April 2005 Busch Series Archive
- Truex Jr. wins at Talladega: after a rain soaked day at Talladega, Martin Truex Jr. won the for the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway, his 2nd in a row. The race was delayed a few hours but was able to finish the whole race and even go to a green-white-checkered finish. The rest of the top-5 were #47-Jon Wood, #14-David Stremme, #25-Ashton Lewis Jr. and #98-Kerry Earnhardt. Pole sitter #11-Paul Menard finished 27th and points leader #60-Carl Edwards finished 33rd and holds on to the points lead.
Race results at:
- Rusty to run Kentucky race: Rusty Wallace and his #64 Top Flite Golf car will swing into action with fellow NEXTEL Cup Series stars Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne when the Busch Series takes the green flag for “The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” at Kentucky Speedway on June 18 at 8:00pm/et. The full day of family entertainment will include a prerace concert with decorated country music artist Travis Tritt and an appearance by race grand marshal and Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the 2004 National Football League offensive rookie of the year. Biffle, Edwards, Kahne, Wallace and Waltrip will split time between Kentucky Speedway and the June 19 NEXTEL Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway)
AND A partnership between Bar-S Foods Company and RWI Racing has received the green flag. Bar-S will partner with the #64 Dodge race team to promote their lunchmeat, franks, sausage and bacon products. Bar-S will use the association with RWI to promote a consumer sweepstakes on-pack and in-store throughout the 2005 racing season.(RWI-Bar-S PR)(4-29-2005)
- Mears in the #38 at Talladega. Casey Mears will drive the #38 Great Clips Dodge at Talladega Superspeedway, Tyler Walker was scheduled to drive, but was not cleared by NASCAR to run Talladega. Kasey Kahne, who drives the car part-time, sharing with Walker, was not available as he is driving the #6 Hungry Drivers car in the Busch race.(4-29-2005)
- Busch and Johnson to run the #5 in a few races: Hendrick Motorsports has also engaged their driver shuffle. Rookie Blake Feese was supposed to drive the #5 Chevrolet at Talladega this weekend, but Nextel Cup rookie Kyle Busch is in the car instead. Hendrick representatives stress that the driver change has no bearing on the future, stating that the schedule was never 100% official. Although it’s subject to change, the schedule over the next five races has Busch in the #5 at Darlington and Lowe’s, while Jimmie Johnson will fill in at Richmond and Dover. Feese is expected back for the June race at Nashvillle.(BGNRacing.com)(4-28-2005)
- Fisher and Moore to run some Busch races in 2005: Sarah Fisher and Ryan Moore know they will compete in the Busch Series this year, but they can’t say exactly when. Fisher has run only a few stock car races [so far] driving for Bill McAnally and hopes to run two Busch events later this year. Moore plans on running the entire Busch North schedule in addition to five Busch events. DEI Vice President Richie Gilmore said he hopes the first race [for Moore] will be Richmond in September. Moore was scheduled to test with Paul Menard April 25 in Lakeland (FL). If his tests and races go well, he could replace Martin Truex, Jr. in the Chance 2 car next season. Fisher willl drive for Richard Childress Racing [in Busch]. (NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(4-28-2005)
- Menard wins pole at Talladega: #11-Paul Menard won the pole for the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 184.023mph, his second career NASCAR Busch Series pole. He scored his first in the #11 Menards DEI car at Kansas Speedway last fall. Rounding out the top-five are: #87-Joe Nemechek, #20-Denny Hamlin, #8-Martin Truex Jr. and #2-Clint Bowyer. Missing the race were: #7-Greg Sacks, #4-Ryan Hemphill, #72-Geoffrey Bodine, #52-Donnie Neuenberger.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: Talladega
Six of the last seven NASCAR Busch Series races – discounting Bristol’s .533-mile track – have been contested at venues where the distance averages nearly 1.4 miles. But ‘’average” will hardly be the catch word this weekend when series’ drivers compete on NASCAR’s largest track – the 2.66-mile tri-oval at Talladega Superspeedway. There have been eight different winners in the season’s first nine races, while seven different drivers have claimed Busch Poles. But at Talladega, there is one constant: Joe Nemechek (#87 Cellular One Chevrolet).
The 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion who owns his NEMCO Motorsports team holds nearly every series performance record at Talladega. He is the only driver with more than one victory (two), has five poles, six top fives and seven top 10s in 13 starts. And although four different drivers have posted victories since his last win in 2000, Nemechek finished second in 2003 and 10th last year. Accidents relegated him to 39th and 34th-place finishes in 2001 and ’02, respectively. “When we’ve stayed out of trouble, we’ve been there in the end,” Nemechek said. “Then you look at [our recent] finishes, you know we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’ve put in a lot of hard work on our superspeedway program and I think that’s why we run well, because we pay attention to all the details. We don’t just focus on one area, we focus on everything.”
Prime time for Truex at Talladega … Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) is the defending race winner at Talladega, having defeated his Chance 2 Motorsports owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., one year ago. The race was Truex’s first at the venue, and further enhanced his career performance on NASCAR’s restrictor-plate tracks. In four races at Talladega and Daytona, Truex has a win, a pole and three top-five finishes.
This race could be the turnaround event in Truex’s season. Last week at Phoenix, he posted his first top-10 finish since his win at Mexico City seven races ago to move to fifth place in the point standings, 18 points out of fourth.
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Edwards, Bowyer putting squeeze on Sorenson … Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) was able to put 70 points between his first-place ranking in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings and that of second-place Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) following Edwards’ eighth-place finish at Phoenix. Sorenson, meanwhile, posted not only his worst finish of the season – 32nd – but the worst finish of his 14-race NASCAR Busch Series career. Edwards enters Talladega with a 1418 – 1262 lead over fellow Raybestos Rookie Sorenson, who saw his lead over third-place Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet) dwindle from 90 points before Phoenix to 33 heading into Talladega. Kenny Wallace (#22 Stacker 2 Ford) continues his resurgent season and stands in fourth place for the second consecutive week, but Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockewell Automation Chevrolet), who are in fifth and sixth, respectively with 1070 points, are closing quickly. In fact, the separation between Wallace (1088) and ninth-place Greg Biffle (#66 Duraflame Ford), last week’s winner, is 84 points. David Stremme (#14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) rounds out the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 with 984 points.
Garage closing opens other activities … For the second – and final – time this season, the NASCAR Busch Series garage will be closed on Friday following practice and qualifying on Thursday prior to Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 at Talladega. Two weeks ago at Texas, the new impound rule resulted in the same off-day for the NASCAR Busch Series as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars were not impounded following qualifying.
Kasey Kahne and Tyler Walker, who share time in the #38 Great Clips Dodge, will be among those drivers who will participate in the 20th annual “Race Fever” auction and barbeque Friday evening benefiting the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Brian Vickers – the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion – and Kyle Busch, who will drive the #5 Lowe’s Chevrolet in Saturday’s race, will also be in attendance. … Many teams are planning to use the day for a round of golf, including the #20 Rockwell Automation crew. Driver Denny Hamlin grudgingly played his first-ever round during the similar off-day at Texas, but enjoyed the experience so much he was the organizer of Friday’s outing. … Shane Hmiel’s #32 WINFuel Chevrolet team is heading back to Mooresville, N.C., following qualifying on Thursday and will return to the track Saturday morning. Hmiel, however, has various media appearances and activities planned on Friday, including a visit to Race Fever. … After his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying run Friday, Kenny Wallace is looking forward to participating on the Talladega Short Track in his dirt car, “The Herminator.” He will also run on the dirt Saturday night.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Joe Nemechek led nine races and 191 laps in NASCAR Busch Series competition at Talladega. He has also collected three poles in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at the track. … Defending champion Martin Truex Jr. is joined by Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) as former race winners in the field. Keller won in 2002. … Clint Bowyer and Johnny Sauter (#1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) join Nemechek as former pole winners in the field. Bowyer sat on the pole at this event last year while Sauter claimed the top spot in 2002. It was the first NASCAR Busch Series pole for both drivers. … Stacy Compton (#59 Kingsford/Bush’s Baked Beans Ford) has two poles at Talladega (both in 2001), however, they were won in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. … Nemechek is the only driver to have won from the pole at Talladega (1998).
