August 2005 Busch Series Archive
- News regarding Shane Hmiel’s suspension can be found on the Hmiel Suspension page.
- Long out as crew chief of the #5? UPDATE 2: hearing Hendrick Motorsports will replace Jim Long as the crew chief of the #5 Lowe’s Chevy in the Busch Series, no word who will take over or what Long will do. The #5 Chevy has been driven by Blake Feese, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Boston Ried, Kyle Krisiloff and Adrian Fernandez.(8-25-2005)
UPDATE: A team rep said that Jim Long isn’t in Bristol this weekend because he’s at the shop helping to prepare the car for California next weekend. He will be back with the team in Fontana with driver Adrian Fernandez.(BGNRacing.com)(8-26-2005)
UPDATE 2: Marshall Carlson, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, today outlined the organization’s future NASCAR Busch Series plans, including its remaining 2005 schedule and a realignment of key personnel. Chad Walter, 34, who rejoined Hendrick Motorsports earlier this year as lead engineer for the #5 and #25 NEXTEL Cup Series teams, has been named crew chief of the #5 Busch Series Chevry. The Albion, N.Y., native will call the Sept. 9 race at Richmond marking his first in the new role. Following this weekend’s event at Fontana, Calif., Jim Long will transition from crew chief of the #5 Chevys into a new position focusing on Hendrick Motorsports’ growing chassis and research operations. The 48-year-old Long, who brings two decades of NASCAR experience to his expanded role, helped establish both departments in the early 1990s. A Toledo, Ohio, native and Brickyard 400-winning crew chief, Long will also lead the part-time Busch Series efforts of Hendrick Motorsports — the #48 and #57 — for the remainder of 2005. Michael Landis, a 12-year veteran of Hendrick Motorsports, continues as Busch Series team manager. Landis helped the team to a Busch Series championship in 2003 and recently engineered the group’s relocation to a freshly renovated 15,000-square-foot facility, which opened in July.
Hendrick Motorsports has fielded a full-time Busch Series operation since 2002, earning one championship, 10 victories and 11 pole positions during that span. The organization, which has a win and two poles this season, finished fifth in points with driver Jack Sprague in 2002, first with Brian Vickers in 2003 and second with rookie Kyle Busch last year.
After running a flexible schedule for much of the season, Hendrick Motorsports today solidified its remaining 2005 Busch Series events. The slate will feature drivers Vickers, Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Adrian Fernandez and Kyle Krisiloff.
Remaining 2005 Schedule – #5 Busch Series Chevrolets: Sept. 3, California, Fernandez
Sept. 9, Richmond, Busch
Sept. 24, Dover, Busch
Oct. 8, Kansas, Busch
Oct. 14, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Fernandez
Oct. 22, Memphis, Krisiloff
Nov. 5, Texas, Fernandez
Nov. 12, Phoenix, Fernandez
Nov. 19, Homestead, Fernandez
Remaining 2005 Schedule – #48 Busch Series Chevrolets:
Sept. 3, California Speedway, Jimmie Johnson
Oct. 14, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson
Remaining 2005 Schedule – #57 Busch Series Chevrolets:
Sept. 24, Dover International Speedway, Vickers
Oct. 14, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Busch
Nov. 5, Texas Motor Speedway, Busch
Nov. 19, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Vickers.(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-29-2005)
- Jourdain back at California: Michel Jourdain Jr. is set to resume his rookie Busch Series campaign after a six-week hiatus due to lack of sponsorship. The former Champ Car driver will return to ppc Racing’s Ford Taurus thanks to newfound sponsorship from Centrix Financial, which also backs Boris Said’s part-time #36 Nextel Cup effort. The deal currently puts Jourdain on the car for the upcoming Fontana (September 3), Kansas (Oct 8), Charlotte (Oct 14) and Texas (Nov 5) Busch races. “I’m very thankful for this new support from Centrix. I have been working to return to competition and I am ready to go back to racing with ppc,” stated Jourdain, who had previous Busch outings in all the abovementioned tracks besides Kansas.” Jourdain is contracted to return with ppc Racing for the 2006 Busch season, and the team continues to work on finding a full-time sponsor for next year’s campaign.(Speed Channel)(8-30-2005)
- Contreras to drive the #12 at California: Carlos Contreras will make his first start in the #12 Supercuts Dodge for FitzBradshaw Racing this weekend at California Speedway. Contreras has one Busch Series start at California where he started in the 30th position and finished in 26th place. This will be Contreras’s third start with FitzBradshaw Racing this season. He competed in both road course events this season in the #40 Dodge Charger fielded by the team. Contreras will attempt to make his 75th career NASCAR start in the Busch Series 300 at California Speedway. Although he has competed in only four Busch Series races, he has 70 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(8-30-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: California
Points report: Changing of the guard … The top five in the NASCAR Busch Series championship driver standings underwent some changes following last Friday night’s race at Bristol when Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) displaced Kenny Wallace (#22 AutoZone Ford) in fifth place. Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), the defending series champion, continues to lead the standings, followed by Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet), who is 194 points behind. Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) is third, now 394 points behind after being penalized 50 points for rule violations at Bristol, and Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) is fourth, 425 points behind Truex. Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) quietly slipped back into the top 10 following his 12th-place finish at Bristol. Keller was 12th in the championship standings prior to Bristol, but made up two spots to claim his highest standing since New Hampshire, where he was ninth following that race. Keller knocked Team Rensi Motorsports running mate Ashton Lewis Jr. (#25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) out of the 10th slot in the process. Keller, the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series winnings with over $10 million, has finished in the top 10 in eight of his 11 fulltime seasons in the series, the last six in succession.
Adrian Fernandez returns to NASCAR Busch Series … Open-wheel star and Mexico City native Adrian Fernandez (#5 Lowe’s/Spectrum Chevrolet) will return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at California Speedway. Fernandez made his NASCAR debut in March when the NASCAR Busch Series held its first points race outside the United States at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course. Fernandez, who started 40th in that event after an accident during qualifying, finished 10th. He is also scheduled to compete for Hendrick Motorsports this season in NASCAR Busch Series events at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Two other fellow Mexico City natives are scheduled to run alongside Fernandez at California – Carlos Contreras (#12 Supercuts Dodge) and Michel Jourdain Jr. (#15 Centrix Financial Ford). Both drivers also competed in the historic race in Mexico City. Jourdain has run 18 series races this season for ppc Racing, while Contreras looks to participate in his third series event this season. Except for the Mexico City race where 10 drivers from Mexico were entered, Saturday’s event would mark the first time three natives of Mexico raced together in any of NASCAR’s national series. Jourdain will have to make the race on time; Fernandez and Contreras are among the top 30 in owner’s points and are assured of a starting position.
Lewis, Team Rensi visit Marines … Ashton Lewis (#25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) and other members of Team Rensi Motorsports are heading to California early in order to take part in a Wednesday visit to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. While there, they will visit with Marines and learn more about the training of new recruits. Thursday, the group will venture to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and participate in training exercises, as well as spend time with a large group of Marines that just returned from Iraq. “I am looking so forward to this trip to California,” Lewis said. “Any time that I can visit with Marines and thank them for their service to our country, it is rewarding to me. These guys are the backbone of America and I continue to be amazed by the sacrifice they display.” Lewis is 11th in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings, just 21 points behind teammate Jason Keller, who is 10th.
This Week’s Series Leaders … Through 26 races of the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season:
• Points leader – Martin Truex Jr. 3,756
• Money won – Martin Truex Jr. $1,269,024
• Laps led – Martin Truex Jr. 612
• Miles led – Martin Truex Jr. 894.63
• Victories –Martin Truex Jr. (6)
• Poles – Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne. (3)
• Top-five finishes – Martin Truex Jr. (14)
• Top-10 finishes –Martin Truex Jr. (18)
• Races led – Martin Truex Jr. (15)
• Weeks in Top 10 – Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. (26)
Next time out, watch Newman … Although not entered at California, Ryan Newman is poised to make NASCAR Busch Series history, attempting to become only the second driver in series history to win four consecutive races. Sam Ard, the series’ first two-time champion, accomplished the feat in 1983; he also won three straight in 1984. Newman won at the road course at Watkins Glen, followed that with a victory at Michigan’s 2-mile track, then claimed the win at Brtistol’s half-mile last Friday night. Newman has competed in only 20 NASCAR Busch Series races since his first start at Rockingham in November 2001. He has four series victories overall.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Greg Biffle’s two NASCAR Busch Series wins at California are second only to Matt Kenseth’s three victories. Kenseth was the first driver to win successive races at California (1999-2000), however, Biffle will be remembered as the first to record a season sweep. … Michael Waltrip (#99 Aaron’s Sales & Lease Chevrolet) leads active drivers in this event with six top-10 finishes. Waltrip and Kasey Kahne are tied among active drivers with three top-five finishes at California. … Jason Keller is the only driver to have competed in all 10 races at California Speedway. … There has not been a repeat Busch Pole winner at California. … Biffle has led the most laps (241) in NASCAR Busch Series competition at this track.
Ryan Newman’s third consecutive series victory at Bristol moved Dodge to within one victory of second place in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. Dodge has seven wins and 153 points. Ford is second with seven wins and 166 points, and has the edge with five victories in NASCAR Busch Series competition at California Speedway. Chevrolet continues to lead with 11 victories and 175 points.
… Coming into this event last year, Martin Truex Jr. had held the NASCAR Busch Series points lead for nine consecutive races and went on to win the season championship. Heading to California at this stage of the 2005 season, Truex once again has held the points lead for nine straight races. … Only 142 points separate seventh-place David Green (#27 Kleenex Ford) from 12th-place J.J. Yeley in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings. Yeley is entered in Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, driving the #11 FedEx Chevrolet. … Some stars are coming out to California Speedway for Saturday’s race. Emmy-nominated actor Patrick Dempsey, who currently stars on the ABC-TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Paige Hemmis, a carpenter on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Editon, are guests of the #90 Citifinancial team. Elliott Sadler will drive the car. Hemmis is from Chatsworth, Calif., and Dempsey has racing experience, having participated in the Panoz Series and Pro Miata Series. … Biagi Bros. Racing has re-launched its website at www.biagibrosracing.com. … J.J. Porter will serve as interim crew chief for Kim Crosby (#26 Vassarette Chevrolet). Porter replaces Gene Allnutt beginning this weekend at California. He will retain his duties as team manager as well. … Paul Menard (#11 Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet) had his four-race streak of top-10 finishes snapped at Bristol where he finished 41st due to an accident. Menard had posted nine top 10s in his 10 races prior to Bristol overall, and had moved from 18th to ninth in the point sstandings during that span.
What: Ameriquest 300 (Race #27 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: California Speedway, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: 8:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Sept. 3.
Track Layout: 2-mile oval.
Race Length: 150 laps/300 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,495,210
TV: NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Greg Biffle.
2004 Polesitter: Casey Mears.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., Sept. 2: Practice – 1 – 2:20 p.m.; 3:20 – 4:20 p.m. Sat., Sept. 3 – Qualifying – 12:05 p.m. Impound on pit road after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(8-30-2005)
- Feese doesn’t expect to be back at Hendrick in 2006: “It doesn’t look like I’ll be back next season,” said the 23-year-old Blake Feese, of having his one-year contract renewed by the Hendrick Motorsports team for next year. Feese was among three drivers hired this year by Hendrick to participate in its development program, which affords young drivers an opportunity to gain experience in the Grand National series. “I’m still focused on making it in a NASCAR situation,” said Feese, who doesn’t figure to run anymore races for the Hendrick team this year. “I’m pursuing my options. I’ll see what happens. Things happen so rapidly in this sport.” Feese, who ran eight races this year with his best finish a 15th at Kentucky, is exploring possibilities in the Busch Series and the NASCAR Truck series. “The series doesn’t matter as much as the situation,” said Feese. “I want an opportunity to work with the same crew and test more. I don’t want to be in the car one week and then off for six or seven weeks. It’s been tough because in this situation I haven’t been able to race as much as I’d like. Since I was 10 years old, I’ve been racing almost every weekend and sometimes two or three nights a week. It’s hard to learn and develop and get better when you’re not racing and you’re not testing. It’s been frustrating and it’s hard to gain confidence when you have a year like we’ve had. What’s lacking is consistency and being able to run and test.” Feese also plans to run sprint cars when given the chance. “Sprint car races will always be my first love,” added Feese, who grew up driving the open cockpit machines. “But I’m doing this (NASCAR) because it’a hard to make a career out of sprint cars unless you own your own team. Plus, I want to do this to prove a lot people wrong, who said I couldn’t do it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I don’t want to fail. I believe everything will fall into place for me. It just needs to fall a little faster.”(Pantagraph)(8-29-2005)
- So what happened with Cope at Bristol? why did Cope not return after the rain delay at Bristol in the #28 Ford?…..from the Derrike Cope site: Derrike started the race in 37th position and finished in 39th during the twice rain delayed race. NASCAR listed the status as No Driver, and Derrike said, “Just say that the car owner said to go ahead and leave, that they were not going to run any more laps.”(Derrike Cope site)(8-29-2005)
- Testing at Richmond: As the hours and minutes tick down to the waving of the green flag for the Chase weekend at Richmond International Raceway, several NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series teams have tests planned at the 3/4-mile facility. Test sessions at Richmond International Raceway are free to the public. Fans can enter the track through gate 70 on the frontstretch.
