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March 2005 Busch Series Archive

 

  • Plattenberger new crew chief at the #58: Glynn Motorsports has named Steve Plattenberger to be the crew chief for its #58 Dodge driven by Brent Sherman in the Busch Series. Plattenberger joins the team after serving as crew chief for Tim Fedewa in FitzBradshaw Racing’s #12 Dodge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), Mark Green has served as the interim crew chief and is now driving the #7 Chevy.(3-31-2005)
  • New Busch Team: Indiana native Chris Evans has found success in ventures including coal mining, natural gas and real estate. And with his ever-curious business mind at full speed, Evans has shifted gears into another pursuit. Evans has become a team owner on the NASCAR Busch Series, with hopes of someday owning a full-fledged Nextel Cup team. But like any other business, Evans’ Christine Marie Motorsports is taking it one lap at a time. Evans has teamed with driver Chris Cook, a racing instructor from Phoenix, and Nextel Cup series driver Joe Nemechek to form a team that will compete at least four times this season on the NASCAR circuit at each of its stops at road courses. The team made its debut on March 6, when Cook, 33, placed 26th at the Busch race in Mexico City. The next scheduled race is with the Nextel series June 26 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.. Cook will then compete in a Busch-Nextel doubleheader on Aug. 13-14, at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The pair struck a deal with Nemechek last December to form the team, which is named Christine Marie Motorsports, after Evans’ youngest daughter. He names all of his businesses after his three daughters. Nemechek has supplied the team with four cars and the use of his top-of-the-line equipment at his garage in Mooresville, N.C. Cook, who continues to instruct drivers at his own school, ShiftintoGear, Inc., said the relationship between he and Evans is what fuels the team. Evans has bankrolled most of the team’s expenses for the four races and wouldn’t say how much that costs, other than, “it’s near the seven-figure mark.” But he’s hoping to pick up additional sponsors and be able to race at a few oval tracks with the Busch series this season. On the ‘Net: www.christinemariemotorsports.com.(Indiana Gazette)(3-31-2005)
  • Bristol News, Notes, Practice/Qualifying Info:
    Kenny Wallace (#22 Stacker 2 Ford) is affectionately known as the “clown prince” of NASCAR. The jovial, joking veteran driver – nicknamed “Herman” – can best be distinguished by his distinctive, loud laugh. But don’t confuse Wallace’s sense of humor with his ability to drive a racecar. On the contrary, Wallace, who has nine wins in 318 starts in the NASCAR Busch Series, is currently sixth in the points, his highest ranking since a sixth-place standing after the Memphis race in October, 2002.
    Wallace comes to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend following his second-place finish at Nashville last Saturday, his best result since his 2001 fall victory at Rockingham. That momentum is punctuated with Wallace’s record at Bristol, where his 17 career top 10s in 23 races lead all active NASCAR Busch Series drivers – 10 of those finishes have come in the spring event. He has one win and one Busch Pole at the 0.553-mile venue, the first short-track on the 2005 schedule. Both of those efforts came during the fall Bristol races.
    “Every time I go to Bristol, I get goose bumps because it’s such a great atmosphere,” Wallace said. “My strategy is simple: race hard and keep people off [my] bumper. I think I’m mature enough to know that my run at Nashville doesn’t guarantee success at Bristol,” he said. It meant the world to run strong at Nashville. It sends the message to everyone that we’re heading in the right direction. I would hate to think I have raced all these years and [my experience] doesn’t give me some sort of edge. I told my wife (Kim) after Nashville that this is what I’m used to. If anyone goes back and looks at how I got where I am, they’ll see it’s because I’ve always fought and contended for a championship. It’s hard when you’re not a contender. Contending this year makes me feel right at home.”
    A native of St. Louis, Mo., and an avid sports fan, Wallace will watch with interest this weekend while another championship is contested, with hopes that a similar perennial contender can also secure a long-awaited victory – the NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four will be held in Wallace’s hometown. “Since I was born and raised in St. Louis, but live in North Carolina (Concord), I’d like to see UNC win it,” he said.
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    Rookie, first-year drivers are a factor … Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) and Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) are one-two in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, the first time since the inception of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year program in 1989 that two rookies stand atop the rankings. Edwards is 95 points ahead of Sorenson in the driver point standings entering Bristol and 19 points up in the rookie of the year rankings. Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) is eighth in the points this week giving three of the top-10 spots to rookies. Sorenson’s first career series victory last Saturday at Nashville also kept alive two different streaks held by series rookies – it was the second consecutive event where a rookie won his first career race after also winning the Busch Pole and the second week in a row where a rookie sat on the pole. Edwards had accomplished both feats the week before at Atlanta. A rookie driver has won three of the season’s six poles. In addition to the rookies, first-year fulltime driver Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet) is third in the points, 29 behind Sorenson. Bowyer, who like Edwards, Sorenson and Hamlin will be making his first career series start at Bristol, has three top-10 finishes in his first five races this season. Bowyer also has the best average start (7.0) among NASCAR Busch Series drivers this year.
    NASCAR Busch Series TV numbers continue upswing … The 2005 season has been a banner one thus far for the NASCAR Busch Series, and the broadcasts through the first six races of the year on FOX and FX are prime examples. Last Saturday’s Pepsi 300 at Nashville broadcast on FX registered a 25% increase in households (1,261,000) over the 2004 race, (1,007,000) which also aired on FX. Viewers of the Nashville event increased 17% (1,654,000) over the 2004 Pepsi 300 (1,416,000). Compared to the 2004 season to date, an average of 2.6 million households – an increase of 44% over 2004 – and 3.7 million viewers – up 43% – had tuned in to each series event.
    ON THE RIGHT TRACK
    There are 13 former NASCAR Busch Series race winners at Bristol entered in the Sharpie Professional 250 – 10 of those drivers have one win in the spring event, including defending race and series champion Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), who won his first career race last April. Kevin Harvick (#29 Reese’s Chocolate Lovers Chevrolet), the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, is the leading active driver in wins at Bristol with three; Matt Kenseth (#17 Waste Management Ford), Steve Grissom (#49 Advil Ford), the 1993 series champion and Michael Waltrip (#99 Aaron’s Sales & Lease Chevrolet) have two wins each. … Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) has the most Busch Poles among active drivers with three. He is the only driver to have won from the pole in the spring event (1999). … Dale Jarrett (#90 CitiFinancial Ford) is tied with Tommy Houston for the most series races at Bristol (28). … Jarrett (11) has the most top-five finishes at Bristol while Kenny Wallace owns the most top-10 finishes (17). … Harvick has led the most races (eight) at Bristol – he has competed in 10 events.
    ETC.
    Reed Sorenson’s first career win last Saturday at Nashville was also the first 2005 win for Dodge in the new Charger, allowing Dodge to climb back into the race for the Bill France Performance Cup. Ford leads the manufacturer’s standings entering Bristol with three wins and 43 points, however, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 24 victories at the vaunted short-track. Chevy is second in the standings with two wins and 40 points, while Dodge is third with one win and 31 points. … Five NASCAR Busch Series regulars will attempt to qualify for Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Bristol – Stanton Barrett, Carl Edwards, Shane Hmiel (#32 WINFUEL Chevrolet), Randy LaJoie (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet) and Johnny Sauter (#1 Miccouskee Dodge). Edwards leads the NASCAR Busch Series point standings and is third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rankings. … Mike Wallace will drive the #6 Country Crock Dodge for Ray Evernham at Bristol; Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne have driven the #6 Dodge the past two races. … Greg Biffle (#66 Subway Ford) set the series qualifying record at Bristol last spring, topping the charts at 127.132 mph. Ironically, Biffle broke the previous record of 126.495 mph set by his current teammate, David Green (#27 KLEENEX Ford). … Reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr., 1992 series champion Joe Nemechek (#87 Cellular One Chevrolet), Paul Menard (#11 Menard’s Chevrolet) and Brandon Miller (#21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) are scheduled to test at Texas on Wednesday in advance of the April 16 race.
    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Busch Series since 1982, the series’ inaugural season. The official name of the series at that time was the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Division. Bristol’s Southeastern 150, held on March 13, was the third race on the schedule.
    David Pearson, making one of his rare Late Model Sportsman appearances, won the pole in a Pontiac. Jack Ingram started on the outside of the front row. A field of 30 cars took the green flag with the lead swapping six times among four drivers. Pearson, Ingram, Dale Earnhardt and Phil Parsons each took a turn at the front of the pack. Pearson led 90 of the 150 laps, but it was Parsons who led the last 11 and claimed his first career series victory, beating Pearson by .047 second.
    Parsons completed the race in just 59 minutes, 18 seconds with an average speed of 80.848 mph. Ingram would win the fall event at Bristol that season, while Earnhardt won the spring, 1988 event. Pearson did not win at Bristol competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, but he was victorious there five times in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition.
    FAST FACTS:
    What: Sharpie Professional 250 (Race #7 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
    Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
    When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 2.
    Track Layout: 0.533-mile oval.
    Race Length: 250 laps/133.25 miles.
    Posted Awards: $1,232,620.
    TV: FOX, 2 p.m., ET.
    Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
    2004 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
    2004 Polesitter: Greg Biffle.
    Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice – 1:40 – 3:00 p.m.; Final practice – 4 – 5:00 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 11:35 a.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.(NASCAR)(3-30-2005)
  • Green back in the #7 at Bristol: Mark Green will be behind the wheel of the #7 GIC entry again this weekend at Bristol. Last week, he successfully put the car in the field, qualifying on speed. This week, at a track where anything can happen, Green will contend for a solid finish on a track where he has a lot of experience. “The key to Bristol is staying out of trouble; that’s a no-brainer,” says Green. “If you can avoid the wrecks, you can get a solid finish.” In 13 outings at the track in the Busch Series, Green has an average finish of 20th when still running at the end of the race. Last fall, a lap one mishap put Green behind the wall early.(PSE-3)(3-30-2005)
  • #56 Looking for a Crew Chief: Mac Hill Motorsports (NASCAR Busch Series #56) announced today that the team has decided to seek a replacement for Crew Chief Todd Myers. Team Owner Jack McNelly made the announcement. “While it is difficult for us to make this change, we feel it is in the best interest of our team to seek a new crew chief at this time,” said McNelly. “We certainly appreciate Todd’s efforts and dedication this season to Mac Hill Motorsports and the Lester Buildings Chevrolet. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”Jeff Spraker will take over crew chief duties on an interim basis for the team’s next race, the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. Mac Hill Motorsports has begun the process of interviewing candidates for the permanent Crew Chief position and expects to make an announcement soon.(Mac Hill Motorsports)(3-29-2005)
  • Mike Wallace to run the #6 at Bristol: Unilever Foods and Evernham Motorsports announced that veteran driver, Mike Wallace will pilot the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge Charger in this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ray Evernham, CEO and President, Evernham Motorsports, called upon Wallace because he felt it was essential to have a veteran driver with short track racing experience for the demanding Bristol event. Evernham Motorsports and Unilever Foods are in the process of evaluating their options for the remainder of the season and expect to announce long-term plans for the Hungry Drivers team in the coming weeks. They will continue to look for talented young drivers to be a part of the Hungry Drivers program and Evernham Motorsports driver development program throughout the 2005 season.(Hungry Drivers PR)(3-29-2005)
  • Two Crew Chief Fines: NASCAR announced Monday that fines have been issued to two NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations during opening day inspection at Nashville Superspeedway on March 25. Steve Plattenberger, crew chief of the #12 Dodge driven by Tim Fedewa and Elton Sawyer, crew chief for the #6 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne, were each fined $500 after being found in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (unapproved lug nuts).(NASCAR PR)(3-29-2005)
  • Plattenberger and #12 Team Part Ways: FitzBradshaw Racing announced that it has amicably parted ways with Steve Plattenberger, crew chief for driver Tim Fedewa and the #12 SuperCuts/Hot Tamales Dodge Charger. “I’ve enjoyed working with Tim and everyone at FitzBradshaw Racing,” said Plattenberger. “I was fortunate to work with a great group in the shop and at the track every weekend. However, another opportunity has come my way that I feel is best for me to pursue at this time. I wish everyone at FitzBradshaw Racing the best of luck.” Plattenberger joined FitzBradshaw Racing towards the end of the 2004 season, following a string of crew chiefs for the #12 team. No replacement has been named as crew chief for the #12 SuperCuts/HOT TAMALES Dodge Charger. An announcement from the team will be forthcoming.(FitzBradshaw Racing)(3-29-2005)
  • Miller and the RCR, problems? folks at BGNRacing.com has been told that trouble is already brewing for Brandon Miller, driver of the #21 RCR Chevrolet. Miller made his debut in the 21 (his series debut was last year in Kansas) in Atlanta and closed out the day in 32nd. Moving to Nashville, he qualified 28th and finished 25th.(3-28-2005)
  • Sorenson wins at Nashville: #41-Reed Sorenson dominated the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway, leading 196 of 225 laps to win from trom the pole, the first driver to do so at Nashville. #22-Kenny Wallace finished 2nd, one of 8 cars on the lead lap when the race ended. The rest of the top five were. #32-Shane Hmiel, #60-Carl Edwards and #2-Clint Bowyer. #60-Carl Edwards retained the points lead.