The victory at Phoenix by 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion Greg Biffle pushed Ford back into the lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings for the first time in four races. Ford has four wins and 62 points while Chevrolet has three wins and 57 points. Dodge has two victories and 52 points. … Tony Stewart (#33 Mr. Clean AutoDry Pro Series Chevrolet), who won his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona in February, is entered at Talladega and will attempt to go two-for-two at restrictor plate tracks this season. … Reed Sorenson finished second last year in an ARCA race at Talladega, his only start at the track. However, Sorenson’s crew chief, Brian Pattie, claims five of his 17 NASCAR Busch Series wins and eight of his 16 Busch Poles at restrictor plate tracks. … Kasey Kahne (#6 Ragu Dodge) will show off his grilling skills at 8:30 a.m. Friday as part of an interactive cooking demonstration at the Hungry Drivers display area at Talladega. … Elliott Sadler (#90 CitiFinancial Ford) announced he will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race under the lights at Richmond, his home track, on May 13. Sadler is from Emporia, Va. … Chuck Meyers will serve as crew chief this weekend at Talladega for the #1 Yellow Transportation Dodge team, while Joe Shear Jr. serves the first race of his four-race suspension. … Martin Truex Jr., Johnny Sauter, Carl Edwards, Kenny Wallace and Stanton Barrett (#36 KC Masterpiece Chevrolet) will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Talladega.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Talladega Superspeedway has hosted 13 NASCAR Busch Series events since 1992. Joe Nemechek is the only repeat winner having been victorious in 1998 and 2000.
Nemechek became the first driver to win this event from the Busch Pole with his 1998 victory. He led the first 21 laps before giving up the top position to veteran Dick Trickle, who led the most laps in the event. Nemechek took the lead again on Lap 102 and held it to Lap 113 for the win.
Nemechek’s second Talladega victory came in 2000 from deep in the starting field – 35th position. There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers, but Nemechek won the 10 bonus points for most laps led. He was followed to the checkered flag by Buckshot Jones, just .224 second behind.
Nemechek’s “Front Row Joe” nickname truly applies at Talladega. He has won a record five poles at Talladega, including three in succession from 1996-98. His pole run of 193.517 mph in 1997 still stands as the qualifying record for this event.
What: Aaron’s 312 (Race #10 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.
When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 30.
Track Layout: 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Race Length: 312 miles/117 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,242,395.
TV: FOX, 2 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
2004 Polesitter: Clint Bowyer.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thur., April 28: Practice – 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Qualifying – 4:05 p.m. Cars impounded after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(4-28-2005)
- Burton in for Miller at Darlington: There’s been a slight adjustment in who’s filling the seat of the #21 over the coming weeks. Brandon Miller was supposed to drive the car next weekend at Darlington, but now Jeff Burton will take over. Kevin Harvick will then hop in for the next three races, as scheduled. Miller is set to return for the June 11 race at Nashville.(BGNRacing.com)(4-28-2005)
- Sad News: Our condolences to NASCAR driver Regan Smith and his family over the loss of his grandfather, George Kranze. Donations can be made to the Cato (NY) Volunteer Fire Department (PO Box 252, Cato NY 13033) or the Fingerlakes Hospice in Auburn, New York on behalf of the family.(BGNRacing.com)(4-28-2005)
- Newman to run a limited Busch Series Schedule: #12-Ryan Newman will drive a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule this year, beginning in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, team President Don Miller announced Tuesday. “When this opportunity presented itself, we felt we couldn’t afford to turn it down,” Miller said. “It will be interesting to see Ryan competing in the Busch Series again.” Chief Engineer Roy McCauley will oversee the Busch Series program and serve as Newman’s crew chief on that circuit. The Busch Series crew will be comprised of personnel who worked with McCauley last fall on Penske Racing South’s #06 Dodge that was driven by Travis Kvapil and Chad Blount. Penske Racing South’s entry in the Busch Series will carry #39, which was the number used by Newman when he raced Midgets in USAC. Sponsorship for the Dodge will be announced at a later date. In addition to the May 28 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Newman’s tentative Busch schedule includes: Chicago, July 9; Watkins Glen, Aug. 13; Michigan, Aug. 20; Bristol, Aug. 26; Richmond, Sept. 9; Dover, Sept. 24; Charlotte, Oct. 14; and Texas, Nov. 5. This is Newman’s first venture into the Busch Series since 2001 when he competed in 15 events. That season he won the August Michigan race, produced two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, earned six poles and started on the outside of the front row on four occasions.(Penske Racing)(4-26-2005)
- Greg Sack’s in the #7 GIC Chevy at Talladega, Crosby?: Greg Sacks will drive the #7 GIC entry in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 at the Talladega Superspeedway. The event will be his first of the 2005 season. Sacks is the fourth driver in a rotation that has included Kim Crosby, Mark Green and Scott Gaylord at the wheel this season. A winner on both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series circuits, Sacks brings over 20 years of experience to the team. He has been regarded as a superb restrictor plate racer. His first victory in the Nextel Cup series came in 1985 in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. A year later he earned a Busch Series win at Talladega. “Greg has proven to be a solid driver on the bigger tracks like Daytona and Talladega,” said team owner James Whitener. “This week we are going to turn to him for assistance. We will continue to rotate drivers based on their level of experience at each track. We have been encouraged by the results we have seen so far.” Co-primary sponsorship this weekend is provided by Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and Golden Flake Snacks.(PSE-3), so much for the announcement below that Kim Crosby would be back in the car at Talladega.(4-26-2005)
- All Three Wallace’s to race at Gateway: Mike Wallace will join his brothers #64-Rusty and #22-Kenny in the NASCAR Busch Series Race at Gateway International Raceway on July 30th, 2005, driving the #6 Evernham Motorsports Dodge.(Motorsports Lounge PR)(4-26-2005)
- #1 Busch Team Appeal, Rejected and Fine INCREASED AND: The National Stock Car Racing Commission has not only rejected the appeal of car owner James Finch for an illegal carburetor found during post-race inspection at Texas, they slapped on an additional $25,000 fine. NASCAR had disqualified the #1 Dodge from the Busch Series race costing the team 125-points for finishing 14th and $28,000 in prize money. Also, Crew Chief Joe Shear Jr. was suspended until May 18th.
Commenting on the decision, Finch told PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show Monday night; “It’s pretty consistent with me. The last time I appealed one it was several years ago and it was a $5,000 fine and when it was over they made it 10.”
Finch’s main bone of contention is that NASCAR hands down the penalties AND hears appeals. “The racing is great, it always has been, I’m just saying that they need to give up part of the sport and let somebody else referee the rules. If they want to do this right, get an independent commission to make an independent hearing and make the ruling. It’s kind of like having a highway patrolman pull you over and tell you you’re speeding and you say…I don’t believe I am…and he says yes you are…and you say okay, I don’t believe you but I’m gonna sign the ticket. Then 30 minutes later you go to the courthouse and he’s the judge. In the rule books it’s all minimum fines…they don’t have any maximum fines. In the NFL it’s five yards off sides for everybody every time. In NASCAR it’s according to who you are. In baseball it’s three strikes you’re out…NASCAR it’s according to who’s swingin’…just let ‘em keep swingin’.”(PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons)(4-25-2005)
UPDATE – NASCAR’s Announcement: On April 25, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of James Finch, Johnny Sauter and Joel Shear concerning three penalties assessed by NASCAR relative to the #1 car following the NASCAR Busch Series event at Texas Motor Speedway on April 16, 2005. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: unapproved carburetor.”
