DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Fords and Dodges spent the day trimming their spoilers, a last-minute boost before the Daytona 500.
Some wonder if it will even help Sunday in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
"No," Ford driver Ricky Rudd quickly snapped Friday when asked if a Taurus could win the race.
"If you're a race fan, save your money and go to Rockingham," he continued, referring to next week's race in North Carolina.
NASCAR allowed the Fords and Dodges to cut a quarter-inch off their rear spoilers in an effort give them a chance Sunday. The two makes have not been competitive since the track opened last week, and no Ford or Dodge led during any of the twin qualifying races on Sunday.
Tony Stewart won the first non-points event here in a Pontiac, and the Chevrolets of Jeff Gordon and Michael Waltrip won the two qualifying races.
Rudd, fourth in the opener, was the Ford with the top finish. Sterling Marlin, who finished sixth, was the top Dodge driver.
In the second race, John Andretti finished eighth in a Dodge, and Todd Bodine 11th in a Ford.
No one was happy with the changes, especially the opposition.
"We don't believe that the changes are warranted," said Doug Duchardt, NASCAR group manager for GM Racing. "There is no question that the Chevrolet and Pontiac teams, in general, have had a successful Speedweeks thus far, but they have not had it handed to them. They've earned it."
And the Dodge camp wasn't so sure the change would even help.
"It's too little, too late," said Dodge team owner Bill Davis, who put driver Ward Burton in the field but had Hut Stricklin fail to qualify. "We're still way behind. I'm not making excuses. We didn't bring one car down here fast enough to make the race. Shame on us.
"It just doesn't look like we can do it Sunday. We can't make progress up through the field."
So far, only the Pontiacs and Chevrolets have been able to do that. Stewart has been dominant all week, stretching it into the International Race of Champions on Friday by winning that series' opener.
He battled over the final few laps with open-wheel starts, surviving a bump from Sam Hornish Jr. of the Indy Racing League to win his second victory in the all-star series. Stewart beat Hornish by a car-length.
It was Stewart's second victory this week at Daytona. He also finished second in one of the qualifying races.
"Who'd have ever thought I'd be comfortable on a superspeedway, but I'm starting to really like this place," said Stewart, a former short track and IRL champion.
Scott Sharp of the IRL finished third, Jack Sprague of NASCAR's Truck Series was fourth, Al Unser Jr. of the IRL fifth and sprint car star Danny Lasoski sixth.
The other race of the day was in NASCAR's truck series, where Robert Pressley took the lead on a restart with two laps to go and held off Ted Musgrave to win the Dodge Dealers 250.
Pressley, who started 10th, powered his way to the front of the field. He led 10 times, for 50 of the 100 laps.
"It's just unbelievable," said Pressley, who'll start 31st in the Daytona 500 in a one-race deal with owner Mark Melling. "I never thought we could win the first race out."
Musgrave finished second, about a truck-length behind the winner. Youngster Brian Rose was a surprising third, followed by Joe Ruttman and Rick Carelli.
The top four finishers drove Dodges, while Carelli was in a Chevrolet owned by Winston Cup star Kevin Harvick.
The race was red-flagged with five laps left after a seven-truck wreck on the backstretch. Rose appeared to start the accident when he forced Scott Riggs high coming off Turn 2. Riggs and Lance Hooper made contact and hit Travis Kvapil, turning Kvapil head-on into the outside retaining wall.
After about a 15-minute delay, the race restarted on lap 98 with Carelli leading the pack and Terry Cook second.
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