BUSCH: Richmond II: Points battle closest ever

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (Sept. 2, 2003) -- With just one slip Friday night in Richmond, the chase for the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series driver's championship could be turned upside down. For those watching, that's exactly what's so exciting about...

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (Sept. 2, 2003) -- With just one slip Friday night in Richmond, the chase for the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series driver's championship could be turned upside down. For those watching, that's exactly what's so exciting about the closest battle in the division's history. For those participating in the showdown, it's not only a test of skill, but nerves and perseverance as well.

Scott Riggs (No. 10 Nestle Nesquick Ford) leads all comers, but by the slimmest of margins. David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) is just 19 points behind Riggs, with the rest of the top-five drivers a bit further back but still crammed tightly together. Brian Vickers (No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet) won the Aug. 30 Winn-Dixie 200 presented by PepsiCo at Darlington Raceway, to move to third in the standings. He's 67 points behind first place.

Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford) is 70 points down, with Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) rounding out the top five, and trailing Riggs by a mere 79 points. Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is in sixth place in the standings, 321 points down. Shane Hmiel (No. 48 Innovative Motorsports Chevrolet), Johnny Sauter (No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet/No. 43 Channellock Chevrolet), Scott Wimmer (No. 23 Stacker2 Chevrolet) and Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Ford) make up the rest of the top 10 in points.

Heading into Richmond, there are nine races to go in the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series season. At this point in the 1992 campaign, the year the championship came down to the smallest margin in the division's history, Joe Nemechek led Todd Bodine by 188 points. In the end, Nemechek edged Bobby Labonte by only three points in the season's final race at Hickory Motor Speedway.

For a closer look at the closest spreads at this point in the season between first and fifth place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, note the chart below:

<pre> Year Point Leader Pt. Spread 1st & 5th 2003 Scott Riggs 79 1989 Jack Ingram 128 1994 David Green * 217 1991 Kenny Wallace 229 1988 Tommy Ellis * 229 1985 Jack Ingram * 240 * Eventual champion

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Jason Keller , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , David Green , Scott Riggs , Shane Hmiel , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers