BUSCH: Preseason Thunder: Daytona day three report

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fastest in Monday's rain-shortened Hershey's Kisses 300 testing. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 19, 2004) - NASCAR Busch Series teams got halfway through testing on Monday before rains returned to Daytona International Speedway to...

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fastest in Monday's rain-shortened Hershey's Kisses 300 testing.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 19, 2004) - NASCAR Busch Series teams got halfway through testing on Monday before rains returned to Daytona International Speedway to cut the session short.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver and co-owner of the No. 8 Chance 2 Chevrolet, posted the fastest speed on Monday with a lap of 181.036 mph. Earnhardt Jr. will be shooting for this third straight Hershey's Kisses 300 victory on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Rounding out the top five on Monday was Earnhardt Jr.'s teammate Martin Truex (180.346), Mike Wallace (180.191), Clint Bowyer (180.144) and David Green (179.458).

Joe Nemechek, who left after Sunday's second day of testing was rained out, posted the fastest speed among the teams that have participated in Busch Series testing with a lap 181.097.

On Tuesday, Busch Series teams that finished in the even-numbered positions in the 2003 owner's standings will move in for their two-day test session.

The rain showers have frustrated the teams that finished in the odd-numbered positions in the 2003 owner's standings.

"You save everything for the end of the test and now the weather has taken over," said Robert Pressley, driver of the No. 47 Ford. "It put the guys so far behind. They have an order of how they want to do everything. Now, here we are probably cut three or four hours short. You could stay down here all month and still not get everything done. When you lose three hours, that seems like a week."

Filling in: Clint Bowyer filled in on Monday for Kevin Harvick in the No. 21 Hershey's Kisses Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing.

Bowyer, who'll compete in a partial Busch Series schedule for Richard Childress Racing, says he'll compete in the Saturday, Feb. 7 Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race for Bobby Gerhart Racing.

"We got that deal done," Bowyer said. "We're going to be in one of Gerhart's cars with one of RCR's motors. I'm getting excited."

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.

Final FanFest: The next Preseason Thunder FanFest is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20 with NASCAR Busch Series drivers. Included in the $5 admission are fan forums that feature question and answer sessions between fans and drivers, DAYTONA USA's Pit Stop Challenge, show cars and a silent auction of autographed items. All of the proceeds from FanFest benefit the Brenners Children's Hospital (in Winston-Salem, N.C.), Speediatrics, Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Ladies Auxiliary of Stock Car Racing.

Drivers scheduled to appear for the Tuesday, Jan. 20 FanFest
6 p.m.: Jason Keller, Ashton Lewis Jr., Tim Fedewa, Casey Atwood, Stacy Compton
6:45 p.m.: Kenny Wallace, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jason Leffler, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch

Test speeds on Monday from NASCAR Busch Series testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 14 Hershey's Kisses 300: <pre> 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 181.036 2. Johnny Sauter Pontiac 180.814 3. Martin Truex Chevrolet 180.346 4. Mike Wallace Ford 180.191 5. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 180.144 6. C.W. Smith Chevrolet 179.896 7. David Green Pontiac 179.458 8. Robert Pressley Ford 179.286 9. David Streeme Dodge 178.632 10. Hermie Sadler Pontiac 177.732 11. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 175.987

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

-dis-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Mike Wallace , Robert Pressley , Casey Atwood , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Green , Hermie Sadler , Bobby Gerhart , Mike Harmon , Johnny Sauter , C.W. Smith , Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer , Ashton Lewis , Kyle Busch
Teams Richard Childress Racing