The scheduled list of dates and drivers:
Monday, August 29
NASCAR Busch Series: #6/79-Erin Crocker; #25-Ashton Lewis, Jr.; #99-David Reutimann; #81-Ryan Moore; #20-Denny Hamlin; #19-Bobby Labonte; #18-J.J. Yeley; #22-Kenny Wallace
Tuesday, August 30
NASCAR Busch Series: #81-Ryan Moore; #90-Elliott Sadler; #17-Matt Kenseth; #46-Robert Pressley; #22-Kenny Wallace
Wednesday, August 31
NASCAR Busch Series: #17-Matt Kenseth; #46-Robert Pressley
Tickets and information for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Weekend are available online or by calling 1-866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR Site)(8-29-2005)
- Evernham hopes to have Crocker full-time in 2006: #6 team owner Ray Evernham said he is “reasonably confident” the team will field a full-time Busch car for Erin Crocker in 2006. A deal could be announced within the next couple of weeks, and Evernham said Crocker would race six Busch events this season. The 24-year-old probably would make her debut at Richmond or Dover. Crocker reportedly has drawn the interest of rival manufacturers, and Evernham said he must keep her in a ride to keep her under the terms of a developmental deal. “If I don’t, and someone else comes and gives her a better ride, I’m going to tell her to go ahead and take it,” he said. “She’s a good kid and part of our family now and I want what’s best for her. Right now, it looks like we’re going to be ones to provide the best opportunity for her.” Kahne joined Evernham’s team under similar circumstances when Ford was unable to provide a full-time Cup deal satisfactory to the 2004 rookie of the year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-28-2005)
- Newman wins 3rd in a row: #39-Ryan Newman won the rain soaked Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway after enduring two red flags for rain and a late caution on lap 246 when #18-Yeley spun, resulting in a green-white-checker, but Newman held off #66-Greg Biffle for the win, his third straight win [also at Watkins Glen and Michigan] and 4th career Busch Series win. Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #21-Kevin Harvick, #2-Clint Bowyer and #1-Johnny Sauter. Points leader #8-Martin Truex Jr. finished 6th and only lost 10 points off his lead. #41-Reed Sorenson soldiered home 11th after a tough day with the tire doctoring controvery [see below]. Newman was the first driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999 to win three in a row, the series record is four by Sam Ard in 1983. Newman lead 114 of the 252 laps, there were 5 lead changes among 5 drivers and 12 cuations for 100 laps.
Race results at:
- Busch wins pole: #5-Kyle Busch won the pole for the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 125.404mph, followed by #8-Martin Truex Jr., #39-Ryan Newman, #66-Greg Biffle and #11-Paul Menard. Missing the race were: #30-Ron Hornaday, #7-Jeff Fuller, #04-Eric McClure, #72-Kevin Lepage, #71-Ron Young, #10-Brent Sherman, #52-Brad Teague, #85-John Hayden, #56-Tim Sauter, #16-David Ragan.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
BGNRacing.com – Qualifying Results
- Lepage gets sponsor for #72: Denver Mattress Company will be sponsoring driver Kevin Lepage and the #72 MacDonald Racing Team for Fridays Food City 250 Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. Lepage will look to make his 15th career Busch Series start at BMS. Bristol is a track that has been very good to Lepage over the yeas as he has earned one pole, one win, one-top-five, three-top-10’s and has led 13-laps in his 14 starts in his NASCAR Busch Series career at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Denver Mattress Company is proud to build an association with the MacDonald Motorsports program as a title sponsor for the Busch Series #72 car at Bristol this weekend,” Denver Mattress management exclaimed. Denver Mattress Company is considered unique among its competitors in the bedding industry because it is both a mattress manufacturer and a mattress retailer. They manufacture, distribute, and retail their own private-label. Ultimately they provide full control over how their products are priced and sold. The company uses the same components and materials as the leading brand name manufacturers, but because it manufactures and sells its own mattresses, it has eliminated the middleman markup. Therefore, Denver Mattress customers receive brand name quality mattress¹s for as much as 50 percent less.(PR)(8-26-2005)
- Barrett out of #36 ride after Bristol: T.J. Bell will drive the #36 DCT Motorsports Chevy beginning with the NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway and finishing out the season. Bell, who turns 25 years old this week, joins the team from a highly-successful two-year stint in the ARCA series. “T.J. has a tremendous amount of talent and has shown his capabilities on all kinds of speedways,” said John McGill, the Cleveland, Ohio, native who owns DCT Motorsports with his wife, Nancy. Bell, a native of Spark, Nev., has 32 ARCA starts with 11 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. The 2004 Rookie of the Year, he finished third in the standings. He also has 13 career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Stanton Barrett, who will drive the #36 Darden Company-sponsored Chevy at Bristol, Tenn., Friday, is 20th in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, and has recorded eight top-20 finishes in his 25 starts this season for DCT Motorsports. While running towards the front in many races, most notably are incredibly strong runs at Mexico City, Phoenix and Loudon earlier this season, Barrett and the DCT team have fought through some bad luck and problems not of their own making, and have struggled with securing full-time sponsorship. “DCT has given me a tremendous opportunity to compete this season,” Barrett said. “Additionally, I have worked extremely hard to secure future sponsorships and have not been able to at this point. The McGills and DCT as a whole is more than a team to me – they are friends and this is something they talked with me about. As everyone knows, sponsorship is the key to the future of a race team and I was unable to provide one at this point. T.J. has been able to bring such funding to the team and I’m sure the team will still have much success on the track. It is unfortunate for me, but there are opportunities out there and I will keep working hard on my racing career and I still get to make my favorite track (Bristol) my last with DCT. The McGill’s still are working hard on our sponsorships for next season that has my name attached if they come to fruition,” Barrett added.(Williams Company)(8-25-2005)
- Golden Flake signs on with KCR: Golden Flake Snack Foods, Inc. has signed a sponsorship agreement with KCR. The deal includes sponsorship of both the #23-Mark Green and #26-Kim Crosby entries, beginning with this Friday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Golden Flake is located in Birmingham, Ala. and serves 12 states in the southern portion of the country. The company has been in business since 1923 and makes potato chips, corn chips, cheese curls and several other snack food items.(KCR PR)(8-25-2005)
- Penalties Announced for, MIS Infractions: NASCAR announced Tuesday that three members of the #64 NASCAR Busch Series team have been penalized for rule infractions found during opening day inspection on August 19 at Michigan International Speedway. Rusty Wallace, owner of the #64 Dodge, was penalized 25 championship owner points after being found in violation of 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 2005 NASCAR Busch Series rule book due to an unapproved jacking bolt – incorrect thread count. Additionally, Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the #64 Dodge, was penalized 25 championship driver points for violating the same rules. Blake Bainbridge, crew chief for the #64 Dodge, was assessed a $10,000 fine as a result of the same infractions.
Also, two other NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs were penalized following rule violations at Michigan found during opening day inspection.
Todd Gordon, crew chief of the #10 Ford driven by Brent Sherman, was fined $5,000 after violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved intake manifold modification – plenum too large).
Gene Allnutt, crew chief for the #26 Chevrolet driven by Kim Crosby, was fined $2,500 for violating 12-4-A and 12-4-CC (unapproved third gear transmission ratio).(NASCAR)(8-24-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: Bristol
Only 10 races to go in NASCAR Busch Series season … Friday night’s race marks an important juncture in the NASCAR Busch Series season – 10 races remaining for drivers challenging for the championship. Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), the defending NASCAR Busch Series champion and current points leader, padded his advantage last Saturday at Michigan by 82 points over second-place Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet). Bowyer, who led 62 laps, seemed poised to cut into Truex’s lead, but a late-race penalty coupled with mechanical problems relegated him to a 30th-place finish – his second-worst finish this season. Bowyer is 204 points behind Truex (3,606 – 3,402), the biggest deficit he’s faced all year. But he can look to this same point last year, when Truex watched his Chance 2 Motorsports boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#81 Menard’s Chevrolet) win this event in a three-lap, green-white-checkered shootout with Matt Kenseth. Although he finished seventh, Truex – ranked first in points at the time – was being pushed to the limit by rookie Kyle Busch (#5 Lowe’s/Spectrum Chevrolet) whose third-place finish left him just 78 points shy of Truex’s lead. This weekend, Bowyer and Raybestos rookies Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) (third, – 3,282 points) and Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) (fourth – 3,255) are nearing must-win situations with their title hopes. “It’s a big blow in the championship standings, but we aren’t going to roll over and give up,” Bowyer said following the Michigan race. “We aren’t out of it, we just have a little bigger hole to climb out of now.”
Menard’s torrid pace continues … Paul Menard’s (#11 Menards/Marvel Mystery Oil Chevrolet) climb into the upper echelon of the NASCAR Busch Series point standings continues. Menard – who celebrated his 25th birthday last Sunday – has posted nine top-10 finishes in his last 10 races, lifting him to a career-best seventh-place in the series championship standings. He was sixth last Saturday at Michigan, his fourth consecutive finish of eighth or better. The Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver has jumped from 20th in the points following Dover to his current spot during the 10-race span. Now may be the perfect time for such momentum. He finished 22nd in the Sharpie Professional 250 in March and has mixed results at other tracks under one-mile this season. He was seventh at Indianapolis Raceway Park three weeks ago, but tied his season-worst finish of 36th at Richmond in May. “We’ve got a ton of momentum coming to one of the most exciting races of the year,” Menard said. “Without question, Bristol is one of my favorite places to race. It seems we’ve always had a good race car there. Knock on wood, if we can continue our latest streak of staying out of trouble, it could turn out to be a really memorable night.” Broadcast numbers continue upswing at Michigan … Another exciting NASCAR Busch Series finish compliments of Ryan Newman’s (#39 Alltel Dodge) win at Michigan last Saturday produced significant increases in viewers and households over last year. The race, broadcast on TNT, showed a viewer increase of 32% over the same race last season (2,104,000 – 1,600,000) while households were up 30% (1,663,000 – 1,278,000) versus last year’s numbers also on TNT.
Newman seeks third consecutive win … Ryan Newman, winner of the last two NASCAR Busch Series races at Watkins Glen and Michigan, is entered at Bristol and will attempt to become only the fifth driver in series history to register three consecutive wins. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the last to accomplish the feat in 1999, the second of his two straight championship seasons. Earnhardt won the June races at Dover, South Boston at Watkins Glen for his trifecta. The NASCAR Busch Series record is four consecutive wins by the series’ first two-time champion, Sam Ard, whose 1983 string included the fall events at South Boston, Martinsville, Orange County and Charlotte. Ard also won three in a row in May 1984 at Langley, Milwaukee and Dover. Newman’s Michigan victory, his third career NASCAR Busch Series win, was accomplished in only his 19th start. His win last week marked the first time this season a NASCAR Busch Series driver has won consecutive races. Jamie McMurray (#64 Top Flite Dodge) was the last to accomplish the feat; he won at Phoenix and Darlington last November.
This Week’s Series Leaders … Through 25 races of the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season:
• Points leader – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 3,606
• Money won – Martin Truex Jr. Total: $1,234,024
• Laps led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 612
• Miles led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 894.63
• Victories –Martin Truex Jr. (6)
• Poles – Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne. (3)
• Top-five finishes – Martin Truex Jr. (14)
• Top-10 finishes –Martin Truex Jr. (17)
• Races led – Martin Truex Jr. (15)
• Weeks in Top 10 – Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. (25)
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
There are 13 former NASCAR Busch Series winners at Bristol entered in Friday night’s race, including four-time winner and 2001 series champion Kevin Harvick (#21 Reese’s Chevrolet) who won the Sharpie 250 this past April. Eight of those 13 drivers have posted wins in the August Food City 250. … Steve Grissom (#49 Advil Ford), the 1993 series champion, is the only driver to complete a season sweep of races, having done so in 1995. … Jeff Fuller (#7 Big Boar Customs Chevrolet), claimed his only Busch Pole and series win to date at Bristol in August 1996. He is one of seven drivers – five in August – to register wins from the pole.
Steve Darne will serve as crew chief on the #64 Dodge, replacing Blake Bainbridge. Darne takes over this weekend at Bristol on an interim basis. … Ryan Newman’s win at Michigan last week from the 38th starting position matched Kevin Harvick’s victory from the same starting slot last April at Bristol, and both are tied for the second biggest come-from-behind win in series history. Chad Little’s February 1995 win at Daytona from 42nd is tops. He came from a 42nd place start to win … Harvick has five consecutive top-five finishes at Bristol, seven in 11 series races there. Sterling Marlin (#40 Family Dollar Dodge)has five top fives – including a spring win in 2000 – in his last five races at Bristol. … Kyle Busch, last year’s NASCAR Busch Series championship runner-up, is scheduled to compete in all three NASCAR events at Bristol. He is the only driver to have participated in each of NASCAR’s three national series during the same weekend this year; Busch did it at Dover in June. He finished first, 36th and second, respectively, in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. … Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly will field two teams for the first time this season at Bristol. Todd Bodine (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet), who raced for Cicci in the 1990s, and posted the majority of his 15 NASCAR Busch Series wins with the team, will join two-time series champion Randy LaJoie (#84 Kellogg’s Chevrolet). Cicci was the first owner to have two, then three cars in the NASCAR Busch Series over a decade ago. Bodine has won at Bristol twice in NASCAR Busch Series competition. … Bobby Labonte (#19 Hunt’s Chevrolet), the 1991 NASCAR Busch Series champion, looks to compete in his first series race at Bristol since August 1997.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Steve Grissom’s win in the 1995 Food City 250 began a run of 10 consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victories in the second Bristol event by the Chevrolet brand. Dale Earnhardt Jr. registered the most recent Chevrolet win in this race with his win from the pole last summer.
Ford has two wins in the race with the first coming in 1989 when Mark Martin was behind the wheel of Bill Davis’ Thunderbird. Kenny Wallace won for Ford in the 1994 edition of this race. Overall, Fords have won a total of four times at Bristol in NASCAR Busch Series competition.
Dodge has not won a NASCAR Busch Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the brand is coming to the high-banked Tennessee facility with two consecutive series victories courtesy of Ryan Newman. Dodge has a season-record six NASCAR Busch Series wins in 2005 and currently sits third in the Bill France Performance Cup standings with 144 points. Chevrolet leads with 171 points and 11 wins while Ford is second with 160 points and eight victories.
What: Food City 250 (Race #26 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
When: 7:50 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 26.
Track Layout: .533-mile oval.
Race Length: 250 laps/ 133.25 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,298,939.
TV: TNT, 7:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2004 Polesitter: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., Aug. 26: Practice – 9:45 – 11:55 a.m. Qualifying – 4:40 p.m. Impound on pit road after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(8-24-2005)
- McFarland up to Busch with Dale Jr. team? UPDATE 5 The Navy: BGNRacing.com is hearing hearing that Mark McFarland, current driver for the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. owned team, JR Motorsports in the Hooters ProCup Series, will venture into Busch next season with possible backing from the NAVY.
UPDATE: Director of motorsports for the NAVY, Senior Chief Jeff Priest, said Saturday at The Glen,”We think it’s awesome to have our name linked to such a good organization like that. I will tell you we are currently evaluating our situations and we should know within the next few weeks.”
AND I am hearing that the NAVY may be the sponsor of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team in 2006, and that Lowe’s would not be back to sponsor the car.(8-13-2005)
UPDATE 2: Lowe’s and a number of its vendor partners will continue to sponsor the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the Busch Series in 2006.(8-17-2005)
UPDATE 3: JR Motorsports, the USAR Pro Cup team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will be making an announcement today concerning their future plans. Speculation revolves around moving the team to the NASCAR Busch Series in 2006 with driver Mark McFarland. An existing NBS sponsor may be making the move to this new team.(BGNRacing.com)
UPDATE 4: hearing the U.S. Navy will be the sponsor.(8-23-2005)
UPDATE 5: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expanding his role as a car owner, announcing plans Tuesday to field a team in the Busch Series next season. JR Motorsports, the business Earnhardt owns independently of all his other ventures, will run Mark McFarland in the #88 Chevy. The U.S. Navy will sponsor the team. “When I started JR Motorsports, I didn’t have a vision or a dream or a five-year plan,” Earnhardt said. “We have basically let this thing grow legs on its own.” The team debuted in the Hooters Pro Cup Series this season, with McFarland earning one win and 10 top 10 finishes in 13 starts. It’s a separate entity from Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team Earnhardt drives for but is owned by his stepmother, Teresa. It also has no relation to Chance 2 Motorsports, a Busch Series team Earnhardt co-owns with his stepmother. Martin Truex Jr. won the Busch Series title in that car last season and is currently first in the points standings this year. Earnhardt said he wants DEI involved with his new team, but currently has no firm agreement. He was also vague on whether or not DEI will provide him with engines for his Busch car. “It is very important that DEI is incorporated,” he said. “This isn’t separate. It’s my own company, but I want it to benefit DEI. They can be a big part of this and they can support us and we can be successful.” Sponsorship from the Navy is not a huge stretch for Earnhardt, a driver with a hard-partying reputation. On the Navy side, there is no bigger driver it could have chosen to use in recruitment campaign. And Earnhardt points to his experiences as a high schooler attending military school for his appreciation of the armed services. “I look at my experience in military school as a big change in my life,” he said. “It got rid of the rough edges and put me on a straighter path.” Earnhardt said he has approached Tony Eury Sr., currently director of competition at DEI, to run his new Busch program. Eury, who is also Earnhardt’s uncle, was Earnhardt’s crew chief when he won his two Busch titles and for the first four seasons of his Cup career. “Pops won’t decide,” Earnhardt said. “He’s been at DEI a long time so it’s hard for him to just up and leave. But at the same time he wants me to succeed with this, so it’s hard for him to decide what he wants to do.” Meanwhile, Earnhardt said that since Truex is moving to the Cup series next season, Chance 2 will likely scale back to a part-time Busch schedule next year. “We just haven’t found anything that has captured our heart the way Martin did,” he said.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-23-2005)
- Walker on the hot seat? UPDATE released: With raised speculation in recent weeks regarding driver Tyler Walker’s status, #38 car owner Doug Stringer said on Friday in Michigan that nothing has changed from the beginning of the year. “Kasey and Tyler are the drivers,” he said and that “Every week is an evaluation.” Yet Stringer also went on to say that the lack of performance and the team’s sour position in the standings is unsettling and added that a decision regarding the team’s future will be made “within the next 48 hours.”(BGNRacing.com)(8-20-2005)
UPDATE: Akins Motorsports has announced the release of Tyler Walker, driver of the #38 Great Clips Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series effective August 22. “Tyler Walker has done everything that this team and I have asked of him,” said team owner Doug Stringer. “He is a very determined and talented driver that deserves an opportunity to work with a NASCAR Busch or NEXTEL Cup team that has the financial wherewithal to support an-up-and coming rookie driver. We are currently 20th in the owner point standings and it is extremely important for Akins Motorsports and Great Clips to finish the season in the top 10.” This weekend Mike Wallace will drive the #38 Great Clips Dodge for the running of the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In 17 starts at the .533-mile short track, Wallace has posted one top-five and four top-10’s in the NASCAR Busch Series. (Akins PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-22-2005)
- RWI Releases Crew Chief: RWI Racing, Inc. announced the release of #64 NASCAR Busch Series crew chief, Blake Bainbridge. Bainbridge, who has worked for the team since it’s inception in 2004, was released early Monday morning on amicable terms. “Blake and I have parted ways on good terms,” said car owner, Rusty Wallace. “He’s been with me since I started this team and is a very talented crew chief; I wish him nothing but the best wherever he goes. The performance of this race team just isn’t where it needs to be right now.” (RWI Racing PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-22-2005)
- Fitzbradshaw Update: #12 and #14 Fitzbradshaw Racing team owner Armando Fitz said Saturday regarding the rumors of the NAVY’s departure [from the #14 team], that he feels the team has fulfilled their obligations to the sponsor and renewal is still an option. Fitz also expressed the possibility of anywhere from two to four teams in 2006 depending on sponsorship. Along with Joel Kauffman, who drove the #12 in Indianapolis, Fitz plans on developing a second driver in the ARCA RE/MAX Series yet this season.(BGNRacing.com)(8-20-2005)
- Snap-On to share space with McDonald’s on the #35 at Bristol: Snap-on Tools, McDonald’s and Team Rensi Motorsports have partnered together on a one-race program on the #35 Ford of driver Jason Keller in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway as an extension of Snap-on’s 85th anniversary commemoration activities, which include special anniversary products and branding, as well as increased customer appreciation activities at races. Snap-on has been an associate sponsor of Team Rensi Motorsports teams since 2000. For more information on Team Rensi Motorsports, please visit www.teamrensimotorsports.com.(Snap-on PR)(8-20-2005)
- Killer Buzz Energy Drink Join ppc Racing, Kenny Wallace: ppc Racing officials announced today Killer Buzz Peak Performance Energy Drink will be an associate sponsor on the ppc Racing #22 AutoZone Ford Taurus with driver Kenny Wallace. Beginning with this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Go Sports Network, Inc., makers of Killer Buzz Peak Performance Energy Drink, will garner its product logo on the B-pillar of the #22 car. Killer Buzz Peak Performance Energy Drink is noted as a great-tasting performance drink with a unique blend of vitamins that boost energy and increase stamina and peak performance.(ppc Racing)(8-20-2005)
- Duroflame back with Brewco in 2006: Duraflame, Inc., and Brewco Motorsports announced today that an agreement has been reached for Duraflame to remain the primary sponsor of Brewco’s #66 NASCAR Busch Series team for 17 races in 2006 and 2007. “We’re very excited about continuing our relationship with Brewco Motorsports. Brewco has been a fantastic marketing partner both on and off the racetrack and it was an easy decision to extend this partnership as a result of our on-track performance and the relationships we have developed off the track. As we finish up the 2005 season, we look forward to further enhancing our brand alongside Brewco Motorsports and their partners,” stated Chris Caron, Vice President of Marketing for Duraflame, Inc.(Brewco PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-20-2005)
- Spencer Clark’s plans: The 18-year-old will compete in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 NASCAR West Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. and the Super Late Model race at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Clark’s start in the West Series race will mark his fourth this season and his first with new car owner Clay Andrews and crew chief Travis Sharpe. The partnership between Clark and Clay Andrews Racing yields a full-time two-car sponsorship for 2006. In addition, the team has plans to enter Clark in three NASCAR Busch Series events next season.(Spencer Clark PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-20-2005)
- Newman wins at Michigan: #39-Ryan Newman won the Domino’s Pizza 250 at Michigan International Speedway for his 3nd win in a row and of the yerat and 3rd of his career, Newman also won at Waykins Glen last week. Newman took advantage of a caution flag late in the race, bunching the field and passed #66-Greg Biffle for the win, Biffle ended up 2nd, followed by #60-Carl Edwards, #8-Martin Truex Jr. and #18-J.J. Yeley. Points leader Truex Jr. increased his points lead over #2-Clint Bowyer to 204 points, Bowyer finished 30th.
Race results at:
- Qualifying Rained out at MIS: Rain/wet track canceled qualifying for the Domino’s Pizza 250 at Michigan International Speedway, so the field was set via the rules books, Top 35 in owners points, past champs, winners not already in and race attempts, so #8-Martin Truex Jr. will start first followed by #2-Clint Bowyer, #60-Carl Edwards, #41-Reed Sorenson and #21-Kevin Harvick. Missing the race were: #52-Eric McClure, #28-Jamie Mosley, #56-Tim Sauter, #78-Jerry Robertson, #26-Kim Crosby and #57-Brian Vickers.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
- Michigan Resort Sponsors Lepage, MacDonald: Little River Casino Resort, located in Manistee, Mich., will sponsor MacDonald Motorsports #72 team in Saturday’s 200-mile Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway. “We’re ready to get on the race track and have a big weekend,” said driver Kevin Lepage. “Having Little River Resort sponsoring us, especially with its heritage in the state of Michigan, is another plus,” he added. “We’re really excited with the opportunity to work with them and to help promote a top resort in the state.”