    Results at:
    ESPN.com
    BGNRacing.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(3-26-2005)
  • Sorenson wins pole at Nashville: #41-Reed Sorenson won his first career Busch Pole Award on Saturday for the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. The rest of the top-five are #2-Clint Bowyer, #60-Carl Edwards, #12-Tim Fedewa and #20-Denny Hamlin. Missing the race were: #16-John Hayden, #85-Damon Lusk, #23-Shawna Robinson, #24-Blake Mallory, #88-Brian Sockwell. The race airs on Saturday starting at 3:30pm on FX.
    See Starting lineups:
    BGNRacing.com – Starting Lineup
    BGNRacing.com – Qual Speeds
    NASCAR.com.(3-26-2005)
  • Lots of Green: All three Green brothers will all start the race on Saturday, the first time since 2002. In an odd twist, Jeff was sponsored by Kleenex in 2002, Mark drove for Brewco and sponsor Timberwolf and now, David drives for Brewco and has been sponsored by both Timberwolf and Kleenex.(BGNRacing.com) #27-David Green starts 21st, #43-Jeff Green starts 29th and #7-Mark Green starts 41st.(3-26-2005)
  • Garone leaves MWR for new Busch team UPDATE: Joe Garone, former Director of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing, has left that position to accept a crew chief job with a brand new NASCAR Busch Series team, Furniture Row Racing, based in Denver, Colorado. Furniture Row Racing and Garone are a perfect match considering Colorado is his home state. The newly-formed team will field Chevrolets driven by NASCAR Regional Champion Jerry Robertson. Robertson will compete in a limited schedule through the 2005 season with aspirations of running an entire Busch Series season beginning in 2006.(1-1-2005)
    UPDATE: Newly formed Furniture Row Racing of Denver, Colo., says it will enter Jerry Robertson in its #78 Chevrolet in Saturday’s Pepsi 300 Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Robertson, 43, competed in three series races in 1997 and has been competing in NASCAR’s Northwest Regional Series, where he won the 2003 and 2004 championships. Joe Garone will be the crew chief.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-25-2005)
  • Sauter and the #56 return at Nashville: The Lester Buildings #56 Chevrolet returns to NASCAR Busch Series action this weekend with the running of the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. For Mac Hill Motorsports and driver Tim Sauter, Nashville is a track that holds special moments, memories and a few solid runs. Mac Hill Motorsports Owner Jack McNelly debuted his NBS entry at Nashville Superspeedway on June 8, 2002 when Richard Mitchell piloted the team to a 34th place finish. An accident just past the race’s halfway point wiped out a 25th place qualifying effort. Less than two years later, MHM would return to Nashville with driver Regan Smith who would give McNelly and the team their highest finishing spot ever by finishing 17th. Mac Hill Motorsports also finished 17th in July of 2003 at New Hampshire with current MHM driver Tim Sauter at the controls. Sauter has also had his share of success on the Music City’s 1.33 mile, concrete tri-oval. One of his nine career NBS top-tens came at Nashville in April of 2002, when he took a starting position of 14th and ran it to a 10th place finish. Later that same season, Sauter claimed one of his six career NBS top-ten starting positions when he qualified 7th for the Inside Traxx 300. A blown engine while leading the race left Sauter with a 32nd place finish. After Nashville, Mac Hill Motorsports will take the Lester Buildings Chevrolet to Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend for the Sharpie Professional 250. Lester Buildings and Mac Hill Motorsports are continuing to develop activation plans for the sponsorship, which include a Busch series-exclusive building sweepstakes in which one lucky fan will win a 1,200 square foot Lester hobby/storage building, valued at $25,000 in a season-end drawing. Also, Lester is extending to the Racing Community an exclusive rebate offer of 50 cents per square foot, which can save $2,000 on a 50′ x 80′ structure. Plans also include activation through their new joint web-site: www.machillmotorsports.com. For more about Lester Buildings, visit www.lesterbuildings.com.(Victory Sports Group/Mac Hill Motorsports)(3-25-2005)
  • Crew Chief change at the #4? UPDATE: hearing Greg Tester is the new crew chief for Ryan Hemphill in the #4 Biagi Bros. Racing Dodge. Mark Tutor is the listed crew chief.(3-22-2005)
