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ARCA, IROC Get Rolling at DIS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 4, 2004) -- ARCA RE/MAX Series and Crown Royal IROC practice kicked off the stock car portion of Speedweeks 2004 on Wednesday at historic Daytona International Speedway.

2001 World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski and USAC champion J.J. Yeley practiced with Crown Royal IROC test drivers Jay and Jim Sauter, David Marcis, Andy Hillenburg and Dick Trickle.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series turned their first laps in preparation for Thursday's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying session at 1:30 p.m. The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday followed by the Budweiser Shootout at 8 p.m.

Ryan Hemphill, behind the wheel of the No. 77 Braun Racing Dodge, was fastest in the first ARCA practice session with a lap of 184.042 mph. Bobby Gerhart, an two-time winner of the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200, was fastest in the second session in the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet with a lap of 183.951 mph.

"It's an excellent start," Hemphill said. "The car is prepared well to come down here. We're working on some handling issues right now. The car is driving pretty good but we think we can get it a little better."

One driver to keep an eye on during Saturday's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 will be veteran Greg Sacks.

Sacks, the 1985 Pepsi 400 champion, posted a seventh-place finish in last year's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200. The team, owned by Bobby Jones, is back with the same chassis but has switched from Ford to Dodge.

The biggest change for the team is not so much the change in car makes, but the focus on the aerodynamics of the nose of the car.

"I think with the combination of great turn speed from last year and hopefully a better aero package and better straightaway speed this year, we'll be able to compete," said Sacks, who was 20th fastest in Wednesday's final practice session with a lap of 180.480. Having earned his lone NASCAR win at Daytona and being a resident of nearby Ormond Beach, Sacks is excited about competing at the "World Center of Racing."

"Two weeks ago, a friend asked me if I was getting excited and I said no," Sacks said. "A week ago they asked if I was excited I said no. Two days ago, I became excited. I spoke more and spoke faster. I'm excited to tell people about the changes and what we've been doing with the car. I get excited when I anticipate doing well and I'm excited now." Tickets for Speedweeks 2004 events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.


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