“We are very excited to be a part of the NASCAR Busch Series this year,” said Jim LaPorte, General Manager of Little River Casino Resort. “We hope this sponsorship will be mutually beneficial and we invite NASCAR fans to visit Little River.” For more information goto www.littlerivercasino.com.(Williams Company)(8-19-2005)
- New ARCA team – Bushwacker Motorsports: A new force in the highly popular ARCA RE/MAX Series has been formed. A Busch driver , a former Winston Cup car owner, an ARCA driver and a veteran ARCA, Winston and Nextel Cup crewman have formed Bushwacker Motorsports,Inc. Mike Harmon, George Pywowariw, Art Seeger and Steve Herbert have joined together to run 4 races in ARCA this season and the full season next year. Harmon will prep the car in Mooresville,NC, George will be the team manager, Steve will be the crew chief and Art is the driver. The team is entered in the Hantz Group 200 at Michigan International peedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The team is using the #16 for this race. At Pocono Art qualified 23rd and finished 19th in the July ARCA race. Art is excited about this opportunity. He is going for a top 10 finish. “the engine we used at Pocono was great and it has just been refreshed and has a lot of power” stated Art. The team is planning on a good starting position by qualifying on speed. Art’s racing career dates back to 1979 as a crewman for a SCCA team. He has run 130 races for 36 wins (28%), 73 top 5’s (56%), 92 top 10’s (71%). He has driven NASCAR late models, Nascar Daytona Dash, small block modified,NASCAR Busch North and ARCA Re/max series. The team would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make thier dream become a reality: SR Industries, R & R Construction Co., JR Ientile Const. Co., Jim Potts Excavating, Mosluski Bros., Inc.,Premiere Steel Fabricators, Industrial Tractor Parts, TLC Sign & Banner Co., Glenside Eqpt. Co., Mathis Construction Co.,CLL Contracting, Brian Pulshanski Construction Co., and AB Kurre Construction Co. George is a co-owner of TRIX Racing from NJ. He has fielded Winston Cup cars at many tracks. Most recently he managed a team for legendary car owner Junie Donlavey with a national brand as sponsor at Dover and Pocono in 2004. Mike is a veteran of both Nascar Busch and Nascar Craftsman Truck series. He walked away from a bad wreck at Bristol in 2002. Currently Mike is in the top 10 in points in the ARCA Re/max series. Steve has worked in Winston Cup, ARCA and this year in Nextel Cup. He is an experienced over the wall crewman who was the focus of a recent article on laidbackracing.com written by Gino Wismer titled “Inside Bushwacker Motorsports”. Steve crew chiefed Arts 19th place finish at Pocono last month and will assume crew chief duties for the team. (8-17-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: Michigan
Keller looks to stretch earnings record at Michigan … Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford), who stands 11th in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, looks to bypass the $10-million mark in series winnings this weekend at Michigan. Keller is the all-time series money-winner with $9,980,280, needing $19,720 to hit the mark. He is third all-time in career series starts with 381, and holds the current record for most active races competed at 260. He will attempt to make his 12th series start at Michigan, which would be more than any other driver. “I am still a relatively young guy (35), so I hope to stick around and compete for many more years and be the first to make it to $20 million in the series,” KelIer said. “I love the NASCAR Busch Series and I have really enjoyed being a part of its growth with drivers like David Green (#27 Kleenex Ford) and Randy LaJoie (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet). All three of us remember what it was like 10-15 years ago and we can sit back and talk about the job NASCAR has done in growing the series and giving us a top-notch place to compete. I have to also give a lot of credit to my friends at Anhueser-Busch for their support of the series.”
Dodge claims fifth win of year at Watkins Glen; most in four-year series history … Ryan Newman’s win last week was a historic one for Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series’ return to Watkins Glen following a four-year absence. The win was the fifth this season for Dodge, marking the most victories for the manufacturer in one season in its four years of NASCAR Busch Series competition. Last year, Dodge posted four wins. Chevrolet continues to lead the Bill France Performance Cup standings with 11 wins and 167 points. Ford is second with eight wins and 154 points, but Dodge is back in the hunt with five victories and 135 points. Chevrolet leads the way with nine series wins at Michigan – including the last three races in succession – while Ford has claimed the other four victories there. Dodge is seeking its first NASCAR Busch Series win at Michigan, and Newman is entered in the event.
Waltrip delivers off the track … Michael Waltrip (#99 Domino’s Pizza Chevrolet) will be part of a group that will make a special delivery to a Domino’s Pizza customer in the Ann Arbor Mich., area on Wednesday. Waltrip, Domino’s Pizza Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon and Michigan International Speedway President Brett Shelton will prepare a pizza, then deliver the pie to a customer in a replica of Waltrip’s race car. Ann Arbor Domino’s customers who place an order between 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday are eligible to have the trio deliver their order. Waltrip, Brandon and Shelton will prepare the pizza in the Domino’s Pizza Theatre at 30 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, Ann Arbor, at 11:00 a.m. following the unveiling of Waltrip’s car and the trophy for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino’s Pizza 250. Delivery is scheduled to take place at 11:20 a.m.
This Week’s Series Leaders … Through 24 races of the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season:
• Points leader – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 3,441
• Money won – Martin Truex Jr. Total: $1,199,121
• Laps led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 608
• Miles led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 886.63
• Victories –Martin Truex Jr. (6)
• Poles – Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne. (3)
• Top-five finishes – Martin Truex Jr. (13)
• Top-10 finishes –Martin Truex Jr. (16)
• Races led – Martin Truex Jr. (14)
• Weeks in Top 10 – Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. (24)
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Four former winners at Michigan will attempt to join Mark Martin and Todd Bodine as the only other two-time victors at the track – Bobby Labonte (#19 Eckrich Chevrolet – ‘94), Ryan Newman (#39 Alltel Dodge – 2001), Michael Waltrip (#99 Domino’s Pizza Chevrolet – ’02) and Kevin Harvick (#21 Reese’s Chevrolet – ‘03). Newman’s win was his first in the series. … No driver has won more than one Busch Pole at Michigan, but three former pole winners – Bill Elliott (#6 Lawry’s Dodge – ‘93), Dale Jarrett (#90 Citifinancial Ford – ‘95) and Kasey Kahne (#38 Great Clips Dodge – 2004) – are entered in Saturday’s event. The pole was the first in the NASCAR Busch Series for Kahne. … Labonte’s three top-fives at Michigan are tied for third all-time while Waltrip’s six top-10 finishes are tied for second in track history. … Newman’s 119 laps led are the most by a race winner. Jarrett has led 93 laps in five previous NASCAR Busch Series races at Michigan. … Labonte’s 7.0 average finish is second only to Martin’s 4.1.
Greg Biffle (#66 Duraflame Ford), the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion, has two victories in both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1999-2000) and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (2004-05) at Michigan, but has only one top 10 in four NASCAR Busch Series races at the track. … J.J. Porter has been promoted to Team Manager for Keith Coleman Racing. … Jim Long, crew chief for the #5 Lowe’s / Sta-Green Chevrolet that will be driven by Kyle Krisiloff this weekend, is one of four Hendrick Motorsports team members who are Michigan natives; Long hails from Lambertsville. … Kasey Kahne could be considered a favorite this weekend. In three NASCAR Busch Series starts, he has recorded one pole, two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He also holds the series qualifying record, turning a lap of 186.490 mph in 2003. … Justin Labonte (#44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) will attempt to post a better finish than his uncle Bobby at Michigan. In two previous NASCAR Busch Series meetings between the two this year, Bobby has the upper hand in both, finishing sixth at Lowe’s Motorspeedway and 16th at Chicago to Justin’s 22nd and 41st places in those events, respectively. … Kevin Hamlin will drive the #4 GEICO Dodge for Biagi Bros. Racing at Michigan. He has competed in three other races for the team this year, with his best finish (17th) in his debut at Pikes Peak. … The Marlin family would like to express its sincere thanks and appreciation for the many thoughts and prayers during its time of loss. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Clifton “Coo-Coo” Marlin’s name to the American Lung Association. Sterling Marlin will drive the #40 Monaco Coach Dodge at Michigan.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Shawna Robinson set two standards in the first NASCAR Busch Series race held at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 1992. One remains today. A series rookie that season, Robinson drove her Polaroid-sponsored Oldsmobile to an 11th-place finish in the Detroit Gasket 200, still the best finish for a female driver in any of the previous 13 events at the track. She bested the other rookie in the field, Ricky Craven, by two positions. Robinson’s effort remained for two years as the best among rookie drivers in the race until Dennis Setzer’s sixth-place finish in 1994. It would be three more years – 1997 – before rookie Steve Park would better both Setzer and Robinson’s results at Michigan with a victory.
What: Domino’s Pizza 250 (Race #25 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.
When: 3:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 20
Track Layout: 2-mile oval.
Race Length: 250 miles/125 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,125,988.
TV: TNT, 3:00 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Kyle Busch.
2004 Polesitter: None (weather).
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., Aug. 19: Practice – Noon – 1:10 p.m..; 2:50 – 3:50 p.m. Sat., Aug. 13: Qualifying – 10:00 a.m. Impound on pit road after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(8-17-2005)
- Stewart and Deiters penalized result from Watkins Glen Infractions: NASCAR announced today that two penalties have been issued to NASCAR Busch Series competitors as a result of rules infractions last weekend at Watkins Glen International.
Tony Stewart, driver of the #33 Old Spice Chevy, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for hitting another competitor’s car [#5 Vickers] after the completion of the race. That infraction is a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.
Lance Deiters, crew chief of the #83 Chevrolet driven by Wally Dallenbach, was fined $2,500 for an unapproved third gear transmission ratio. That infraction, discovered during opening-day inspection, is a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-CC (unapproved gear ratio) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(8-16-2005)
- Todd Bodine to run for Cicci/Kelly: Todd Bodine will test a Cicci/Kelly Racing NASCAR Busch Series car at Bristol, Tenn., Motor Speedway today. The Chemung native will make his return to the team he had much success with during the 1990s. The Mooresville, N.C.-based team is owned by Elmira native Frank Cicci Jr. and his partner, Jim Kelly, the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. Bodine will attempt to race the #84 Dollar General-sponsored Chevrolet at the Food City 250 at Bristol on Aug. 26. Cicci said it is a one-race deal for Bodine at this point. He’ll team with regular driver Randy LaJoie, who will drive the #34 Dollar General Chevrolet. “We had a deal where our sponsor wanted to run a second car and I didn’t hesitate to put Todd in it,” Cicci said. “He’s like a son to me. I hope to put a second Busch Series program together and have Todd run a limited schedule with us.” Bodine finished second in the Busch Series championship in 1997 with Cicci, when the team was known as Cicci-Welliver Racing. He has 10 Busch Series victories with the team.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-15-2005)
- Stewart vs Vickers: #33-Tony Stewart, who’d been on good behavior in a Nextel Cup hot streak that has seen him win four times in the past six races, drove into #5-Brian Vickers just after the two crossed the finish line. “I was as surprised as I’ve ever been in my life,” Vickers said. “I don’t know where that came from.” Said Stewart, “I got drove across the nose twice today. I figured I had to give it back.” Both drivers were summoned to the Busch Series hauler by series officials after the incident.(Syracuse Post Standard)(8-14-2005)
- Compton Rumors: Stacy Compton, current driver of the #59 ST Motorsports Ford, has been rumored to be a top contender for a Dodge backed entry in 2006. Another option via the grapevine, is that he would return to the Craftsman Truck Series in a Toyota Tundra. “I’ve stayed in touch with Dodge folks throughout the years. Someone in passing said a while ago, ‘We’d love to work with you again,’ but that was it and I haven’t talked to the Dodge people,” Compton said. As for his rumored move to a Toyota Tundra CTS effort, Compton says the speculation is blown out of proportion after a near miss, one-time deal in Indianapolis. Regarding his future in the Busch Series with his current team ST Motorsports, he and team owner Tad Geschickter are currently in negotiations to return him to the #59 seat next season.(BGNRacing.com)(8-14-2005)
- Newman wins at Watkins Glen: #39-Ryan Newman won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International for his 2nd career Busch Series win, Newman passed #55-Robby Gordon and led the final 8 laps. Rounding out the top-5 were #55-Robby Gordon, #5-Brian Vickers, #33-Tony Stewart and #8-Martin Truex. Six of the top seven were Cup regulars. Truex increased his points lead over Bowyer to 122. #5-Vickers led the most laps witrh 24. There 7 lead changes by 6 drivers. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps.