    UPDATE: Biagi Bros. Racing announced the hiring of Greg Tester as the crew chief of the #4 GEICO Dodge. Tester is being reunited with Ryan Hemphill to rekindle their winning combination in the ARCA Re/Max Series where Hemphill consistently placed in the top of the field, catapulting him into the NASCAR Busch Series with Biagi Brothers Racing in the GEICO Dodge for the 2005 Season. Hemphill and Tester put together 6 wins in only 14 races in the ARCA Re/Max Series in 2004. The duo sat on the pole six times, scored 9 top five finishes and set two track records in that same span. Team owner, Fred Biagi said that “we are thrilled to add a crew chief of Greg’s caliber and are looking forward to Ryan and Greg picking up where they left off.” Brian Klaasmeyer, Biagi Brothers Racing Team Manager said, “Our goal is to be a top contender in 2005 and we’re confident that this combination will allow us to be more competitive each week. The driver-crew chief relationship is critical to any team’s success and we’re confident Greg and Ryan can find the same success in the Busch Series as they had in the ARCA Re/Max Series.”(Biagi Bros. Racing), no word on former crew chief, Mark Tutor’s plans.(3-25-2005)
  • Morrison’s Golf Cars Sponsoring Jay Robinson: Morrison’s Golf Cars has joined Jay Robinson Racing as an associate sponsor for the 2005 season. The company will be an associate on the #49 Advil Taurus of driver Steve Grissom. Morrison’s Golf Cars, established in 1992, is a family-owned and operated business that specializes in reconditioning Club cars of all year models. Morrison’s can custom build from standard golf car bodies with all types of accessories to Jeep or Hummer kits, ’57 Chevy kits and ’47 Chevy truck kits. The company carries a large selection of parts and accessories for all makes and models of golf cars, as well as a large selection of gas and electric cars.(Williams Company)(3-25-2005)
  • Mark Green to run the #7 at Nashville: Mark Green will step in as the pilot of the #7 Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Chevrolet Monte Carlo this week at the Nashville Superspeedway. Green has three starts at the track, including a 12th-place finish in the June event of 2002. The team plans a driver rotation based upon the track and driver experience. “We asked Mark to help us out this week,” explains team owner James Whitener. “Kim Crosby is still a vital part of the GIC team and will behind the wheel again soon.”(GIC PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-24-2005)
  • Buschwackers at Nashville: only four Nextel Cup drivers will run the Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway this Saturday [FX]: #40-Sterling Marlin [#40]; #42-Jamie McMurray [#64]; #9-Kasey Kahne [#6] and #99-Carl Edwards [#60]. 2004 winner, Michael Waltrip will not run the race, deciding to spend time with his family.(3-24-2005)
  • Jeff Burton Back to Busch UPDATE 2 #21 RCR: Nextel Cup veteran #31-Jeff Burton will join the Busch-whacker brigade in the April 2 Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Burton was among the drivers testing at BMS Tuesday. “I’ve got a good car and I’m real happy with what I’m seeing on the track,” Burton said. “We’ve been trying to figure out what kind of setup we need to win this race. I think we are in good shape. Right now, we are planning on running three Busch races. But I bet that number ends up being seven,” said Burton, who ranks eighth in career Busch wins with 20. “Next year, we’re hoping to run about 15 Busch races.’’(Bristol Herald Courier), doesn’t say what team [RCR #29?] Jeff will run for.(3-23-2005)
    UPDATE: Everyone knows, peanut butter and chocolate go hand-in-hand; however, NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton will go head-to-head promoting Reese’s rich milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter at Bristol Speedway on April 2. Always a winning combination, Reese’s will debut two Limited Edition cups: Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers and Reese’s Chocolate Lovers March 15. Chocolate Lover Kevin Harvick will be sporting the Reese’s Chocolate Lovers car and Burton the Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers car each looking for a win at Bristol and for their favorite Reese’s Limited Edition to win top spot on reeses.com. Burton will be wearing the Reeses’s Peanut Butter Lovers uniform and the #21 Chevrolet will be sporting the Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers theme. Decked in a Reese’s Chocolate Lovers uniform, Harvick will be driving the #29 Chevrolet featuring the Reese’s Chocolate Lovers theme. “I’m thrilled to represent Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and campaign for Reese’s Chocolate Lovers at Bristol,” said Kevin Harvick. “The Reese’s Limited Edition Vote and race cars add another layer of excitement for our race fans at Bristol.”