The penalties assessed were:
• Disqualification for car owner James Finch.
• Disqualification for driver Johnny Sauer.
• Suspension from NASCAR until May 18, 2005, suspension from the next four (4) NASCAR Busch Series races, and probation until December 31, 2005 for crew chief Joel Shear.
The Appellants contented that the carburetor had been previously presented to and approved by NASCAR Officials. The Appellants also contested the severity of the penalty.
In considering the appeal, the Commission noted the following:
The modifications to the carburetor represented an unequivocal and substantial violation of the rules. The onus is on the entrant to present a car that is legal at all times. The onus is not on NASCAR to detect every rules violation at every inspection. Parts or equipment on the racecar are not deemed to have been authorized or approved by reason of having passed through inspection at any time or any number of times unobserved or undetected.
Given the blatant nature of the infraction, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to:
• Uphold the original penalty against driver Johnny Sauter.
• Uphold the original penalty against crew chief Joel Shear.
• Increase the penalty against car owner James Finch to: Disqualification and a $25,000.00 fine.
The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(4-26-2005)
- Biffle wins at Phoenix: #66-Greg Biffle won the Bashas Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway after spinning on lap 8. It is Biffle’s 17th Busch Series win of his career [to go along with 5 Cup and 16 Turck wins]. The rest of the the top five were #90-Elliott Sadler, #14-David Stremme, #21-Kevin Harvick and #33-Tony Stewart. #60-Carl Edwards finished 8th and increased his points led over #41-Reed Sorenson who finished 32nd. There were 14 cautions for 67 laps
Race results at:
- Kahne wins pole at Phoenix: #6-Kasey Kahne won the pole for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 132.091mph. The rest of the top 10 were: #11-Menard, #33-Stewart, #18-Yeley, #60-Edwards, #20-Hamilin, #21-Harvick, #90-Sadler, #8-Truex Jr. and #1-Sauter. It is Kahne’s first Busch Series pole since Dover in Sept 2004. Missing the race are #4-Ryan Hemphill and #94-Derrike Cope.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
- Gaylord in the #7 at Phoenix, Crosby back at Talladega: GIC Racing team owners James Whitener and Gregg Mixon have chosen Scott Gaylord to pilot the #7 for Friday night’s running of the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway. Gaylord, a native of Lakewood, Colo., is a veteran in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. He entered the series in 1998 and since then has tallied 68 Top 10s and 29 Top 5s, including seven Top-10 finishes at Phoenix International Raceway. Last year at PIR, Gaylord added two Top-10 finishes to his resume, including a second-place finish in the November event. Gaylord has taken the green flag at PIR more than any other driver in the NGNW Series. He has competed in 10 stand-alone West Series events, and also in seven combination races with NASCAR’s premier series at PIR. Kim Crosby will return to the #7 Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Chevrolet for the Aaron’s 312 at the Talladega Superspeedway, scheduled for April 30.(PSE-3)(4-21-2005)
- NASCAR Official Fired over #1 Carb Problem: NASCAR, attempting to close the loops on the controversial disqualification of Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter at Texas [see that story below], Wednesday revealed that one of its inspectors has been fired as a result of the matter. Although NASCAR had no comment on the details, the Charlotte Observer reports that the inspector was released after an investigation into the case. The newspaper identified the inspector as Woody Neese. No more information was available.(Speed Channel)(4-21-2004)
- Elliott at Nashville: One of the most popular drivers in the history of NASCAR racing and 1988 NEXTEL Cup champion, Bill Elliott, will compete under the lights in the upcoming Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series event at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, June 11. Elliott will run in the Rusty Wallace Inc.-owned #64 Dodge and will be making his first appearance at a Nashville venue since the late 1980s at the old Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. This will be Elliott’s first appearance at the 1.33-mile concrete oval. For tickets please go to www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com or call 1-866-RACE-TIX.(Nashville Superspeedway)(4-20-2005)
- Hmeil/Braun Racing Drop Appeal: Todd Braun, owner of Braun Racing, and Shane Hmiel, driver of the #32 WINFUEL Chevrolet, have decided not to appeal the penalties assessed by NASCAR for the incident that occurred during the Sharpie 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday, April 4. “Although we do not agree with the way that everything has been handled in regards to the incident that occurred; we do understand the direction that NASCAR is trying to move and what they are trying to accomplish,” Todd Braun said Monday afternoon. “We have decided not to appeal the penalties that were assessed, but to instead move forward in representing WINFUEL and the NASCAR Busch series. Braun Racing looks forward to putting this incident behind us and going to Phoenix to win the race.” NASCAR fined Shane Hmiel $10,000 and docked him 25 driver points for making an obscene gesture that appeared on live television via Hmiel’s in car camera. Owner Todd Braun was also docked 25 owner points for the incident. “I apologize for making the gesture,” Hmiel said today. “I never intended for it to end up on television. We have decided to drop the appeal and move forward with our pursuit of the Busch Series Championship.”(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2005)
- Mallory tests the #7/#24: Blake Mallory tested for the #7 / 24 team Tuesday at Tuson. He could show up in the car at some point this season.(BGNRacing.com)(4-20-2005)
- Penalty coming? #1 UPDATE #1 and Sauter DQ’d, To APPEAL: Johnny Sauter’s #1 James Finch owned Dodge team finished 14th in Saturday’s O’Reilly 300 but may face penalties in the following days. Picked as the random car for post race inspection, Sauter’s Dodge caught the eyes of NASCAR officials. What the problem is exactly, is unclear at this time. “There are some issues with the #1 car that could result in a revision of the race results or could result in penalities for the #1 team. At this point the #1 car is still undergoing post race inspection,” said Busch Series Communications Manager Tracey Judd. The #1 car is being kept overnight for ongoing inspection. Vice President of Corporate Communications for NASCAR, Jim Hunter, will be on hand at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday to announce details of the infraction. The top three cars belonging to race winner Kasey Kahne, second place Greg Biffle and third place Reed Sorenson, all cleared the inspection process.(BGNRacing.com)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE – disqualified Sauter’s team has been hit with their first of what is expected to be a long string of penalties for having an illegal carburetor on the #1 Dodge. On Sunday the team’s 14th place finish was thrown out, along with their earned points and money. The rest of the finishers below the 14th position from Saturday’s race will jump a spot in the rundown. Other penalties varying from monetary to suspensions will be handed out later this week.(BGNRacing.com)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE 2 – Penalties: NASCAR announced Tuesday that Joe Shear Jr., crew chief of the #1 Dodge driven by Johnny Sauter in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been suspended until May 18 (the next four races beginning at Phoenix) and placed on probation until December 31, 2005 after rule violations Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Shear violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book due to an unapproved carburetor. The violations were determined following post-race inspection.(NASCAR PR)(4-19-2005)
UPDATE 3 to APPEAL: Moments after the penalty was handed down, Phoenix Racing owner James Finch told Claire B. Lang live on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that he would appeal: “We’re appealing the penalty as it came down for Joe. We’re also going to appeal the suspension in the race because NASCAR has a procedure to inspect these cars. They charge $900 per car in the Busch Series, and $2425 in the Cup Series, so NASCAR took in around $163,000 this weekend to inspect these cars. We gave them the carburetor–the specific carburetor in question–and asked them “Check this carburetor; we want to see if we can run this carburetor this weekend.” They did that. They checked it, they put it on the car, they put a seal on it, we went out and qualified, they impounded the car on Thursday afternoon. Saturday afternoon–late–they pulled the car and says “This is going to be a random check.” And they tore the motor down and they took the carburetor apart and said it was illegal, and it’s too big. I think it’s NASCAR’s mistake, it’s not my mistake.”(Claire B. Lang – XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-20-2005)