- Stewart wins pole at Watkins Glen: #33-Tony Stewart won the pole for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International with a speed of 121.069mph, followed by #6-Kasey Kahne, #55-Robby Gordon, #39-Ryan Newman and #8-Martin Truex, Jr. Missing the race were: #65-Stan Silva Jr.; #97-Todd Souza; #23-Mark Green; #72-Paul Bonacorsi; #08-Elliott Sadler; #52-Scott Turner; #0-Joe Fox; #73-Kerry Earnhardt; #63-Jeff Spraker; #26-Kim Crosby.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
BGNRacing.com – Qualifying Results
- Fellows in the #43 UPDATE: Ron Fellows, defending champion [from 2001] of Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen, but it’s been four year since the Busch Series last came to Watkins Glen. Fellows is driving for Mike Curb [#43 Dodge]. However, Hammondsport-based Bully Hill Vineyards will sponsor the Canadian road racer again, as the winery has since 1999.(Corning Leader)(8-11-2005)
UPDATE: Ron Fellows, winner in three of the last four NASCAR Busch Series events held at Watkins Glen, will pilot the #43 Chevrolet for Curb Agajanian Performance Group in Saturday’s Zippo 200. For a team likely to begin turning heads upon unloading from the truck Friday morning, the team is surprisingly still seeking additional sponsorship for Fellow’s quest to defend his title at Watkins Glen. If the Canadian racer is able to pull out the win and thereby put a victorious spotlight on Curb Agajanian Performance Group, it could offer the team the catalyst they need to find success in the remaining 11 races of the 2005 season. Fellows’ campaign for the win in Mexico City was cut short when his car was involved in an incident on lap 54. Fellows’ most recent NASCAR performance resulted in an eighth place finish in the Nextel Cup event at Infineon Raceway in June. While the team is currently seeking additional sponsorship, initial support from Bully Hill Vineyards enabled Fellows to return to Watkins Glen with Curb Agajanian Performance Group. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this exciting event once again”, said Lillian Taylor, President of Bully Hill Vineyards, “Ron Fellows is a phenomenal driver, particularly at The Glen. Anytime he’s on that track, he’s a force to be reckoned with.” Bully Hill Vineyards began as a small estate winery and has since flourished into one of New York States’ largest producers, distributing fun, unique wines to wine retailers and restaurants in 30 states. The winery overlooks Keuka Lake and has become a major area attraction. Bully Hill will be featured on the hood of the #43 Chevrolet driven by Fellows during Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race.(Motorsports Management)(8-13-2005)
- Said back in the #1 at Watkins Glen UPDATE: Boris Said will drive the #1 Phoenix Racing Ddoge at Watkins Glen, regular driver is Johnny Sauter.(NASCAR Scene Magazine)
AND Team Yellow Racing and Johnny Sauter welcome road-course specialist Boris Said back for Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Said will pilot the #1 Miccosukee Dodge and Sauter will be in the #09 Yellow Transportation Dodge. Both drivers were part of last week’s test at the track and team owner James Finch believes it could be another strong road course run for the multi-car effort. “Boris and Johnny were both really good in Mexico,” said Finch of Said’s 5th place showing and Sauter’s surprise 11th place run. “We built twin road course cars at the start of the season and I’d like to see them both in the top ten this weekend. It’s definitely something these two drivers can deliver.”(Team Yellow)(8-8-2005)
UPDATE: Actually Sauter is in the #1 and Said is in the #09.(8-13-2005)
- Get Well: to Steve “Big Guy” Helwig, Car Chief of the #22 AutoZone ppc Racing team of Kenny Wallace. He was involved in a motorcycle accident on his way to Watkins Glen and suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken clavicle.(8-13-2005)
- Jim Kelly named Grand Marshal of Watkins Glen Busch race: NFL Great Jim Kelly will be the Grand Marshall during this year’s Inaugural Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series Race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 13th. Although he has recently undergone a serious tragedy in his family, he wants to continue to spread the word about Hunter’s Hope Foundation and support his NASCAR Busch Series #34 Team, Dollar General/Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly. Kelly plans to address the crowd regarding the foundation and the importance of his efforts during pre-race ceremonies on Saturday. Kelly became involved with Cicci Racing earlier this year and continues to support the team’s efforts. He will give the famous command to start the Zippo 200 welcoming the NASCAR Busch Series back to The Glen for the first time since 2001.(WGI)(8-11-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: Watkins Glen
It’s not often that a defending race winner has to wait four years to challenge for his title. Ron Fellows (#43 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet) is in that very situation. The Canadian road-course ace won the last NASCAR Busch Series race held at Watkins Glen International in 2001. He is entered in the field of 54 drivers – no less than 11with extensive road-course experience – that marks the series’ return to scenic upstate New York. Watkins Glen joins the historic race in Mexico City in March as the second road-course event of the season, a series first. Fellows has three NASCAR Busch Series wins at The Glen, second only to Terry Labonte’s record of four. He also has captured two Busch Poles at the venue, and won the 2000 race from that position.
Fellows will be joined by other road-course specialists, among them Boris Said (#1 Miccosukee Dodge), Scott Pruett (#4 GEICO Dodge), Joe Fox (#0 Racegirl/Family Dollar Chevrolet), Chris Cook (#7 TradePortal Chevrolet) and Mexico City pole winner Jorge Goeters (#32 Canel’s Ford).
And road-course artists from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series such as Tony Stewart (#33 Old Spice Chevrolet) and Robby Gordon (#55 [#88?] Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet), who have won two and one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at The Glen, respectively, are also entered.
Despite what seems to be a deck stacked with experienced road-course drivers, NASCAR Busch Series regulars have their own agenda at The Glen, namely a tight championship race that requires a top finish regardless of the location.
Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Chevrolet), the defending series champion, comes to The Glen after winning at IRP last Saturday night. He increased his championship points lead over Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet) by 15, but is only 85 points ahead of Bowyer, who finished second at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Raybestos Rookie Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) was third at IRP and remains third in the points, only 19 behind Bowyer. At 104 points out, Sorenson is within striking distance of Truex. Truex and other series regulars showed their mettle in Mexico City against some of these same road-course specialists. Six of the top-10 finishers at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – including Truex, the winner – were NASCAR Busch Series regulars. And series regulars have their own record of success at The Glen. David Green (#27 Kleenex Ford) won the pole in 1996 and has three top-five finishes in eight races there. Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) has four top 10s, while Kenny Wallace (#22 AutoZone Ford) has two top-10 finishes.
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Does Mexico success translate at The Glen? … Only three drivers ranked in this week’s NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 – David Green, Kenny Wallace and Ashton Lewis Jr. (#25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) – have series experience at Watkins Glen. Each of the drivers ranked in the current championship standings, however, competed in Mexico City in March and half of them – Martin Truex Jr. (first), Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford – third), Clint Bowyer (seventh), Wallace (eighth) and Lewis (ninth) – finished in the event in the top 10. Reed Sorenson (14th) and Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockewell Automation Chevrolet – 15th) had solid finishes at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Only David Stremme (#14 U.S. NAVY Dodge – 22nd), Paul Menard (#11 Menard’s Chevrolet – 34th) and Green (35th) struggled at the track. “This will be my first NASCAR start at Watkins Glen,” Edwards said. “I have one road course under my belt, earlier this season in Mexico City, and we finished third. Watkins Glen presents some challenges; it has 11 turns with a variety of banking in the turns, ranging from 6 to 10 degrees. I love turning right and left during a race; it’s just awesome.”
Wolfe, Smith come home to upstate New York … Milford, N.Y. native Paul Wolfe, recently signed by FitzBradshaw Racing after starting the season with Evernham Motorsports, will drive the #12 Hot Tamales Dodge at Watkins Glen in his first NASCAR Busch Series start at the track. However, this will not be his first competition at the road course. Wolfe competed in the NASCAR Busch North Series for four years with as many appearances at Watkins Glen. He compiled one top five and two top-10 finishes from 2001-03. Meanwhile, Regan Smith (#58 Glynn Motorsports Dodge) is returning to his home state as well. Smith grew up in Cato, N.Y., approximately 70 miles northeast of The Glen. His parents, Ronnie and Lee, have been involved in NASCAR Busch Series ownership through the years, and still own a steel business in the Cato area. Smith is looking forward to a large fan base from upstate New York at the event. Smith attended the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving last week in preparation for this weekend’s race.
Goeters joined by Contreras, others from Mexico City race … Mexico City pole-winner Jorge Goeters will bring his road-course experience to Watkins Glen for Braun Racing this weekend. Goeters, who led 24 laps at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the #66 Brewco Motorsports Ford, was arguably in a position to win had his engine not expired, relegating him to 38th. He also competed for Braun at Pikes Peak last month, finishing 24th. Goeters will be joined by fellow Mexico City native Carlos Contreras, who also participated in the Mexico event. Contreras will drive the #40 Gould’s Pumps Dodge for FitzBradshaw Racing, the same car he piloted in Mexico where he finished 36th. Handling problems ended his day. Other road-course specialists who ran in Mexico and are entered at Watkins Glen include Ron Fellows (41st in Mexico), Boris Said (fifth), Chris Cook (26th) and Robby Gordon (40th). Stan Silva Jr. (#65 A&S Metals/S Silva Trucking Chevrolet) and Todd Souza (#97 Central Coast Cabinets Chevrolet) attempted but did not qualify in Mexico. Additionally, Jose Ramirez, who finished 31st in the Mexico event, is entered in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race on Sunday.
Kelly, Hunter’s Hope continue to battle disease … Hunter Kelly, the eight-year-old son of Frank Cicci Racing team ownership partner and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, passed away last Friday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., after battling the terminal disease Krabbe Leukodystrophy since he was first diagnosed at sixth months of age. “Everyone on our race team, their families, our sponsors and those inside the NASCAR family who know Jim share in the Kelly family’s grief,” Cicci said. “We are deeply saddened with their loss and our thoughts and prayers, we hope, will provide support in this difficult time.” A service for Hunter was held Tuesday, and the Kelly family has asked in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the “Hunter’s Hope Foundation” at www.Huntershope.org. “Since he retired from professional football, Jim and his wife Jill have dedicated themselves towards Hunter and in the establishment of the Hunter’s Hope Foundation,” Cicci said. To date, nearly $4 million has been raised for research since the Kellys founded the organization. Two-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion Randy LaJoie drives the team’s #34 Dollar General Chevrolet.
Chevrolet establishes year’s biggest lead in Bill France Performance Cup standings … Martin Truex Jr.’s series-leading sixth win of the season last Saturday at IRP broke a two-race victory drought for Chevrolet, and allowed the manufacturer to put three wins between it and second-place Ford in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. The lead is also the largest of the year between Chevy and Ford. Chevrolet has 161 points to complement its 11 wins. Ford has eight wins and 150 points, while Dodge has four wins and 126 points. Chevrolet also has the edge in the NASCAR Busch Series’ return to Watkins Glen, having won nine of the previous 11 races there, including eight in succession.
This Week’s Series Leaders … Through 23 races of the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season:
• Points leader – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 3,286
• Money won – Martin Truex Jr. Total: $1,161,461
• Laps led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 608
• Miles led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 886.63
• Victories – Martin Truex Jr. (6)
• Poles – Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne. (3)
• Top-five finishes – Martin Truex Jr. (12)
• Top-10 finishes – Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. (15)
• Races led – Martin Truex Jr. (14)
• Weeks in Top 10 – Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. (23)
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
David Green and Jason Keller are the active drivers with the most NASCAR Busch Series starts at Watkins Glen with eight apiece. … In addition to Ron Fellows and Green, Joe Nemechek (#87 CellularOne Chevrolet) and Scott Pruett are active Busch Pole winners at the track; Nemecheck claimed the position in 1997 while Pruett is the defending polesitter, having captured the top starting spot the last time the series raced at The Glen in 2001. … Fellows led the most laps (178), and is first among active drivers with four top-five finishes. His 6.0 average finish is third all-time. Fellows claimed his first NASCAR Busch Series win at The Glen in 1998 and his first series pole there in 1999.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Jason Leffler has been released from the #11 Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. A combination of drivers, including Terry Labonte, the all-time NASCAR Busch Series winner at Watkins Glen, along with series teammates Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley (#18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) will share time in the car throughout the remainder of the season. “In looking toward next year, J.J. and Denny will get some valuable seat time at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup level that will allow us to build the #11 into a race-winning contender for 2006 and beyond,” said JGR President J.D. Gibbs.
… Paul Menard will attempt to make his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start at The Glen. Menard, currently 10th in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings, made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at this track in 2003, finishing 29th.
