With the 2004 season rapidly approaching, there are several changes in the pipeline, not only for NASCAR, but also for the Bill Davis Racing operation.

Scott Wimmer will compete for Rookie of the Year honours in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, under the tutelage of Frank Stoddard. The team got a jumpstart on the 2004 campaign after competing in the final four races of 2003, where Wimmer scored his first top ten finish in only his second start with the team.

The crew kicks off Daytona testing this week, with Wimmer behind the wheel for just one day, before heading off to Las Vegas to get married to long-time girlfriend Jody Ambrose. Dave Blaney will fill in for the final two days of testing.

Blaney will also test the #23 Cup entry at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 2004 Speedweeks. Discussions regarding sponsorship for the 2004 season are ongoing.

Kenny Wallace returns to the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 with Stacker 2 backing the #23 Chevrolet. Wallace has amassed ten poles, nine wins, 58 top-five and 131 top-ten finishes in his Busch Series career, and will return with the same Busch team that led Wimmer to victory lane five times in the last two seasons. Chris Rice will return as crew chief for the #23 team.

Bill Davis Racing has also expanded its operation to include two Craftsman Truck Series teams this season, with Shelby Howard and Bill Lester slated to drive.

Howard will compete in the #23 Toyota truck with Dave Fuge Jr as his crew chief. Howard began racing at age nine in a sprint car that was owned by his father, and competed in several different series between the ages of 10-15. In 2000, he became the youngest driver to win a feature event, breaking the record previously held by NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.

He ran five ARCA races in 2001 and quickly made the transition to heavier stock cars, scoring two top five finishes in those five races. In 2002, Howard ran the full schedule in ARCA and finished fifth in the final standings and then, in 2003, became the youngest driver to win a race in the series. He ended the season with three wins, ten top-five and twelve top-ten finishes and a career-high third in the standings.

Lester will drive the #22 entry with the experience of Jeff Hensley as his crew chief. He comes to the team with a BSc in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, and worked with Hewlett-Packard Company while competing on weekends in several divisions around the California area. Lester quit his job in the mid-80's to race full-time in the SCCA series.

He raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona four times and later made his way into the NASCAR community when he competed in a Busch race at Watkins Glen in 1999. He sporadically raced in the truck series until getting a full-time ride in 2002 with Bobby Hamilton Racing. He has since raced two full seasons, scoring his first pole in 2003
at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

This season, NASCAR welcomes a new title sponsor for its premier competition, as Nextel takes over from long-time supporter Winston, which bows out after supporting the series for over 30 years.

 

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