- Gilliland to make debut at Phoenix UPDATE: Reigning NASCAR Grand Nation Division, West Series Rookie of the Year, David Gilliland will make his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, April 22. With sponsorship help from Luke’s Transmission and RaceCarCeilingFans.com, Gilliland will pilot the #88 MRG Motorsports Chevrolet, built by Hendricks Motorsports in North Carolina. “I am really excited about this new venture,” says Gilliland, who qualified Robby Gordon’s Busch car in the Number 8 spot last year at Homestead, Florida. “We are definitely looking to move up next season and this is just the first step in being able to accomplish our goal. Our plan is to contest up to five events this season, plus run the entire NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series.(3-9-2005)
UPDATE: Planning to mount a charge to the front, not once but twice, David Gilliland and MRG Motorsports head for Phoenix International Raceway and the running of the Casino Arizona 150 and the Bashas’ Supermarket 200, April 21 and 22. “I am really excited about this weekend,” says Gilliland, who not only hopes to increase his point lead in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series, but intends to make his debut in the Busch Series. We’ve got a great car for the West Series and a great car for the Busch race, so I think we will be good to go. While this will be the first time that Gilliland will try to race in the Busch Series, it will not be his first foray into the series. In 2004 he qualified Robby Gordon’s car for him at Homestead, Fla., putting it in 8th place on the Grid. “We will be running our #88 RacecarCeilingFans.com Chevy in the West Series,” continues Gilliland and our number for the Busch Series will be #54, just like the Classic TV hit of the 60’s, “Car 54 Where Are You”. If we can be as big a hit as that show was, we will be in fine shape.” After two Rounds, Gilliland holds a 25 point lead in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and hopes to pad that even further this coming weekend.(PR)(4-20-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: Phoenix
The NASCAR Busch Series will add another note to its historical timeline Friday night. Realignment of the schedule has resulted in two races at Phoenix International Raceway beginning this season. The event will also be the first held under the lights in any of NASCAR’s three national series at the one-mile venue. A bit of personal history is on the line as well for Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet), who looks to make his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Phoenix. The 25-year-old native of Emporia, Kan., is also scheduled to attempt his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Phoenix on Saturday. Bowyer has been solidly entrenched in third place in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings for the last six races, and comes to the desert southwest 90 points behind second-place Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge). “I think everything has been going really well so far, considering this has been my first time seeing several of the tracks,” Bowyer said. “[Despite] the crew and me [being] so new working together, I think we’re right where we hoped and thought we would be. It’s going to be a busy week in Phoenix, but I think we can handle it,” he said. “I’m glad that I’ll have my normal NASCAR Busch Series crew working with me on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car. We’re already on the same page.”
That Bowyer is confident in his performance nine races into his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series should come as no surprise. In 17 starts last year sharing time with Kevin Harvick in the #21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet, he registered four top five and seven top-10 finishes, including his first Busch Pole at Talladega. He is also a product of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, having won the 2002 Midwest Region title. Harvick, Bowyer’s teammate with Richard Childress Racing, won the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series championship in the same #2 entry, while the ACDelco sponsorship was also carried by the last driver to win consecutive series titles – Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998-99. “Kevin has been as good a mentor as anybody in my career,” Bowyer said. “He speaks my language, and nine times out of 10 he has an answer. “It’s an honor to be in a car with so much history. I didn’t feel as much pressure getting into the car this year as I did last year in the 21 car for some reason. Everything has just clicked for us. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Green on brink of Top 10 … David Green (#27 Kleenex/Scott Brands Ford) has been fairly quiet during the first quarter of the season, but the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion appears primed to make his move toward a top-10 ranking in the point standings. Green led his first laps of the season (two) at Texas last Saturday en route to an 11th-place finish, his second-best result of the season; he finished 10th at Las Vegas in March. Green, who was 18th in the points following the race in Mexico City, enters Phoenix 44 points behind 10th-place Jon Wood (#47 Clorox/Wisk Ford). Meanwhile, only 20 points separate the drivers in positions eight through 10 – Shane Hmiel (#32 WINFuel Chevrolet) is eighth with 888 points; Kevin Harvick stands ninth with 875 and Wood, a Raybestos rookie, has 868. Only 46 points are between slots four through seven where Kenny Wallace (#22 Stacker 2 Ford) is fourth with 973 points, Ashton Lewis Jr. (#25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is fifth with 935, rookie Denny Hamlin (#29 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) is sixth also with 935 while reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) is seventh with 927. As previously noted, third-place Clint Bowyer trails Reed Sorenson, another rookie, by 90 points while Sorenson has closed the gap a bit on leader Carl Edwards (#60 World Financial Group Ford), trailing by 76 points entering Phoenix. Yeley back home in Phoenix … What better place to turn a season around than at your home track? Phoenix native J.J. Yeley (#18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) has been a consistent starter – five of his eight starts this year have been in the top 10 with two on the outside pole – but his finishes haven’t been what the 28-year-old driver in his first fulltime season expected. Yeley enters Friday night’s race 23rd in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, and is seeking his first top-10 finish of the season. “We have a great team here,“ Yeley said. “We can contend for wins and top-five finishes, and we prove that each week by running up front. We just need to finish there.” Yeley, who finished 15th in his first series race at PIR last year in a schedule that consisted of 17 starts, is happy to be home. “There are many people that helped me along the course of my career, so it’s special to be able to go back to Phoenix and see everyone again, and to race in the NASCAR Busch Series event at PIR,” he said. A group of 20 family members and friends will be in the stands courtesy of Yeley for the race. Menard looks to duplicate previous success at PIR … Paul Menard (#11 Menard’s/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet) is scheduled to make his third NASCAR Busch Series start at Phoenix Friday night, and hopes this race will be the one that results in the duplication of some of his most memorable racing moments. Menard gained notice in 2002 following his thrilling last-lap pass of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup veteran Ken Schrader for the victory in a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event at PIR. The win catapulted Menard into NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition the following year. He produced another pair of top-10 finishes in the Southwest Series in 2002 and ‘03. The 24-year-old from Eau Claire, Wis., also enjoyed a win at Phoenix in 2002 in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. “Every racecar driver has his favorite tracks, and Phoenix is definitely one of mine for obvious reasons,” said Menard. “Phoenix has always been known for some of the best door-handle-to-door-handle racing in all of NASCAR, and we’re ready to get back there and mix it up again on Friday night.” “Moore” to come in NASCAR Busch Series … Maine native Ryan Moore may well be the next NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series star to follow 2004 NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. to success in NASCAR’s national series. Moore, who is participating in a NASCAR Busch Series driver development program for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2005, will make his first start of the season in Thursday’s Casino Arizona 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series event. Moore will be driving his own #74 R.C. Moore Transportation Chevrolet in the race, but is scheduled to test and compete on a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule for DEI later this season. ON THE RIGHT TRACK There have been seven different winners and Busch Pole winners at Phoenix. … Two former race winners – Greg Biffle (#66 Henkel Ford), the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion, and Jamie McMurray (#64 Top Flite Dodge) are entered. Biffle won in 2001 while McMurray is the defending champion. … Biffle and Kevin Harvick are former pole winners in the field. … Biffle is tied for the lead in top fives (three) and top 10s (four) at Phoenix; he has entered four NASCAR Busch Series races at the venue. … Ford has three wins in the seven races held at PIR. … Biffle has led the most laps at PIR with 297.