… Martin Truex Jr. will compete in his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, but he has three previous NASCAR Busch North Series starts to his credit. There, Truex finished fifth in a 2001 event, but didn’t fare as well in 2000 (29th) and ’02 (32nd). … The NASCAR Busch Series has raced on three road courses in its history – Road Atlanta (1986-87), Watkins Glen and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
… Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s lone road-course victory came in the NASCAR Busch Series at Watkins Glen in 1999, while 1988 NASCAR Champion Bill Elliott won his only NASCAR Busch Series race at The Glen in 1993.
… Kenny Wallace surpassed the $5 million mark in series winnings with his 11th-place finish at IRP. Jason Keller, the series’ all-time money-winner, is $39,595 away from the $10 million mark in earnings.
… Matt Kobyluck (#50 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet) will attempt to make his NASCAR Busch Series season debut at Watkins Glen. Kobyluck, a three-time winner in the NASCAR Busch North Series this year, has made one other NASCAR Busch Series start, finishing 34th at New Hampshire last season. The Zippo 200 is one of two races Kobyluck will attempt in the NASCAR Busch Series this year. He will head to Charlotte after the Busch North Series regular season ends.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen International in 1991 was the third road-racing event in series history. Two previous road races were held at Road Atlanta in 1986 and ‘87. Included in the field for all three races was Patty Moise, a NASCAR Busch Series regular who gained considerable road-racing experience competing with her father, Milton, in International Motor Sports Association competition during the 1980s. Moise qualified in the top 10 for all three NASCAR Busch Series road events, and claimed a ninth-place starting spot at Watkins Glen. She drove a family-owned Buick to a 20th-place finish, one lap off the pace. Terry Labonte won the 150-miler from the pole, while NASCAR Busch Series rookie Jeff Gordon was sixth.
Labonte, a two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, would go on to become the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins at The Glen with four, yet did not post a win in 18 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races there. Gordon, who has won four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series titles and is the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins leader at The Glen; He also has four wins, but not in his two NASCAR Busch Series tries. Both drivers are entered in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race set for Sunday.
Kim Crosby (#26 Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Chevrolet) will attempt to follow in Moise’s footsteps and qualify for a spot in the NASCAR Busch Series’ return to The Glen on Saturday.
What: Zippo 200 (Race #24 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.
When: 2:10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 13.
Track Layout: 2.45-mile road course.
Race Length: 200.9 miles/82 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,057,242.
TV: NBC, 2:00 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2001 Winner: Ron Fellows.
2001 Polesitter: Scott Pruett.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., Aug. 12: Practice – Noon – 1:10 p.m..; 2:50 – 3:50 p.m. Sat., Aug. 13: Qualifying – 9:00 a.m. Impound on pit road after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(8-10-2005)
- Spraker to attempt Watkins Glen race: The return of the NASCAR Busch Series to Watkins Glen for the first time since 2001 provides an opportunity for Jeff Spraker to come back to his home state to compete in the August 13th event. Spraker who relocated from upstate New York to Mooresville, NC in 2000, in order to expand his fabrication/consulting business, is looking forward to running on the historic road course. Spraker started off the 2005 season at Daytona with a strong run in the ARCA Re/Max Series event, finishing 9th in his fourth appearance in that race. Since that time, Jeff has been retained as a consultant for several Busch teams, in a crew chief capacity, while his shop performs fabrication/repair work for a variety of Busch, ARCA and Truck series teams. The Spraker operation is also committed to the complete building, preparation and set-up of cars for the #30 Busch team sponsored by Smith & Wesson. This team is running an 8 race schedule in 2005 with drivers, Scott Riggs, Mike Bliss and Ron Hornaday. At the track, Jeff acts as crew chief for this team which is owned by SKI Motorsports.
At Watkins Glen, Spraker will field his own entry for this Busch Series event, with the #63 car prepared at his North Carolina shop. Spraker, who began his racing career in the NASCAR Modified Division, is from Latham, NY, near the state capital of Albany. He has campaigned cars in several NASCAR series including the Featherlite Modified Tour, the Busch North Series, the Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series. His base of operation from 1979 to 2000 was in Schenectady, NY, where he started his business and housed his race cars.
After making the move to North Carolina in 2000, Jeff devoted a substantial amount of time to the establishment of his business, which in turn, allowed less time for his own racing efforts. However, the date on the Busch Series schedule for “The Glen” was just too much for this driver to resist. States Spraker: “I’ve concentrated on building my business in North Carolina for the past few years, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run that road course – it’s one of my favorite tracks and I find it more challenging every time I run there.” Jeff has actually run in four different series on this demanding road course including the Busch Series, the Craftsman Truck Series, the Busch North Series, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Spraker is hopeful that his past experience on this road course will be beneficial in attempting to qualify for the 43 car field. The #63 Spraker Monte Carlo will carry sponsorship from Assembly Products of Westfield, WI and Every& McCabe Construction of Daytona Beach, FL.(PR)(8-10-2005)
- Double Duty for RYR at Watkins Glen: Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler will both compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, in an effort to get more seat time in preparation for Sunday’s event. Jarrett will drive the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, while Sadler will race a specially-designed #08 Robert Yates Racing Ford. The car will be a tribute to all of the RYR sponsors, featuring a split design with UPS on the passenger side of the car and M&M’S on the driver side of the car.(Elevation Group PR)(8-9-2005)
- Burton back in the #21 at Watkins Glen Busch race: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy in the Cup series, will be pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen International Saturday, August 13. In his two previous starts in the #21 Chevy earlier this season (Darlington and Bristol), Burton has two second-place finishes.(RCR PR)(8-9-2005)
- Busch North driver to attempt Watkins Glen: UPDATE: Matt Kobyluck of Uncasville, CT will attempt to make his NASCAR Busch Series season debut at Watkins Glen International road course when the series embarks on the 2.45-mile road course for the Zippo 200. Kobyluck, a three-time winner in the NASCAR Busch North Series this year, tested his Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet there on August 1st and feels confident for a solid run. “It’s going to be a pretty exciting weekend for us,” Kobyluck said. “We left the test session feeling extremely confident. We stayed on course all day, and I hit my marks every time. I’ve always loved running at Watkins Glen so when they took it off the Busch North schedule, it was the first thing that came to our mind when deciding which Busch Series races we’d go to.” Kobyluck made one Busch Series start at New Hampshire International Speedway last year, and finished 34th after an accident cut his day short. A practice crash at Dover in September of 2004 halted any chances of the Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet making it into the field. Both Busch Series attempts last year were coupled with Busch North Series dates. Kobyluck will race in a Busch North Series event at Stafford Motor Speedway the Wednesday before the Zippo 200. Kobyluck won his first race of the season at the ½-mile oval in June, and hopes to be carrying another trophy aboard the team’s hauler when they head to Watkins Glen. The Zippo 200 is one of two races that Kobyluck will attempt in the NASCAR Busch Series during the 2005 season. In addition, Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Casino Race Team will head to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte this fall after the Busch North Series regular season is complete.(Matt Kobyluck PR)(8-9-2005)
ORIGINAL: hearing Busch North Series driver, Matt Kobyluck will attempt to qualify for the Watkins Glen Busch Series race in the #50 Mohegan Sun Chevy. Kobyluck has made one start in the Busch Series, starting 29th and finishing 34th at New Hampshire in 2004.(8-5-2005)
- Cook to run double at Watkins Glen: Christine Marie Motorsports announced that TradePortal, a leading direct market access software innovator for the financial services industry, will be the primary sponsor for driver Chris Cook during the race weekend of August 12-14 in Watkins Glen, NY. Cook will race in the Busch Series” Zippo 200 on August 13 and the NEXTEL Cup Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen on August 14. The Watkins Glen events will be Cook”s third and fourth NASCAR races in 2005; following a 26th place finish (qualified 16th) at the Busch Series Mexico 200 in March and a 28th place finish (qualified 28th) at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June- his debut race in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Cook will again drive for NEMCO Motorsports, under a 2005 partnership with Christine Marie Motorsports. Watkins Glen will mark the first foray into auto racing sponsorship for TradePortal, headquartered in Irvine, California. “While some may view financial services software and a NASCAR team as unlikely partners, the corollaries of what makes each a success are strikingly the same,” said David Smithey, Trade Portal CEO. “Speed, performance, reliability, control and team are all essentials for success in both racing and securities trading. Nothing drives this message better than what happens at a NASCAR race.” Cook is a former road race instructor who worked with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney and Tim Fedewa among others at the Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about Chris Cook and Christine Marie Motorsports, please visit www.christinemariemotorsports.com.(Intellection PR)(8-8-2005)
- Pruett to drive the #4 at Watkins Glen: Scott Pruett is scheduled to drive the #4 Biagi Brothers Racing #4 Dodge at Watkins Glen.(NASCAR Scene Magazine)(8-8-2005)
- Dallenbach back in the seat: NBC/TNT broadcaster, Wally Dallenbach Jr. is scheduled to drive a #83 Chevy for Kevin Harvick Inc. at Watkins Glen.(NASCAR Scene Magazine)(8-8-2005)
- Krisiloff back in the #5 at MIS: Kyle Krisiloff is scheduled to be back in the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Michigan.(NASCAR Scene Magazine)(8-8-2005)
- Sports Car driver in the #0 at Watkins Glen: Professional sports car racer Joe Fox is set to pilot the #0 Family Dollar Stores / Race Girl Chevy in the Busch Series event at Watkins Glen on August 13th. Fox who will be replacing the team’s regular driver Kertus Davis is one of the select road racing experts that NASCAR teams bring in to help with valuable team owner points when the teams go to the scheduled road course events. A native of Hickory, NC, and current Charlotte resident he began his career in 1990 while he was still in high school. “I’ve driven and raced just about everything,” explains Fox. And when he says “everything”, he’s not exaggerating. The list of Joe’s rides includes everything from Datsun 510s and Formula cars in Europe all the way up to Trans-Am cars and Historic Winston Cup cars. Along the way, the young driver has picked up numerous awards and praise from peers, including Professional Sportscar’s Rising Star award, which he received while racing for Mazda. With the Panoz Racing School since 1999 and the Porsche Driving Experience since 2000, Joe raced a Porsche 996 with G&W Motorsports in the Grand American Road Racing Series, and a Lamborghini Murcielago GTR for Krohn-Barbour Racing in the American Le Mans Series in 2004. In addition to piloting the #0 in the Watkins Glen race, for 2005 Fox is again competing in Grand-Am with LNS Motorsports in another Porsche 996. “This is absolutely what I love doing,” says Fox. “I can’t imagine not being behind the wheel at this point in my life. I’m extremely excited that Davis Motorsports has given me this opportunity and for our new sponsor Family Dollar Stores. I am happy to represent Family Dollar and all of everyone involved is extremely excited about this and that is what it is all about.” Fox has earned a reputation for his skill and precision, particularly on road courses like the Watkins Glen track. “He’s someone to look out for in the months and years ahead,” says Johnny Davis car owner of the #0 Family Dollar Stores / Race Girl Chevrolet Monte Carlo. When he’s not on the track, 33-year old Fox enjoys mountain bike riding, remote control cars, bird hunting and horseback riding.(PR)(8-8-2005)
- Sauter to do double duty…racing and…baseball: Tim Sauter has signed a contract with the Gary SouthShore RailCats of the Northern League of Professional Baseball. The driver of the Lester Buildings #56 Chevrolet will make his professional baseball debut on August 4th, 2005 at U.S. Steel Yard when the RailCats take on the Kansas City T-Bones at 7:00pm (CDT). Sauter will start the game as the designated hitter and lead off the bottom of the first inning. It will be a big weekend for Sauter as he attempts to find success at the ball bark and on the racetrack. After joining the RailCats and taking on the T-Bones, Sauter will then wheel the Lester Buildings Chevrolet around Indianapolis Raceway Park in the NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200 on Saturday August 6th at 7:15pm (CDT). “I have always been a huge baseball fan and look forward to doing my part to help the RailCats win the Northern League title,” said Sauter. In order to prepare for his professional debut, Sauter will take part in a workout at GMC Stadium, home of the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League, on Friday, July 29 at 8:00 am (CDT). Grizzlies players and coaches will be on hand to work with Sauter as he participates in batting practice and in a simulated game environment. The RailCats are a minor league baseball team based in Northwest Indiana and are owned by Victory Sports Group, a sports management and development company. Victory Sports Group also coordinates sponsorship, marketing and media relations for Mac Hill Motorsports.
