Hershey's Kisses 300: <pre> 1. Jason Leffler Chevrolet 179.662 mph 2. Kyle Busch Chevrolet 178.870 3. Robby Gordon Chevrolet 178.664 4. Paul Menard Chevrolet 178.373 5. Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 178.267 6. Justin Ashburn Chevrolet 178.246 7. Jason Keller Ford 178.003 8. Larry Hollenbeck Chevrolet 177.894 9. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 177.834 10. Mark Martin Ford 177.326 11. Tim Fedewa Chevrolet 177.294 12. Robby Gordon Chevrolet 177.106 13. Casey Atwood Chevrolet 176.984 14. Johnny Benson Dodge 176.981 15. Greg Biffle Ford 176.817 16. Ashton Lewis Chevrolet 176.724 17. Regan Smith Chevrolet 176.699 18. Stanton Barrett Pontiac 176.474 19. Paul Wolf Dodge 175.476 20. Larry Gunselman Chevrolet 174.917 21. Rick Markle Chevrolet 174.774 22. Gus Wasson Chevrolet 174.717 23. Kim Crosby Pontiac 174.642 24. Randy Briggs Chevrolet 174.253 25. Jason Schuler Chevrolet 174.223 26. Stan Boyd Ford 174.017 27. Robby Benton Ford 173.427 28. Stacy Compton Ford 173.424

Speedweeks 2004 tickets, including the Hershey's Kisses 300, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Casey Atwood , Stacy Compton , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Larry Gunselman , Larry Hollenbeck , Stanton Barrett , Jason Schuler , Paul Menard , Randy Briggs , Stan Boyd , Regan Smith , Justin Ashburn , Rick Markle , Ashton Lewis , Kim Crosby , Gus Wasson , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin , Robby Benton
Teams Phoenix Racing