Dodge recorded its second win of the season last week at Texas to move within seven points of leaders Chevrolet and Ford in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. Kasey Kahne drove the #38 Great Clips Dodge to victory; Dodge didn’t record its second win until the 20th race at Chicago last season. Chevy and Ford are tied with three wins and 53 points each. … Sarah Fisher, the former open wheel star and Indianapolis 500 veteran who drives the #20 Domino’s/NAPA Chevrolet as part of the NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, is entered in Thursday’s Casino Arizona 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series event. She has made two starts in the West Series this year and posted a season-best 16th at Mesa Marin Raceway last Saturday. … Two sets of brothers are entered in Friday night’s race – David Green and his brother, Mark (who was announced this week as the interim driver of the #23 Vassarette Chevrolet replacing Shawna Robinson) and the Fike brothers – Aaron (#37 Duraflame Ford) and A.J. (#43 Channellock Dodge). This will be the first series race of the year in which the Fikes have both attempted to qualify; the Greens have competed together twice this season, at Nashville and Bristol. … Kahne will drive the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge for Ray Evernham’s NASCAR Busch Series team in the next two events at Phoenix and Talladega. Tyler Walker is sharing the #38 ride with Kahne this year and will be in the car at Phoenix – this will be Walker’s first NASCAR Busch Series race at PIR, but he has four other starts in USAC Silver Crown competition at the venue, including a career-best third place earlier this year. … The #5 Lowe’s Chevrolet – this week driven by Boston Reid – has never finished outside the top five in a NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix. In 2002, David Green drove the #5 entry to a fifth-place finish, while 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers started sixth and finished third that season. Kyle Busch won the pole position and led all but 53 laps on his way to a runner-up finish in last year’s event. … Tony Stewart (#33 Mr. Clean AutoDry Pro-Series Chevrolet) will attempt to make his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Phoenix. … Reed Sorenson has finished in the top five in his last three races and on the lead lap in his last 10 events, both bests in the NASCAR Busch Series.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Jeff Gordon, then a three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, made a rare appearance outside NASCAR’s premier series when he competed in the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race held at Phoenix International Raceway in 1999. Gordon drove his own Chevrolet, qualifying third. Ken Schrader won the Busch Pole with a speed of 129.580 mph.
Ron Hornaday led the first 24 laps after starting second, but Gordon took the lead for the first of three times on Lap 105, once again on Lap 153, then for the final time on Lap 180 to take his fourth career NASCAR Busch Series win. He was followed across the line by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmy Spencer, and Jeff Burton. Kenny Wallace rounded out the top-five finishers. Gordon, scored Chevrolet’s only NASCAR Busch Series win to date at PIR, took home $32,450 for his first win in the series since October 1992.
What: Basha’s Supermarkets 200 (Race #9 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
When: 9:10 p.m. ET, Friday, April 22.
Track Layout: 1-mile oval.
Race Length: 200 laps/200 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,166,999.
TV: FX, 8:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Inaugural event.
2004 Polesitter: Inaugural event.
Pre-race schedule: Thur., April 21: Practice – 4:45-5:45pm/et; Final practice – 6:00-7:05pm/et; Fri., April 22: Qualifying – 4:30pm/et. Cars impounded after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2005)
- Penalties announced: three NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs were penalized following rule infractions at Texas:
Kevin Manion, crew chief of the #8 Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr., was fined $1,000 after violating Sections 12-4-A, 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members) and 20A-17.1A (crew member Jeff Kerr entered the car servicing area without a helmet during the race).
Gregg Mixon, crew chief for the #7 Chevrolet driven by Mark Green, was fined $1,000 for violation of 12-4-A and 12-4CC (unapproved final gear ratio) during opening-day inspection.
Dan Glaus, crew chief for the #43 Dodge driven by A.J. Fike, was in violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-Q during pre-qualifying inspection due to an unapproved jacking bolt. He was fined $500.(NASCAR PR)(4-19-2005)
- Mark Green now in the #23 replacing Shawna: Mark Green will replace Shawna Robinson behind the wheel of the #23 Vassarette Chevrolet on an interim basis, Keith Coleman Racing (KCR) announced today. “The next few races will be very important to our season as we move forward,” said crew chief Kenneth Campbell. “We’ve had some tough luck lately and we’ve got to get it turned around. Mark was the logical choice to help us do that.” Green, who opened the season with KCR [#26 Chevy], said he was excited by the opportunity to drive for the team again. “It’s a good team with good equipment and a great sponsor,” he said. “Hopefully I can be of benefit and help the team get back on the right track.”(KCR PR)(4-18-2005)
- Barrett responds to Stewart’s comments: Driver Stanton Barrett suggested the media sit down with him and watch the tapes of Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. Specifically, he said he would be glad to watch the tapes with them and answer any questions they have regarding the Lap 28 accident that began with #33 Tony Stewart and #1 Brandon Miller, and then encompassed Barrett’s #36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet. “We were coming out of the second turn with Brandon and Tony hooked nose to tail, and I was maybe two car lengths back,” Barrett said of the incident. “Tony got into Brandon and Brandon was able to hold on, but Tony backed off after he hit him and I had nowhere to go. I guess he decided to blame me but, if you look at the tapes, it’s pretty obvious that it started when he and Brandon got together.” Stewart’s interview on FOX was a scathing near-personal attack that indicted Barrett, but glossed over the contact with Miller. “I’ll be glad to sit down with anyone from the media who wants to sit down and look at the tapes,” Barrett said. “I’ll tell them what is happening during the whole thing, and answer absolutely any question they want to ask. If Tony wants to join us, all the better. He could answer everybody’s questions too. It might give somebody a pretty neat story,” he added.(Williams Company)(4-18-2005)
- Kahne wins at Texas: #38-Kasey Kahne won the O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, Kahne started 25th and scored his 2nd career Busch Series win. The rest of the top-5 were #66-Greg Biffle, #41-Reed Sorenson, #60-Carl Edwards and #90-Elliott Sadler. Biffle finished just three-tenths of a second behind Kahne, whose average speed of 126.737 was slowed by 37 caution laps. Biffle led the O’Reilly 300 four times for 32 laps. #17-Matt Kenseth, #47-Jon Wood, #22-Kenny Wallace and #32-Shane Hmiel rounded out the top 10. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers, both records for the nine Busch races at Texas.(AP)
Race results at:
- Norris leaves Penske? UPDATE: hearing #12 Penske Racing car chief, Chad Norris, has left the team and has assumed the crew chief job with Matt Kenseth’s #17 Busch Series team. Former crew chief for Kenseth [Busch], Charles “Cully” Barraclough left to take the #20 Busch Series crew chief gig.(4-14-2005)
UPDATE: Robbie Reiser, who leads Kenseth’s Cup team, is pulling double duty this weekend and expects to do so for the rest of the season. Chad Norris, former car chief for Ryan Newman’s Penske South Nextel Cup team, has joined Roush Racing and is the heir apparent, Reiser said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(4-15-2005)
- RadioShack Sponsors Cope at Texas: RadioShack Corporation will ride with driver Derrike Cope and the #28 Jay Robinson Racing Ford for the second time this season after sponsoring the team in the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona. Cope, winner of the 1990 Daytona 500, will drive the RadioShack Ford. In addition, four other RadioShack supporters – Motorola, Olympus, Whistle and Magellan – will be prominently identified on the car.(Williams Company)(4-15-2005)
- Hmiel wins the pole at Texas: #32-Shane Hmiel won the pole for the O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 189.840mph. The rest of the top-10 are: #8-Martin Truex Jr., #60-Carl Edwards, #44-Justin Labonte, #9-Mark Martin, #33-Tony Stewart, #47-Jon Wood, #66-Greg Biffle, #20-Denny Hamlin and #1-Johnny Sauter. Four drivers failed to make the race: #43-Aaron Fike; #7-Mark Green; #23-Shawna Robinson [crash]; #57-Kyle Busch [crash].
