BNS: Series notes 2003-04-11

WAVERLY, N.Y. (April 11, 2003) -- Many rule changes will take effect when the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series starts its new season on Sunday, April 27 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. Most of the new car specifications will not...

WAVERLY, N.Y. (April 11, 2003) -- Many rule changes will take effect when the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series starts its new season on Sunday, April 27 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. Most of the new car specifications will not be noticed by the fans in the grandstand, but one change in race procedure will be evident on the first caution flag of the new season. An important change in the point system will be noted as soon as the race results are posted.

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The technical rule changes are part of the process that brings the Busch North Series and Winston West Series under a common rule structure. The Busch North Series teams will adopt a 12-to-1 engine compression rule and a 3300 pound minimum weight, compared to the 9.5-to-1 compression ratio and 3100 pound weight rule which prevailed in 2002. The series' first Dodge Intrepid is expected to debut but otherwise the familiar Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ford Taurus, and Pontiac Grand Prix body shapes will remain, as the 2003 Winston Cup bodies are not approved for the Grand National Division.

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Instead of doubling up when the one-to-go sign is given, with lapped cars retaining their positions, the Winston Cup-style restart will prevail with all lead-lap cars in one line and lapped cars, if any, forming a second row on the inside. In the closing stages, lapped cars will be placed behind the lead lap cars as in the past, and the green-white-checker finish rule will remain in effect.

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The change in the point system could have a major impact on the Busch North Series championship battle. For the first time, bonus points will be awarded for lap leadership, just as in the Winston Cup Series and Busch Series. Any driver who leads a lap will receive five bonus points, with another five points to the driver who leads the most laps. Each five-point bonus is the equivalent of moving up at least one spot in the finishing order.

The bonus-point system opens up a wide range of possibilities. Technically, first place will now be worth 175 points instead of the previous 180, but since the winner always leads the last lap, a race winner can still count on a minimum 180-point reward. A race winner will be able to score 185 points for the first time, however, by leading the most laps. Perhaps most important as the title race goes down to the wire, a driver who leads the most laps but finishes out of the top 12 will earn more points than the driver who finishes three spots ahead but does not lead the race.

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Snow remaining on the grounds caused the cancellation of the scheduled Saturday, April 12 practice day at Lee USA Speedway. Busch North Series teams, as well as Lee USA's regular Dodge Weekly Racing Series competitors, will still be able to take advantage of the second Lee USA practice day next Saturday, April 19, prior to the Sunday, April 27 season opener.

-nascar-

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