While NASCAR officials worked with aerodynamic packages on the new 2004 body styles of 19 Busch Series teams at Talladega Superspeedway last week, several drivers expressed their excitement about changes to their teams for next season.

Coming off one of the most exhilarating NASCAR Busch Series seasons in history in 2003, where the title race went down to the wire, insiders reckon fans have much to look forward to in 2004.

"The Busch Series has so much potential," said Stacy Compton, who finished eleventh in the points race in 2003 with ST Motorsports, "There will be six to eight - maybe ten - quality teams competing in the Busch Series next year. This series has grown more in the past two years than it had in the six to eight years before that.

"I had an opportunity to go Winston Cup racing again in 2004 and opted to stay where I'm at. I just felt that the team I'm with, and the series we're in, is just a much better situation for me. This series put on great shows in 2003 and, with the increase in competition, it is proving it can stand alone at tracks too."

Compton, who drives the #59 Kingsford Chevrolet, has tasted success at Talladega and knows the fans always see a great show.

"Talladega always has the best Cup race, Busch race, ARCA race - it just doesn't matter," Compton insisted, "The fans always know they are going to see a great race when they come to Talladega. And the drivers know it's going to be a tough race to win. That's just the way it always is at Talladega."

Compton gets a team-mate next season, with the addition of former Winston Cup runner Robert Pressley and the #47 car. The ST Motorsport team has also switched to Ford.

"Having a team-mate like Robert, who came up the same way I did with Late Models, Cup, Busch and Trucks, should really help during testing and working on the set-up of the cars," Compton reckoned.

Ron Hornaday, who finished third in the Busch Series in 2003, was among the drivers testing at NASCAR's 'most competitive track'.

His team switched crew chiefs with Richard Childress Racing's other team, moving Butch Hylton to crew Hornaday's car. Hornaday's former crew chief, Ricky Viers, moved to the car shared by Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

"We were really consistent last year, better in points, had no major problems and that's what you have to do," Hornaday said, "Taking the Busch Series as a whole, I just see it getting better. This series put on some of the best races in 2003 and it's going to get even better, I think."

The NASCAR sanctioned two-day test for the Busch Series teams at Talladega ended on Thursday. Also on hand were Rick Crawford with Biagi Brothers Racing, Johnny Sauter with Richard Childress Racing, Randy Lajoie with Michael Waltrip Racing, Bobby Hamilton Jr with Team Rensi Motorsports, Mike Bliss with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch with Hendrick Motorsports, Jason Leffler with Haas CNC Racing, John Andretti and Martin Truex with Dale Earnhardt Inc, David Stremme with Phoenix Racing, Kenny Wallace with Bill Davis Racing, Joe Nemechek with NEMCO Motorsports, Brad Teague with MOY Racing, and Tim Fedewa and Casey Atwood with FitzBradshaw Racing.

 

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