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
- 2nd Hendrick Car inceases schedule to 8 races, Busch to drive at Texas: Team Lowe’s Racing announced that several of its vendor partners on the #5 Busch Series car will also serve as the primary sponsor in four races this season on the Hendrick Motorsports #57 Busch car with drivers Kyle Busch and Boston Reid. Spectracide, Shop Vac, Hitachi Power Tools and Sta Green are some of the vendor partners sponsoring the #5 Team Lowe’s Racing Chevrolet in the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season. Each will rotate as the primary sponsor of the #57 in four Busch Series events beginning Saturday with Kyle Busch driving the Spectracide Fire Ant Killer Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch will also pilot the #57 on June 4 at Dover International Speedway and Oct. 14 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The #5 Lowe’s Chevrolet will continue with Blake Feese and Reid sharing a majority of the driving duties in 2005. Reid will drive the #57 when the Busch Series races in his home state of Indiana at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August. Brian Vickers will drive the #57 in four Busch Series races in 2005 with primary sponsorship from Ore-Ida. With the weather getting warmer, race fans will be spending a lot more time outside, working in and enjoying their yards. To help fans avoid the hassle of fire ants, the paint design for the #57 at Texas Motor Speedway will promote new Spectracide(r) Fire Ant Killer Once & Done.(Team Lowe’s Racing PR)(4-13-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(4-14-2005)
- New Crew Chief for Hamilin and the #20: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has hired Charles “Cully” Barraclough as Crew Chief of the #20 Rockwell Automation Busch Series entry driven by Denny Hamlin. This change is effective immediately. Barraclough comes from Roush Racing where he was Crew Chief of Matt Kennseth’s #17 Roush Racing Busch Series Entry. In 2004, the #17 car started 16 races and scored 3 victories, 8 top-five finishes and 11 top-ten finishes.(Rockwell Automation Racing)(4-13-2005)
- Shutt hired as new #56 crew chief: Hill Motorsports Owner Jack McNelly announced that Tim Shutt has been named the new crew chief for the team’s NASCAR Busch Series #56 Lester Buildings Chevrolet. “We are very fortunate to have Tim join our team,” commented McNelly. “To have an experienced crew chief with Tim’s experience available during the season is a stroke of good luck and fortune for Mac Hill Motorsports.” Shutt brings a wealth of experience to his new position, including three seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing where he served as crew chief for Mike Bliss and the #20 Rockwell Automation car during the 2003 season. That team finished 10th in the season’s final championship point standings and had 14 top-ten finishes. Mac Hill Motorsports has 17 races remaining on their 20 race schedule for the 2005 season. The team is scheduled to test at Talladega Superspeedway on April 20th in preparation for their next race, the Aaron’s 312 on April 30 at Talladega.(Mac Hill Motorsports)(4-13-2005)
- Didn’t even make it to the track, LR2 Motorsports dissolves, Cline still plans to race: LR2 Motorsports, the Busch Series partnership between Les Lyons and Rick Russell, has been dissolved. Conflicts developed while preparing to field the #01 Chevrolets for driver Troy Cline in the NASCAR Busch Series this year, and Lyons and Russell have mutually agreed to terminate the partnership. Despite this setback behind the scenes, Cline and Russell still plan to compete in 2005. ”We still have a race team,” Russell noted. “We still have Troy Cline as our driver, we still have Haas Chevrolets with Hendrick engines, and we still have Bill Ingle as our crew chief. The desire to compete is still there, and Troy is raring to go. What we don’t have right now are primary sponsors.”
Driver Troy Cline shares Russell’s disappointment, but sees the big picture. “Naturally, I’d prefer to be on the track every week,” said Cline, “but I understand the team’s approach. Rick Russell and all the folks at Haas are determined to put a program together that will be competitive, week in and week out. It may take us a little longer to put everything in place now, but we plan to get it right.” Although no primary sponsors have yet stepped forward, there has been plenty of interest. “I’ve talked with several people who are legitimate possibilities,” noted Russell. “Even our associate sponsors are beating the bushes and trying to make some things happen. There has been a lot of fan interest in our efforts thus far, and we all appreciate the encouragement.” Cline, Russell, and the team will re-evaluate their planned 2005 schedule and make adjustments as sponsorship materializes.(Racing Underdog)(4-11-2005)
- Mayfield/Kahne to share #6 ride for next 3 races: Unilever Foods and Evernham Motorsports announced today that Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield will share driving duties of the #6 Hungry DriversT Dodge Charger for the next three events on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule including Texas, Phoenix and Talladega. Mayfield will drive the #6 Dodge in Texas while Kahne will take over for Phoenix and Talladega. After evaluating the #6 Hungry DriversT team’s performance after the first four races of the NASCAR Busch Series season, Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, felt it was necessary to make a driver change in order to bolster the team’s performance. Evernham Motorsports and Unilever Foods are in the process of evaluating their options for the remainder of the season and will determine long-term plans for the Hungry DriversT team in the coming weeks. They will continue to look for talented young drivers to be a part of the Hungry DriversT program and Evernham Motorsports driver development program throughout the 2005 season.(Hungry Drivers Program)(4-11-2005)
- Hmiel to appeal fine/penalty Statement: NASCAR driver Shane Hmiel, who runs all three of NASCAR’s top series, will appeal the $10,000 fine and the 25 points the sanctioning body took away for his nationally televised one-finger salute of Dale Jarrett during Monday’s Busch Series race at Bristol. Now that the situation has had time to cool off Hmiel explains “I don’t race to make friends but I don’t race to make enemies either. I really hate that it happened and I hate Dale Jarrett’s car got torn up and I hate that we got fined 25 points and stuff like that so we’re going to appeal it and see what happens and it’s already over with…I’m ready to go to Martinsville and run the truck. I respect Dale Jarrett for all he’s done as a racer. I’m sorry that the fans had to see that on television and their kids and everybody who enjoys NASCAR as much as I do but there’s two sides to every story and I’m not gonna be threatened by anybody or back down from anybody. I’ve got a great sponsor and a great owner that’s been behind me and Dale Jarrett knows that wasn’t anything personal…it’s five laps to go and it ended up being a wreck and it tore his car up and I’m sorry for that…it’s nothing I did on purpose. We’re just gonna go to Martinsville and let this pass and I’m sure they’ll be somebody’s as big a jerk as I am this week next week.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio show)(4-7-2005)
STATEMENT: FROM SHANE HMIEL REGARDING BRISTOL NASCAR BUSCH RACE
QUESTION: UPON REFLECTION, IF YOU HAD IT TO DO OVER AGAIN, WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT AFTER MONDAY’S BUSCH RACE IN BRISTOL? HMIEL ANSWER: Of course I would. I want to apologize to the fans watching on television, especially the children, that they witnessed the post race on live TV. Every driver builds so much adrenaline at Bristol that it isn’t easy to shut it down immediately when your car rolls to a stop but it doesn’t make up for the fact that everyone watching live TV witnessed the incident.
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DALE JARRETT? HMIEL ANSWER: I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dale. He has proved he is a great race driver. He has won a championship, three Daytona 500s and numerous other races. There is no way I meant to hit him; it was simply five laps to go at Bristol. Things happen so fast and with everyone wrecking in front of us, it played out that Dale ended up with a torn up race car. I hate that happened. I am very passionate about my racing and I am a hard racer. I love racing and there is nothing more I want to do. But part of what makes our sport is as strong as it is are drivers like Dale who have built the fan base and earned the respect on and off the track of their fellow drivers.
