The Battle Of Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. - With a tight points battle and NASCAR Winston Cup stars Tony Stewart and Jimmy Spencer joining them, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers are preparing for a fun ‘beat ‘em and bang ‘em’ show when they return to Richmond International Raceway on September 4, 2003 for the Virginia is for Lovers 200.

Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 62 The Orleans Dodge and currently eight points behind leader Travis Kvapil, loves returning to Richmond. "It is cool to race in Richmond. You have a hometown feeling when you come here. The crowd that Richmond is able to bring in is super. It is a night race and that is what people like to see is all the crashing and the sparks flying and that is what you get to see."

Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Graham for President Ford said, "Very seldom do we get to run a short track under the lights. I am sure there will be a full field and some big names like Tony Stewart out racing with us. And all the truck drivers have something to prove. One way or another we are out there to prove to someone that we are capable of getting the job done."

As the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Stewart isn’t out to prove anything, but to just to have fun. "We’re not worried about point standings or anything like that. This is an opportunity to go out and have a lot of fun. I just like the track."

The excitement for Stewart increases as he is joined by Artista Nashville super group Diamond Rio during the day. Diamond Rio will perform the National Anthem prior to the Virginia is for Lovers 200 where they will be featured on Stewart’s No. 33 Monaco Coach Corp truck.

Richmond is included among Stewart’s favorite tracks, "It typically is a very good two grove race track and it makes it a little easier to pass. Being able to run different lines around the track and find different levels of grip is something that has always made it fun. And even though it is a short track, you still have the ability to get somewhat away from each other."

NASCAR fans will get another chance to cheer their newest cult hero when Spencer steps into the No. 2 ASE/Carquest Dodge in the Virginia is for Lovers 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on Thursday, September 4 at Richmond International Raceway.

Spencer, who owns two NASCAR Busch Series wins at The Action Track along with a mound of recent controversy, will be making his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start. He will be joined in the race by 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart who will also battle points leader Travis Kvapil and contenders Brendan Gaughan, Ted Musgrave, Dennis Setzer and Rick Crawford, all who are within striking distance of the series lead.

Already one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR, Spencer has seen his popularity rise to a new level after his much-publicized encounter with longtime nemesis Kurt Busch. The two exchanged heated words after the race at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago that ended with "Mr. Excitement" allegedly landing blows to Busch's face. Spencer has since expressed remorse for the incident, but the fans have reacted strongly in support of him.

Spencer has always cited Richmond International Raceway as one of his favorite tracks. He swept both NASCAR Busch Series events in 2001, a feat matched only by Harry Gant (1991) and Mark Martin (1993).

Tickets are still available for the Virginia is for Lovers 200 by calling 804-345-RACE.

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