    While Harvick and Burton will be campaigning on the track, they are also encouraging Reese’s lovers to taste, vote and win as part of The Great Reese’s Limited Edition Vote. After enjoying the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers and Reese’s Chocolate Lovers Peanut Butter Cups, consumers can log on to www.reeses.com to enter their favorite winning combination. All entrants will have the chance to win a trip for four to the sweetest place on Earth – Hershey, Pa. Voting runs now through September 20, 2005 and is limited to one online entry per person.(Keystone Marketing)(3-24-2005)
  • Wolfe out? UPDATEs: hearing that Paul Wolfe will not be in the #6 Evernham Motorsports / Hungry Drivers Dodge at Atlanta and that Jeremy Mayfield will be in the car there, also hearing Kasey Kahne will drive the car at Nashville Superspeedway on March 25th. Supposedly it is just for two races and the team will evaluate the situation from there, so Wolfe could be back in the car for some races.(3-14-2004)
    UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports announced that Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will take over driving duties of the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge effective immediately. Paul Wolfe was entered in the first four races in the #6 Charger, but failed to qualify at Mexico City and Las Vegas. Mayfield will drive at Atlanta while Kahne is slated for Nashville. “We felt it was necessary at this time to make some changes to ensure we are competitive,” team owner Ray Evernham said.(NASCAR PR), actually Wolfe did qualify at Las Vegas, starting 15th and finishing 30th.
    AND Unilever Foods and Evernham Motorsports announced today changes to the driver lineup of the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge Charger effective immediately. Jeremy Mayfield will take over the reins in this weekend’s Aaron’s 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie of the year, Kasey Kahne, will take over driving duties the following week at Nashville Superspeedway. Evernham Motorsports and Unilever Foods are in the process of evaluating their options for the remainder of the season and expect to announce long-term plans for the Hungry Drivers team in the coming weeks.(Hungry Drivers PR via BGNRacing.com)(3-16-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Denny Darnell, a team spokesman for Evernham, said Wolfe remains under contract, but how he will be used in the future has not yet been determined by team owner Ray Evernham.(ESPN.com/AP)(3-23-2005)
  • Ward could take a Busch or Truck ride: As for familiar question of his brother Ward, Jeff Burton said to stay tuned. The veteran driver does not have a ride on any of the NASCAR circuits right now. “Ward is doing well,” Burton said. “He wants to be racing, but he’s stuck to his word that he’s only going to drive if gets a really good ride. The more offers Ward gets to run a good truck or Busch car, the more he is interested. I don’t think it will be long before you see Ward in a Busch or truck.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-23-2005)

  • Sam Bass Gibson guitar at Nashville: Capitol Records Nashville Artist Jamie O’Neal unveiled the Sam Bass Designed Gibson Les Paul Guitar Trophy for the Pepsi 300 recently. The coveted trophy will be awarded to the winner of the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26. O’Neal will perform at the Pepsi 300 in a post race concert. The long-running tradition of awarding the guitar in Victory Circle goes back to the Nashville Fairground’s Speedway. Opening in 2001, Nashville Superspeedway signed an exclusive agreement with Gibson Guitar and NASCAR Official Artist Sam Bass. Tickets for the PFG Lester 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race and the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26 are on sale now by calling toll-free 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com. All race tickets include two races, all the pre race festivities, and the post race Capitol Concert Series. For more information on Sam Bass, please visit www.sambass.com.(3-22-2005)
  • Nashville News and Notes:
    Despite his historic win in Mexico City, a fourth-place finish to open the year at Daytona and a solid 11th-place result last week at Atlanta, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), the reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion, has been under the radar in the early stages of the season. And that’s just fine with him. “It was like this last year,” said Truex. “It’s a real comfortable position to be in, to not always be under everybody’s microscope. So far everything’s been going okay.” As quiet as his success has been thus far, however, Saturday’s race at Nashville Superspeedway could offer Truex a chance to make some noise – as in the victor’s Sam Bass-designed Gibson guitar trophy.