QUESTION: WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE? HMIEL ANSWER: First, I would like to personally assure the fans that I have the utmost respect for all of the drivers who have built this sport to the level it is today, especially Dale Jarrett. I intend to speak with Dale and apologize to him for the comment I made after the race in the heat of the moment. I am sure Dale and I are going to race against one another several times this season and I want us to both be confident that this was an isolated incident and we are starting with a clean slate. I would like to put this all behind us so we can all go forward in a positive manner. We have filed an appeal with NASCAR regarding the penalties that were assessed and will make the best presentation we can. Whatever the decision is, we will respect and move on to the next race.(GM PR)(4-9-2005)
- Testing at Richmond: Several NASCAR Busch Series drivers turned the first laps of the 2005 season at Richmond International Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6, including #22-Kenny Wallace, #32-Shane Hmiel,#44- Justin Labonte, and #10-Michel Jourdain. Kenny Wallace, who currently sits in seventh place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, continues to be impressed with the surface at Richmond International Raceway. “I don’t know what it is about this race track,” said Wallace, a three-time winner at Richmond. “I don’t know if I’m real good at following that yellow line or what, but whenever someone asks, ‘What is your favorite racetrack,’ I say, ‘Richmond,’ because if the car doesn’t work on the bottom you can move it to the top. It’s just always been a fun track to race on.” Rookie NASCAR Busch Series driver Michel Jourdain visited Richmond International Raceway for the first time, and seems optimistic for the FUNAI 250 “under the lights” on Friday, May 13. “I like (Richmond) a lot,” the former Champ Car driver said. “It’s pretty fast track with good grip. It’s my first year in the stock cars, and at most tracks I don’t have enough confidence to be more aggressive. But here I feel I can brake a lot harder and I’m liking it a lot.” Wallace turned in an unofficial time of 21.80 seconds in race trim on Wednesday, while Jourdain’s unofficial best time was 21.99 in race trim. Testing resumes April 26 when NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. visits Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards will test May 2 in preparation for double duty May 13-14 for the FUNAI 250 and Chevy American Revolution 400. A host of NASCAR stars will be on hand May 3, including Rusty Wallace, Kasey Kahne, Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Rudd, Reed Sorenson, Scott Riggs, Jeff Green, and Carl Edwards. Fans are invited to watch from the Grandstands at no charge on any of these days from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.(Richmond International Raceway)(4-9-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes
When asked to name their favorite number, many people will answer, “Seven.” Add the drivers and teams in the NASCAR Busch Series to that group. After seven consecutive weeks of racing, preceded by one full week in Daytona Beach participating in Speedweeks to kick off the 2005 season, the series is in the midst of its first off-week of the year, picking up on April 16 at Texas Motor Speedway. In comparison, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has had two off-weeks thus far while the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has had three races since Feb. 18. Both of those series race at Martinsville this weekend. Nearly a quarter of the season has already passed during that span. Races on the east coast (Daytona), west coast (California) and into a foreign land (Mexico) have been contested, with over 8,000 miles traveled to reach each of the first seven venues on the schedule. The entire NASCAR Busch Series season totals 8,654 miles in total race distances.
The competition has lived up to the anticipation heading into the series’ 24th season. Here are some highlights: Six different winners in the first seven races;
Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), the reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion, won the historic race at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course;
Rookie drivers rank one-two in the points standings for the first time in series history as Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) and 19-year-old Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) have held those positions for the last two weeks. Fellow rookies Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and Jon Wood (#47 Clorox/Wisk Ford) are in eighth and 10th place, respectively;
Edwards and Sorenson won consecutive races at Atlanta and Nashville. Edwards won his first NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta, a NASCAR first; Mark Martin, the all-time wins leader in series history – added to his total by winning both races he entered. He now has 47 victories in 207 career starts.
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Points battle takes a breather, too … Through the first seven weeks of the season, portions of the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 show little separation between drivers. Carl Edwards retains the lead he has held for the past three race weeks with 1,106 points, while Reed Sorenson, another rookie, stands second for the second consecutive week (1,025), having gained 14 points on Edwards with his third-place finish at Bristol. Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet) has been steady in third place over the last five weeks (955); Bowyer’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick (#21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) is in fourth with 875 points despite running in only five of the season’s seven events. Harvick had collected second-place finishes in his first four races, finally breaking through with a win at Bristol. That victory followed his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win on Sunday, the second such sweep this season. Martin Truex Jr. is fifth, 11 points behind Harvick. However, Ashton Lewis Jr. (#25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is just one point behind with 863. Kenny Wallace (#22 Stacker 2 Ford) is in seventh place, his third straight appearance in the Top 10; Wallace has 835 points, just ahead of eighth-place rookie Denny Hamlin (814). Wallace and Hamlin have a bit of breathing room between them and Shane Hmiel (#32 WIN Fuel Dodge) who is ninth in the rankings. Hmiel has to pay attention to yet another rookie, Jon Wood, now 23 points back. Drivers in positions 11-15 – David Stremme (#14 U.S. NAVY Dodge), David Green (#27 Kleenex Ford), Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford), Johnny Sauter (#1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) and two-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion Randy LaJoie (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet), respectively, are all within 62 points of Wood’s 10th-place ranking. Lewis is lurking … After finishing in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 last year for the first time in his four fulltime seasons driving for his family-owned team, Ashton Lewis Jr. has picked up where he left off. Lewis, who finished eighth at Bristol and ninth in Mexico City, is currently sixth in the rankings, just one point behind 2004 series champion Martin Truex Jr. Lewis was fifth in the points last week, his best standing ever in the series. “We set a goal to get off to a good start the first seven races and not put ourselves in a hole,” Lewis said. “Fortunately, we accomplished that goal as we stand just one point outside of the top five. I know you can’t win the title the first seven races, but you can put yourself in a pretty big hole. We are looking forward to this off-week and taking the time to make the Team Marines Ford even faster.”
Kenny Wallace will be featured on a segment of the ESPN show “Rome is Burning” with host Jim Rome. The program highlighting Wallace at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month will air Wednesday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. … David Green, the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion, will travel to Milwaukee on Thursday to take part in a press conference announcing the entitlement sponsor for the June 25 event at The Milwaukee Mile. The press conference will take place at Noon at the Coast Restaurant, 931 E. Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. … The #33 Kevin Harvick Inc. NASCAR Busch Series team will go to Martinsville this weekend to work on – and pit – Harvick’s #33 Yard-Man Silverado in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday. Harvick is attempting to become the first driver in NASCAR history to win consecutive races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. … Justin Labonte (#44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) was scheduled to test at Richmond on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Texas for an advance media tour on Thursday. Sunday, Labonte will join his family at their Corpus Christi home base for the 90th birthday celebration for the grandfather of his mother, Kim. … J.J. Yeley (#18 Vigoro-Home Depot Chevrolet) will join 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and NASCAR Busch Series owner Rusty Wallace and NASCAR on FOX analyst Larry McReynolds in Phoenix on Monday, April 11 for “NASCAR 101,” an event hosted by Phoenix International Raceway and the local FOX affiliate. The group will offer an educational interactive opportunity at the Superstition Springs Mall in Tempe from 6-7:00 p.m. MST … Kasey Kahne and Tyler Walker, who share time in the #38 Great Clips Dodge, will be at Akins Motorsports in Mooresville, N.C., on Thursday for a Great Clips Rally to meet and greet nearly 40 Great Clips managers as well as host a shop tour. … Nearly 120 sixth graders attended the First Annual Team Rensi Motorsports Science Fair at the organization’s shop in Mooresville on Tuesday. Ten unique stations were in place for the students to learn about the application of science in NASCAR. The demonstrations included technology, safety, tire pressures and transportation logistics. Team Rensi drivers Ashton Lewis Jr. and Jason Keller, along with members of each driver’s team, participated in the event.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
One of the more difficult feats to accomplish in NASCAR racing is a “sweep” of a racing weekend. A driver winning races in two different series at a track during the same weekend is said to have completed a “sweep.” Since 1984, sweeps have occurred only 21 times, the latest this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway when Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event and the NASCAR Busch Series race. It was the second sweep this season and the second consecutive sweep weekend; Carl Edwards won both races two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR last experienced consecutive sweep weekends in 1991 when Harry Gant swept the September races at Richmond and Dover.
