In what will be Jesel Motorsports' last race with GNC on the hood and quarter panels and possibly Hank Parker Jr's last race behind the wheel of the #36 Dodge Intrepid both team and driver are going all out for victory in Saturday's Busch Series season finale.

Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of Hank Parker Jr's favourite tracks on the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) circuit. It is the site of his NBS debut in November 1997. Starting 41st in a car fielded by Mark III Motorsports, Parker managed a 23rd-place finish in that race.

Two of his 27 NBS career top-10 finishes have come at Homestead, with his best finish at the facility a fourth-place result in November 1999. In that event, Parker led a number of laps before running out of fuel in the closing laps of the race.

"There's no better track, in my opinion, on the NASCAR circuit," said Parker Jr of the oft-criticised 1.5-mile oval. "I'm biased, though, because I've had some success here. I don't think a top-five or a shot at the win is out of the question. The place owes me one, I think. We led a lot of laps there in 1999 until we ran out of gas near the end of the race.

"I remember that Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. pushed me down pit road with his car to help me get to my pit stall. My dad was yelling at me on the radio. He thought I was holding Dale Jr. up by being in the way. I had to explain the situation to him. It got a little heated."

Parker Jr. and his No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team spent Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 28-29, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, testing in preparation for this weekend's Ford 300 NBS event.

"Everything about Homestead is the same, in terms of the track conditions and the tire Goodyear is providing us," crew chief Gary Cogswell said of the test. "The only difference is that we're using a Dodge instead of a Chevy this year. We were very pleased with the results of the test. We tried a lot of things that were away from normal for us, and a lot of it really seemed to work well.

"We tested when the weather was hot and the track was slick, which is really the kind of conditions you want. The new body we have on this chassis incorporates some of the things we've learned about the Dodge Intrepid throughout this season, so we feel like we've got some of the latest technology available to us on the track."

"I think Homestead is the nicest track we race at on the Busch circuit," continued Cogswell. "It's a very modern facility and the track surface is great. Plus, it doesn't hurt my feelings to go to South Florida in November, either. I think the way the backstretch is elevated it's got to be a great place to watch a race from the grandstands.

"I don't consider Homestead to be one of the 'cookie-cutter' 1.5-mile tracks like Kansas, Chicago, Kentucky, Atlanta and Charlotte. First, it's a true oval and secondly, it's very flat. It's a very forgiving track to drive.

"The speed is high enough that your aero package is important. You have to use a softer spring package, just because the flatness of the track doesn't give you much vertical downforce. The softer springs let the car sit down on the track more, which helps.

"I think you can kind of predict how races are going to play out at certain tracks, like Richmond, Pike's Peak, Las Vegas and here. At this track, it seems like you always see a caution come out before lap 40, then the next time you pit, it'll be under green flag conditions. I think that will be the case this time around."

The No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing team is bringing chassis No. 11 to Homestead-Miami Speedway. This will mark the sixth time this season the car will be used. This chassis made its first appearance of 2002 at Nazareth Speedway, where Parker finished 24th. Parker drove chassis No. 11 to an eighth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway in June, a 20th-place finish at The Milwaukee Mile in the same month, a 16th-place finish at Gateway International Raceway in July, and a 38th-place result at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP).

The car has not been seen on-track since being severely damaged in an accident at IRP that also involved Shane Hmiel and Kerry Earnhardt. The car's body had to be replaced after that incident.

This weekend will be filled with emotions for the #36 GNC team after GNC Live Well confirmed they would not return in 2003 despite being one of the most aggressive Busch Series sponsors over the past two years. That leaves team owner Wayne Jesel with little time to find sponsorship for both the #36 Dodge and the sister #66 machine of Series rookie Casey Mears and with several very tempting offers on the table, Parker Jr will most likely be moving on.

"It's very much up in the air as to what I'll be doing next season," Parker said of his 2003 plans. "I've been holding out for GNC to see what they're going to do. They've been a great sponsor. We've had a tremendous relationship with them, and I want to continue that relationship if possible. It's getting late, though, so I've got to start looking at other options. I don't care which series I'm racing in next year, as long as I'm in a situation where I'm competitive every week and capable of running up front. I'm definitely looking."

After making his Winston Cup debut earlier this month at the North Carolina Speedway with the #91 Ray Evernham owned Research and Development Dodge, a possible Evernham-affiliated ride in either Winston Cup or Busch Series is possible as is a potential Busch Series link up with 2002 Champion team Roush Racing.