Off-season developments led to drama at every venue. At New Smyrna, there was the hope that the new ABC body rule would once again entice the traveling Late Model racer. There was the promise of business as usual when the NASCAR Tour Modifieds hit the track. At Volusia Speedway Park, it was the unveiling of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the DIRT Modifieds, now under the banner of Boundless Motorsports, making its annual appearance.

For fans at East Bay Raceway Park, the two Late Model series previously in action had now been merged under one banner (while remaining separate in terms of schedules and point standings for the upcoming season), but they were racing on Goodyear tires.

In Daytona, most of the series contesting the 2.5-mile oval had drama of their own. The Nextel Cup, complete with new name, new fuel, and new point system to be implemented, offered up some uncertainties as some teams were racing with single race sponsorship, if any. In the Craftsman Truck garage, there was a combination of expectation and anxiety about how the newly arrived Toyota teams would fare. It was reminiscent of the attitude when Dodge returned to the then Winston Cup ranks. The former NASCAR Goody's Dash cars are back, but they no longer function under the sanction or the name. In their remote pit area, the IPower cars, complete with their new look, set out to challenge their first event.

With all these changes, the racing still proved to be exciting. It set the stage for the year ahead.

With new show promoter, Moorea Marketing, at the helm, the annual Daytona Beach Motorsports Expo presented by Chevrolet witnessed increased attendance in its three-day run. The '04 attendance showed an 8 percent increase to over 20,000 attendees.

"We decided to refocus the show back to its roots, toward the Saturday night racer and race team," says Greg Nivens, president of Moorea Marketing. "It has obviously paid off for both our attendees and our exhibiting companies.

During the course of the show, a pair of racers each received $3,000 sponsorship deals. Thompson International Speedway Pro Stock driver Matt Zenisky of Holyoke, Massachusetts, was the first winner, with Kart racer Ray Tipton of McGaleysville, Virginia, winning the second drawing. Next year, the expo is expected to give away $20,000 to lucky winners.