The RailCats are currently tied for first place in their division and have a record of 32-25 in 2005. Their home ballpark, U. S. Steel Yard, is a 6,000 seat stadium that was constructed in 2002 at a cost of $45 million.(Victory Sports Group/Mac Hill Motorsports)(7-26-2005)
UPDATE: Tim Sauter followed through on his quest to play in professional baseball game, batting second in the bottom half of the first inning against Kansas City T-Bones starting pitcher Greg Bicknell, who leads the Northern League in victories with 11 wins. RailCats Centerfielder Anthony Iapoce led off the RailCats half of the first with a fly ball out to right. The US Steel Yard PA announcer then introduced the next batter, “Now batting, driver of the NASCAR Busch Series Lester Buildings #56 Lester Buildings Chevrolet, Tim Sauter.” The crowd of 3,291, gave their one-day RailCat a warm welcome, rising to their feet to see his one, and most likely only professional at-bat. Sauter took the first pitch, a fastball down the middle of the plate for strike one. “I really didn’t see that one,” commented Sauter. The next pitch, Sauter swung and missed at another fastball. Facing an 0-2 count, Sauter readied himself for what everyone thought would be the final pitch he would see. Bicknell offered a curve ball, that Sauter was able to adjust to, and hit foul down the first base line. The contact brought Sauter’s teammates in the dugout to the railing to see if he could pull off the impossible. Bicknell would have none of it, throwing Sauter an 86 mph fastball. He swung and missed for strike three. Upon returning to the dugout, Sauter was swamped by his teammates with high-fives, handshakes, congratulations and thoughts of what almost was after making contact with the 0-2 curve ball. Commented Sauter after the game: “This was an unbelievable experience. My RailCat teammates were great, even making feel as one of the gang, with the rookie hazing.” Sauter received the ‘ole “rocks in the cleats” trick, got a lesson on cleaning his cleats and was ribbed by teammates looking to exchange Sauter’s at-bat for a drive in his Lester Buildings #56 Chevrolet. Sauter continued: “A really appreciate the RailCats for working with me on this and allowing me to be a RailCat for a day. I have a new appreciation for ballplayers and what they go through to play this game at a professional level. I’ll watch baseball with a much different perspective now.”(Mac Hill Motorsports/Motorsports Development)(8-8-2005)
- Evernham talks about 2006 Busch plans, will run #9 in 2006: Ray Evernham said in a Dodge PR: “We don’t have a complete plan yet because our Busch plans aren’t 100% set. You’ll see Kasey in the #6 car, which will be the #9 car because I think Jack and I made a deal to turn the numbers around. Right now we’re working on who the other driver would be and where we’re going to be with Erin. We’re talking to some people right now that would take her full time and that would be a separate program. The best case scenario, Kasey is in our Busch car most of the time and Erin has her own full time program. Second case scenario would be that Kasey and Erin split the Busch car. I don’t plan on doing a second full-time deal, so it would have to be in partnership with somebody else.”
“Being careful there, I guess I would have to look behind my back the way they deal sometimes, but that’s a whole other story. Everything we do is straight up. I think they tried as hard as they could to distract us this year. In the end, everybody knew that we were right. Kasey honored his commitments. I feel like a lot of that was about someone’s personal ego cost a lot of people a lot of money and a lot of time. Now we’re past it and in the end the best thing we can do is go on and be together a long time, win a lot of races and win the championship. Right now, that’s what we’re going to concentrate on.”
“Anthony (Foyt) is a guy that tested for us at Kentucky. I’ve known his grandfather for some time. I’d love to run him some more. We’re going to try to run him in a couple of Busch races this year. Every time we get something going it seems like we have a scheduling conflict. Anthony is certainly a candidate for the Evernham driver development program in the future based on that little bit of time we’ve been around him. I don’t have any set concrete plans for him yet, but we’re working with our partners on coming up with a true set driver development program that we can continue to run places and get people experience. I think Anthony’s a prime candidate being 21 years old and having as much experience as he has. Hopefully we can find something to let him drive.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge PR)(8-7-2005)
- Truex Jr. wins at IRP: #8-Martin Truex Jr. won the rain-delayed Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park for his 6th win of the season and 12th of his career. #2-Clint Bowyer finished second followed by #41-Reed Sorenson, #35-Jason Keller and #14-David Stremme. Truex Jr. increases his points lead to 85. There were 6 cautions for 49 laps and 5 lead changes among 5 drivers.
Race results at:
- Sorenson wins pole at IRP: #41-Reed Sorenson won the pole for the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park with a speed of 110.943mph. The rest of the top-5 are: #14-David Stremme, #32-Ron Hornaday, #46-Robert Pressley and #6-Tracy Hines. Points leader, #8-Martin Truex Jr. will start 9th. Missing the race were: #9-Wayne Edwards; #53-Brad Teague; #26-Kim Crosby; #91-Todd Shafer.
See Starting lineups:
BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
BGNRacing.com – Qualifying Results
- Setzer to practice for Stewart at IRP: As a result of weather forcing cancellation of all on-track activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Dennis Setzer, current NASCAR CraftsmanTruck Series points leader will practice the #33 James Dean Chevy for Tony Stewart Saturday at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Setzer will climb in the cockpit of the Kevin Harvick, Inc. owned car to assist the team with setup for Saturday night’s Busch Series Kroger 200 while Stewart is at IMS practicing and qualifying his #20 Home Depot Chevy for Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Setzer is the driver of the #46 Chevy fielded by Morgan Dollar Motorsports and won the Truck Series race at IRP on Friday night.(GM Racing PR)(8-6-2005)
- East to debut in the CTS; tested a Brewco car: Reigning USAC National Midget Car Series champion Bobby East will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut on Friday at Indianapolis Raceway Park when he will attempt to qualify a third truck for Roush Racing as part of Ford Racing’s driver development program. East was unable to get some seat time behind the No. 33 F-150 at IRP in preparation for [Friday night’s race], but did turn about 100 laps last Monday in a Busch Series car thanks to Brewco Motorsports. After splitting from his USAC team – Lewis Racing – last week, East will be using some of his open weekends to get ready for a possible full season of NASCAR Busch or Truck Series competition next season.(RacingOne via BGNRacing)(8-5-2005)
- Dollar General Team to honor Kelly’s son at IRP: The #34 Dollar General NASCAR Busch Series Race Team, members of Frank Cicci Racing, sponsors and driver Randy LaJoie will pay tribute to the life of Hunter Kelly Saturday during the running of the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Hunter, son of Frank Cicci Racing team ownership partner and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, passed away on Friday morning in Buffalo, NY. Hunter, 8, had been battling the terminal disease Krabbe Leukodystrophy since he was first diagnosed at 6 months of age. The #34 Dollar General Chevrolet driven by LaJoie will honor Hunter with a special decal on the race car while team members will display special patches on their uniforms during the race.
“Everyone on our race team, their families, our sponsors and those inside the NASCAR family who know Jim share in the Kelly family’s grief. We are deeply saddened with their loss and our thoughts and prayers we hope will provide support in this difficult time”, said team owner Frank Cicci. “Since he retired from professional football, Jim and his wife Jill have dedicated themselves towards Hunter and in the establishment of the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. We hope that the small things we can do this weekend here in Indianapolis, and during the remainder of the season, to perpetuate Hunter’s life will provide added exposure for Hunter’s Hope”.
The Kelly family has requested a private viewing, but a celebration of Hunter’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 9, at 1 p.m. at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to consider a donation to the Hunter’s Hope Foundation at www.Huntershope.org.(On Track Marketing)(8-5-2005)
- Sad News: Hunter James Kelly entered Heaven this morning, Friday, August 5, 2005. Hunter, the beloved 8-½ year old son of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife Jill, staged a valiant lifelong battle with Krabbe Leukodystrophy. Hunter was the longest living survivor of infantile Krabbe disease and served as an inspiration to thousands of other children and their families. The Hunter’s Hope Foundation was founded in his name to fund research into the fatal disease and to offer hope and support to its victims worldwide. Jim and Jill Kelly remain grateful for your continued prayers and support and ask that you respect their privacy as they mourn the sudden loss of their beloved son and offer comfort to his sisters Erin and Camryn.
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. The Kelly Family has requested a private family viewing. A celebration of Hunter Kelly’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 at 1pm at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.
Aside from his activities with the Hunter’s Hope Foundation and the Kelly for Kids Charities, Jim Kelly is also part of the ownership group of Frank Cicci Racing, a NASCAR Busch Series #34 race team sponsored by the Dollar General Corporation. The team is in Indianapolis this weekend for the running of the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. 2-time NASCAR Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie is the team’s driver..(8-5-2005)
- Miller looking to move to Busch: Chase Miller, who captured the attention of Kenny Wallace on Friday night while running the ARCA race at Gateway, has begun preliminary talks with a couple of Busch Series teams. FitzBradshaw Racing and Team Rensi have apparently expressed interest in the 18-year-old Georgia driver. Miller was a serious contender for the win late in the race, in only his second ARCA start, until he experienced transmission problems.(BGNRacing.com)(8-5-2005)
- Brian Tyler to run at IRP for Woodland: Brian Tyler, a two-time USAC Sprint Car Champion, will be returning to his former hometown and IRP to run in the NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200 on Saturday night. Tyler will be driving the Eagle Castle Winery #80 Chevrolet for Rich Woodland Racing. Eagle Castle Winery of Paso Robles, CA will be making its first sponsorship into the NASCAR Busch Series. The newly constructed winery is already known for producing award winning Merlots and Syrahs. “We want to thank Eagle Castle Winery for partnering up with Rich Woodland Racing,” said RWR team owner and former Busch Series competitor Rich Woodland. “We’re introducing a competitive winery into the competitive arena of motorsports, and I hope we’ll be able to shine as well as Eagle Castle’s award winning wines this weekend at IRP,” added Woodland. While this will be Tyler’s first NASCAR Busch Series appearance of 2005, the Parma, MI native has been busy driving USAC Sprint Cars, Silver Crown Cars, and in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. “I guess I had to move to Charlotte to get more rides in the Midwest,” said Tyler, who is a veteran of the Indy Racing League. “My wife and kids have enjoyed the travel this summer, though it’s been tough to keep up with the lawn back home. We’ve had some good runs at Toledo and Berlin in the ARCA cars, and Calvin Humphries (crew chief) is hopeful that we’re able to transfer what we’ve learned at those races into our Busch car,” said Tyler who finished second in the ARCA race at Berlin.(Rich Woodland Racing PR)(8-5-2005)
- Foyt IV to meet with Evernham about Busch ride, Larry back in 2006?: IRL driver A.J. Foyt IV said he plans to meet with NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham this week with hopes of finalizing a deal to run in the Busch Series next season. “I’ll really pumped about it,” said Foyt, who finished 12th in the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday. “I’m trying to stay patient and wait for it to come together. If it gets worked out where I could run a full Busch schedule next year, I probably would just run over there. Ray still would let me run the Indy 500.” The 21-year-old Foyt, who goes by Anthony, has raced in the IRL the last three years for his legendary grandfather, A.J. Foyt Jr. Foyt Jr. didn’t want to discuss Anthony’s possible deal with Evernham Motorsports. “A.J.’s really not a part of this,” Anthony said. “It’s my deal, and he gave me the OK to pursue it.” Anthony said he hopes to drive a few Busch events this season, including the O’Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 5. Anthony may be racing against his uncle next season. Anthony said Larry Foyt, a TCU grad, is close to working out a full-time Busch sponsorship for 2006.(Dallas Morning News)(8-4-2005)
- Ford Racing Female Driver Development Program announced: Ford Racing will announce the creation of a Female Driver Development Program today in Indianapolis. Ford is partnering with Clorox and ST Motorsports [#46,#47,#59 in Busch Series] in the initiative.(Augusta Chronicle)
UPDATE: Ford Racing has joined forces with Clorox and ST Motorsports to create the Clorox/Ford Racing Female Driver Development Program, the first time a corporate sponsor and manufacturer have worked together to develop young, diverse talent. This multi-year commitment, announced here today at Lyn St. James’ “Women in the Winner’s Circle” luncheon, is designed to develop a driver in USAC and graduate her to a NASCAR Busch Series team campaigned by ST Motorsports.
