Harrison believed the organization might have been able to keep Busch had it attracted a deep-pocketed sponsor. He said there was still plenty of interest from unemployed drivers looking to gamble that a nice finish on an underfunded team in 2012 could lead to a better ride in 2013.
DOVER MALAISE: About 90 minutes before the start of the race, Dover posted on Twitter, "Great seats still available at the gate!"
There were plenty of great seats — and some mostly empty sections — at the race won by Brad Keselowski.
Dover Motorsports president Denis McGlynn said tough economic times are keeping fans away from the Monster Mile. NASCAR still estimated the attendance at 85,000 and that seemed generous. Dover is trying to combat dwindling crowds by slicing the number of available seats.
Dover has reduced its seating capacity from 135,000 to 122,000 by widening the seats from 18 to 22 inches in several sections. The track will eliminate about 10,000 seats and the track expects to be set at 112,000 seats for next year's spring race.
"I'm not sure we'll ever get back to where we were at the end of the '90s and 2000," McGlynn said. "But we can get way further ahead than where we are today. I think the answer to whether we can get back to that real peak lies in whether we can get another (Dale) Earnhardt-like superstar to emerge. We lost our Tiger Woods when we lost Earnhardt. We have a lot of talented drivers, but nobody has risen up to stand out like he did."
B-DAWK: Brian Dawkins served as the grand marshal for the race hours before he had his No. 20 retired by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dawkins, a former safety who spent the first 13 of his 16 NFL years in Philadelphia, will become only the eighth Eagle to have his number retired.
The Eagles retired No. 20 during a ceremony in the headhouse area of Lincoln Financial Field prior to their Sunday night game against the Giants. Dawkins will also be honored at halftime, when he will address the crowd.
Dawkins was excited to mingle with NASCAR personnel and give the command for drivers to start their engines.
"I want to give them a little juice before they get going," he said.
Martin Truex Jr. had a Philadelphia Eagles paint scheme on helmet for the race.
LUG NUTS: Fans can visit NASCARAftertheLap.com to win an ultimate NASCAR experience that includes meeting Chase drivers Nov. 29 at Las Vegas. ... Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was at the race. He had some time to kill with the NHL in the midst of an ongoing lockout. "We want a fair deal with the owners and they're not willing to talk like that," he said. Hartnell hasn't decided if he'll play overseas.