Edwards’ sweep at Atlanta was the first time the feat was accomplished in that speedway’s history. Harvick is only the second driver to sweep at Bristol; the first was Dale Earnhardt Jr. last August when he won both the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
Next Race: O’Reilly 300 (Race #8 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Ft. Worth, Texas.
When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 16.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,396,315.
TV: FOX, 2 p.m., ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Matt Kenseth.
2004 Polesitter: Kyle Busch.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thurs., April 14: Practice – 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Qualifying – 5:05 p.m. Cars impounded after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(4-9-2005)
- 2nd Braun team? hearing there could be a 2nd full time Braun Racing team soon with the American Legion as the sponsor, no word on a driver.(4-7-2005)
- Hmiel and others penalized for actions at Bristol: NASCAR announced Wednesday that Shane Hmiel, driver of the #32 WinFuel Chevrolet, has been penalized and fined after a rule violation Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Additionally, five other NASCAR Busch Series teams were penalized following rule infractions at Bristol.
Hmiel was penalized 25 driver points and fined $10,000 for an inappropriate gesture, violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing). Hmiel has also been placed on probation until August 31, 2005. The points deduction will not alter Hmiel’s ninth-place ranking in the standings. In addition, Hmiel’s car owner, Todd Braun, was penalized 25 owner points.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Chevrolet, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until August 31, 2005 for hitting another competitor’s car after the completion of the race, a violation of 12-4-A.
Additionally, four crew chiefs received fines after being found in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules).
Brian Pattie, crew chief of the #41 Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson, was fined $2,000 for unapproved lug nuts on all four (4) wheels. Blake Bainbridge, crew chief of the #64 Dodge driven by Jeremy Mayfield, was fined $500 for unapproved lug nuts on one (1) wheel. Also, Todd Gordon, crew chief for the #10 Ford driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. and James Ward, crew chief of the #22 Ford of Kenny Wallace, were each fined $500 due to not having a rear bumper reinforcement bar.(NASCAR PR)
NOTE: a few readers and myself wonder……what happened to the 7-second delay for the Fox/FX broadcast of the race? While I don’t condone Hmiel’s action, couldn’t they had cut away since they had the delay option?
ANSWER: Fox does’t use any delay at all and has no plans to do so…..(4-6-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine picks up full-time gig with #72: NASCAR Veteran driver, Geoffrey Bodine, will be driving the #72 MacDonald Motorsports Chevy for the remainder of the 2005 Busch Series season. Jim Daly, who worked with Bodine at Bristil, was recently hired their new crew chief. The team is still looking for sponsorship help.(MacDonald Motorsports)(4-6-2005)
- Motorsports Day and testing at Richmond: Join Richmond International Raceway at the Capitol to celebrate Motorsports Day at the Capitol. Governor Mark R. Warner and Richmond International Raceway president, Doug Fritz, will speak on behalf of Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame. Then folks can go out to the track as NASCAR Busch Series teams make the first laps of 2005 around Richmond International Raceway. The public is invited to watch testing from the grandstands. Admission is free. #44-Justin Labonte, #10-Michel Jourdain, #22-Kenny Wallace and #32-Shane Hmiel will test their Busch Series cars.(Richmond International Raceway)(4-6-2005)
- Harvick sweeps Bristol: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway in a crash filled, 3-time red flag, green-white-checker wild race, the day after winning the Food City Cup race on Sunday. His teammate #21-Jeff Burton ended up 2nd, followed by #41-Reed Sorenson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #40-Sterling Marlin. Harvick has ran 5 of the 7 Busch races with a win and four 2nd place finishes.
From Speed Channel: The race was extended when #32-Shane Hmiel rammed the rear of #90-Dale Jarrett’s car on Lap 248, bringing out caution. Jarrett was not happy with Hmiel and approached him, with the two pointing fingers, and with Hmiel, who seems always to be in some kind of trouble, apparently making a rude hand gesture. NASCAR officials were examining the situation, and penalties are possible.
Race results at:
- Qualifying Rained out, Edwards starts first: Rained washed out qualifying for the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, so the field was set by the rules book, top 35 in owners [NOT drivers points] points, race winners in 2004-2005 not already in, past champ, then by 2005 race attempts, ties broken by 2005 owners points. So #60-Carl Edwards starts first, followed by #21-Jeff Burton, #2-Clint Bowyer. #8-Truex Jr. and #33-Raines.
#17-Kenseth, #99-Waltrip and #29-Harvick make the race due to 2004 Owner Win, #49-Grissom makes the race as a Past Champion and #72-Geoffrey Bodine (attempts 6 – 37th 2005 owners pts), #23-Robinson (6, 41st), #0-Davis (6, 42nd) and #7-Mark Green (6, 44th) by race attempts. Missing the race were: #52-Brad Teague; #16-Justin Ashburn; #85-John Hayden; #56-Tim Sauter; #75-Jay Sauter; #04-Eric McClure.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
- The Chase to Busch? NASCAR officials are considering adding the Chase for the Championship format to the Busch Series. If NASCAR does add the 10-race postseason to the Busch Series, there is a push within NASCAR to make Bristol Motor Speedway a major player in the new schedule. Possibilities include making BMS the last race before the playoff to create a “must win” atmosphere or making BMS the final race of the season where the championship will be determined. (Knoxville News Sentinel via BGNRacing.com)(4-2-2005)
- Sports Clips to Join Wallace on the #6: Sport Clips has agreed to be an associate sponsor on the #6 Ray Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Mike Wallace in the NASCAR Busch Series race this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sport Clips is in their second year of building their brand through NASCAR. The Georgetown, TX-based enterprise currently has 235 stores in 26 states. Targeting men and boys, (Sport Clips PR)(4-1-2005)
- Rusty’s son to make Busch starts: Just as Rusty Wallace’s farewell tour is getting under way, his son Steven Wallace is taking one of the first steps up the NASCAR ladder. Wallace said Friday his 17-year-old son [turns 18 this summer] has been signed to a driver development contract by Dodge, which also supports the elder Wallace’s racing. The younger Wallace, who is now competing on the Hooters Pro Cup circuit, likely will move to his father’s Busch car next season for a partial schedule [about 15 races]. He got the deal with Dodge following a recent tryout with several other hopefuls, all of whom drove a Bobby Hamilton-prepared truck at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), also on Speed Channel’s Trackside show Friday, Wallace said that Steven would run two Busch races this year in the #64, Phoenix [Nov] and Memphis [Oct].(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-2-2005)
- Conz to run some Busch races UPDATE: Brian Conz announces that he has signed an exclusive 3 year agreement with a new sponsor. This agreement will allow him to race in the NASCAR Busch Series beginning in the next few weeks and continuing for the next three years. The sponsor will be announced shortly as they are now preparing cars for a press conference.(Brian Conz Site)(3-19-2005)
UPDATE: been told this deal fell thru.(4-2-2005)