Alison MacLeod of Ontario, Canada, who two weeks ago scored her first career USAC Ford Focus Midget Series victory, and Destiney Hays of California are the first two drivers selected to participate in the program, which will be directed by noted chassis builder and USAC team owner Bob East. East, whose son Bobby will make his NASCAR debut Friday evening in a Roush Racing Ford F-150 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, has developed some of NASCAR’s biggest names over the years. Ford Racing has a long history in developing diverse driver talent. Ford was an early supporter of Lyn St. James’ road racing career in the 1980s, as well as a supporter of prominent African-American driver Willy T. Ribbs’ road racing career in that same time frame. More recently, Ford supported Danica Patrick early in her career when she was racing in Europe, and last year did a formal test of four young women — including MacLeod — as part of a driver development pilot program. Currently, the company is also supporting the efforts of Michel Jourdain Jr.(Ford Racing/Campbell Company)(8-4-2005)
- Triple Duty on Tap for Hines at IRP: For many of the competitors in the Truck Series, it takes them three weeks in the middle of the busiest stretch of the season to run in three races. For Tracy Hines, he’ll take the green flag three times in three successive nights during the Kroger Speedfest at Indianapolis Raceway Park. In addition to his full-time duties behind the wheel of the #13 ThorSport Racing/David Zoriki Chevrolet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Hines will also pilot the #37 Indiana Underground Beast/Mopar in Thursday’s USAC Silver Crown action, and then stick around an extra night to drive Ray Evernham’s #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series race. “This is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year,” Hines said. “It’s so close to home, and it’s one of my favorite racetracks. It just seems like everything in the world of racing is going on in Indianapolis this weekend, and it’s pretty cool to be a part of everything we’re doing.” On Saturday night, Hines is scheduled to make his second start with Ray Evernham’s #6 Busch Series team.(ThorSport Racing PR)(8-4-2005)
- More changes at FitzBradshaw: Hearing that FitzBradshaw Racing Director of Marketing, Gus Larkin has left the team.(8-4-2005)
- Contreras secures seat for The Glen UPDATE: Carlos Contreras has secured a seat in the Busch series’ return to Watkins Glen on August 13th. Contreras obtained his first NASCAR Top 10 at the Glen in 2000 while running in the Craftsman Truck Series. An announcement regarding the team Contreras will run with will be made soon. For now Contreras continues to look for a Cup ride to complete his weekend at the Glen’s challenging road course.(VMG PR)(7-7-2005)
UPDATE: FitzBradshaw Racing has announced Carlos Contreras as the driver of the #40 Goulds Pumps Dodge Charger for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 13. It will be the second time Contreras, the most accomplished Hispanic driver in NASCAR, has driven for FitzBradshaw Racing this season. (FBR PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-4-2005)
- #64 Crew Chief Bainbridge Fined: NASCAR officials have announced that Blake Bainbridge, crew chief for the #64 Dodge driven by Rusty Wallace in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $500 for rules violations that occurred last week at Gateway International Raceway. During opening day inspection on July 29, the #64 was found to have an unapproved window net. The net was too small, a violation of Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series rule book. That infraction also violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).(NASCAR PR)(8-2-2005)
- NASCAR Busch Series News and Notes: IRP
Indianapolis Raceway Park sits some fifteen minutes west of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But IRP is a storied track in its own right, one with NASCAR history tied directly to it. The NASCAR Busch Series has raced at IRP since the series’ inception in 1982. The exciting racing each year on the .686-mile oval surrounded by packed grandstands was a precursor to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series arrival at the “big track” in 1994. IRP hosts the NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200 this Saturday night, the 24th consecutive season that the track – and the race sponsor – has welcomed the series to central Indiana. History shows names such as Morgan Shepherd claiming the most series wins at IRP (three), Jimmy Hensley still holding the race record of 96.923 mph set in 1995 and likewise remaining intact is David Green’s (#27 Kleenex Ford) qualifying record of 113.461 established in his series championship year of 1994.
Nine winners at IRP have gone on to claim NASCAR Busch Series championships in that same season. And recent history shows three IRP victors/series champions – Kevin Harvick, 2001; Greg Biffle, 2002 and Brian Vickers, 2003 – have done so in the last four years. Additionally, a NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos rookie has won at IRP twice in the last five seasons. Ron Hornaday Jr. (#32 WINFUEL Chevrolet) was a rookie winner in 2000 as was Kyle Busch last year.
Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Dodge) follows in the recent history footsteps of younger drivers finding success at the venerable track. A rookie, he is third in the championship rankings, only 84 points behind leader and defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet). Sorenson, who won at Gateway last week, made his series debut at IRP one year ago, starting third and finishing 13th. Two other rookies – Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) and Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), come to IRP ranked in the Top 10. Edwards is fourth while Hamlin is sixth. Both will be making their first NASCAR Busch Series IRP starts.
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Truex’s lead getting pressure from Bowyer, Sorenson … Following 22 of the NASCAR Busch Series’ 35 races this season, the championship rankings are as close as they’ve been since Milwaukee, where only 41 points separated leader Martin Truex Jr. and third-place Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet). Truex took his first points lead of the season following that race. He remains in first place heading to IRP, but Bowyer, now in second, and Reed Sorenson in third, are only 70 and 84 points behind the defending series champion, respectively. Truex was 142 points in front of Bowyer – his biggest lead of the season – after his win at New Hampshire three weeks ago. Sorenson led the points for two weeks earlier this season, and closed the gap on Truex considerably following his second win of the year last week at Gateway. The top three haven’t been this close at this stage of the season since 2003 when only 35 points stood between first-place Scott Riggs and third-place Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford). Already this year, first through third places have been separated by 94 points or less eight times.
Stremme hopes for hometown success … David Stremme (#14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) returns to his home state for this weekend’s race at IRP, and looks to capitalize on one of the strongest runs of his career in front of family and friends. Stremme, from South Bend, Ind., led 54 laps last Saturday at Gateway in perhaps the strongest car in the field before tire issues forced him out of the lead on Lap 138 and a disappointing 19th-place finish. Currently ninth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, the 28-year-old has experience at IRP, having won ASA and late-model races at the track earlier in his career. His father, Lou and mother, Cindy, were both racers and Stremme won his first race in 1993 in his mother’s Street Stock car. “I’m really excited to be racing at home this weekend,” he said. “I have a pretty big fan base in that area and all those people as well as my family and friends will be at the track to cheer me on. Anytime you can race in front of your hometown crowd you push yourself to do better. Indianapolis has such a rich racing history of its own and for me, IRP has been good luck. I’m very comfortable with the track. Winning this weekend near my hometown, where it all started for me, would be really special. “
Others back home in Indiana, too … NASCAR Busch Series director Joe Balash is a native of Hobart, Ind., and grew up watching races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRP. Tony Stewart (#33 James Dean Chevrolet) was born in Rushville and now resides in Columbus, Ind. He is entered in his first NASCAR Busch Series race since Charlotte. Logansport, Ind., native Boston Reid (#57 Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet), 22, looks to make his seventh start of the season. And 19-year-old Joel Kaufman (#12 Supercuts Dodge) will attempt to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at IRP. Kaufman grew up in LaGrange, Ind., and was 16 years old in 2002 when he won the Sunoco Super Series Championship at IRP. Now 19, the Indiana native is currently sixth in the Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division standings. Green continues standings climb … David Green remains on a second-half hot streak. Green won at Pikes Peak two weeks ago, and posted a fourth-place finish at Gateway last Saturday. He has picked up four places in the NASCAR Busch Series standings in that span, from 11th to seventh, his highest ranking in the points since he finished seventh overall last season. Green has been in the Top 10 in the championship standings in seven of his nine fulltime seasons. “We’ve had a few awesome weekends in a row,” he said. “I feel like we’re really picking up some momentum in the second half of the season. We’re taking the same car that we’ve used for the past two races. It brought us two top-fives, so hopefully we can keep that streak alive at IRP.”
Keller a quiet contender … Jason Keller has had two of this three worst finishes of the season in his last two races – 36th at Pikes Peak and 33rd at Gateway. Those results have caused the 34-year-old native of Greenville, S.C., to fall out of the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10, where he was a fixture for seven consecutive weeks before his result at Pikes Peak. Currently 11th, Keller might not seem poised for a rebound, but IRP may just be the place for the series’ all-time money-winner ($9,933,180) to regroup. Keller has won twice at IRP, tied with Randy LaJoie (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet) for second in all-time wins behind Morgan Shepherd’s three. The track is the only NASCAR Busch Series venue where Keller has more than one win among his 10 career victories. He also captured a Busch Pole at IRP in 1999, also his most recent victory from the pole. Keller is second in IRP annals with six top fives and is tied for second all-time with eight top 10s in 11 races. Keller is the “Ironman” of the NASCAR Busch Series, looking to compete in his 258th consecutive race. He has been running at the finish for 18 races in succession, most in the series to date.
The Wallace Family Tribute 250 last Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway was the most-viewed NASCAR Busch Series event in the history of the track. The race, aired on TNT, produced a 62% increase in viewers (2,144,000 – 1,324,000) over the 2004 race at Pikes Peak, which aired on the same weekend also on TNT. Households were also up significantly from one year ago, registering an increase of 53% (1,530,000 – 999,000). The race was broadcast directly against Major League Baseball, tennis, the American LeMans Series and NHRA qualifying.
This Week’s Series Leaders … Through 22 races of the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season:
• Points leader – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 3,096
• Money won – Martin Truex Jr. Total: $1,102,990
• Laps led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 514
• Miles led – Martin Truex Jr. Total: 822.14
• Victories – Martin Truex Jr. (5)
• Poles – Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne. (3)
• Top-five finishes – Martin Truex Jr. (11)
• Top-10 finishes – Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr. (14)
• Races led – Martin Truex Jr. (13)
• Weeks in Top 10 – Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. (22)
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Jason Keller has the best average finish at IRP (8.6). … Randy LaJoie is the only driver to win consecutive races at IRP, having done so in his series championship seasons in 1996-97. LaJoie won both races from the Busch Pole, and remains the only driver to capture successive poles at the track. He has also led the most laps there with 313, and is tied for third in average finishes (10.3). … David Green won the IRP pole in 1994, is fifth among all drivers with seven top-10 finishes, and is fifth all-time with an 11.1 average finish. … Other former race winners at IRP who are entered in this weekend’s field are Steve Grissom (#49 Advil Ford – 1990), Mike Wallace (#64 Miller High Life Dodge – 1994), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2000) and Kevin Harvick (2001). … Other former pole winners entered are Kenny Wallace (#22 AutoZone Ford – 2001) and Johnny Sauter (#1 Miccosukee Dodge – 2004).
Reed Sorenson’s win at Gateway gave Dodge its fourth victory of the season and its first since Johnny Sauter won at Milwaukee. Dodge, still third in the Bill France Performance Cup standings, now has 120 points. Chevrolet continues to lead the standings with 10 wins and 152 points while Ford is second with eight victories and 146 points. Chevy is the win leader at IRP with 12. … Boston Reid will be joined by Tyler Walker (#38 Great Clips Dodge) and Edwards in the USAC Silver Crown race at IRP on Thursday night. Kasey Kahne, who shares the #38 with Walker in addition to his fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series duties in the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, is also entered in the event. Walker and Kahne will be driving Kasey Kahne, Inc. cars. Walker is also scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Indianapolis Indians game on Friday at 7 p.m. … Johnny Sauter is scheduled to do double-duty this weekend at IRP. In addition to the Kroger 200 on Saturday night, Sauter is entered in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on Friday night. He was second in both races last year. … Brandon Miller (#21 Reese’s Chevrolet) posted his second consecutive top-10 finish last week at Gateway. Miller was 10th at Pikes Peak, then registered a career-best sixth-place finish last Saturday.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
One of the longest-standing event speed records in the NASCAR Busch Series was set 20 years ago at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Jimmy Hensley turned a record speed of 96.923 mph with his win in the 1985 edition of this race.
Hensley had taken over the seat of the famous Thomas Brothers Country Ham #00 Olds, led by crew chief Gere Kennon, for two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Sam Ard. Ard retired following the 1984 season after becoming the first driver in series history to capture back-to-back championships. Hensley started the 1985 Kroger 200 in the second spot beside pole winner Brett Bodine and stayed near the front of the field for most of the race. Hensley took the lead on Lap 181 of the caution-free 200-lap event and held on for his third win of the season.
What: Kroger 200 (Race #23 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind.
When: 8:15 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 6.
Track Layout: .686-mile oval.
Race Length: 200 laps/137.2 miles.
Posted Awards: $946,176.
TV: TNT, 8:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Kyle Busch.
2004 Polesitter: Johnny Sauter.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., Aug. 6: Practice – 10-11:30 a.m.; Noon- 1:00 p.m. Qualifying – 5:05 p.m. Impound on pit road after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(8-2-2005)