    Truex swept the Busch Pole for both Nashville races last season, and set a qualifying mark (166.515 mph) for the April event. He was forced to the rear of the field after moving to a backup car following an accident during final practice and finished a disappointing 23rd. However, he rebounded with a second-place finish in the June race and never looked back en route to his series title. “Last year I made my biggest mistake ever in racing,” Truex said. “We’d just gotten the pole and we were fastest in practice, but with about 15 minutes left, I pushed it a little too much and smashed the Turn Four wall, destroying the best car we had in the Chance 2 stable. The backup car wasn’t that good; it was by far the worst weekend we had last season. But in the second race there, we won the pole and finished second, so I feel very confident going into Nashville this weekend.”
    A preseason favorite to repeat as series champion, Truex knows that expectation will be difficult to manage, especially with the fast start by the likes of Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford), the current points leader who is fresh off his NASCAR Busch Series/NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sweep at Atlanta. Truex and Edwards are the only drivers who have started every NASCAR Busch Series race thus far this season to record a win and to complete every lap.
    Is this a rivalry in the making?
    “Last year before the season began, we knew the 60 car was going to be tough,” Truex said. “Greg Biffle (driver of the No. 60 in 2004) would have been in the championship battle with Kyle Busch and me if he hadn’t experienced engine troubles.
    “I’d like to think it will be a pretty close battle this year, but I think it’s going to be more than that,” he said. “I think it’s going to be four or five guys at the end. I’d like to think we’d be one of them, but we’ve got some things to work on. Obviously, they’re off to a fast start [and] we’re going to need to work hard to catch [Carl]. I’m not looking towards the end of the season yet. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, a lot of racing ahead of us, so we’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    Edwards takes over Series lead; LaJoie making solid move … Carl Edwards’ needle-threading pass to take the lead on Lap 192 of Saturday’s race at Atlanta not only solidified his first career NASCAR Busch Series win, but moved him into the series points lead. Edwards became the third driver to lead the standings this season, and he also leads for the first time in his brief series career after supplanting 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick, who led following the previous three races. Meanwhile, two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie (No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet) enters this week’s event at No. 11 in the driver point standings, his highest showing since ranking 11th following the 2003 spring race at Bristol. LaJoie, competing in his first fulltime season in the NASCAR Busch Series since 2002, now drives the Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly entry. He has come from the 43rd position in his last two races to finish eighth and 15th, respectively, to push for a spot in the Top 10. LaJoie won consecutive NASCAR Busch Series titles in 1996-97 and owns a Busch Pole at Nashville, capturing the top starting spot for the 2003 Pepsi 300. LaJoie won the final NASCAR Busch Series race at the Music City Motorplex (formerly Nashville Speedway USA) in 2000.
    Jourdain collects first NASCAR Busch Series top 10 … His racing has been methodical, a self-proclaimed learning experience each time out. Now, following the fifth race of his NASCAR Busch Series career last Saturday at Atlanta, Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford) has been rewarded for his patience as the former Champ Car star collected his first top-10 series finish. That effort followed his best series start – sixth – also at Atlanta. Jourdain, a native of Mexico City, is attempting to become the first Mexican driver to run a fulltime schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series. Both his start and finish are the best ever for a Mexican driver in the series, and are the best in any of NASCAR’s three national series since fellow countryman Carlos Contreras started sixth and finished eighth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona in February 2002. Jourdain also led a lap at California, another series first for a Mexican “piloto” (driver); Contreras led three laps at Darlington in the truck event in March 2002.
    Top 30 positions in 2005 owners points in starting field beginning at Nashville … Beginning with Saturday’s event at Nashville, the season’s sixth race, the current highest-ranked 30 positions in the NASCAR Busch Series owners points – provided their entry has made an attempt to compete in the previous 2005 events up to that point – will be used to set a majority of the starting field for the remainder of the year. And, as was the case for the first five races of 2005, the remaining 12 positions will be assigned to drivers with the fastest qualifying speeds while the 43rd position remains reserved for a former series champion. If not used by a former champion, the 43rd position will be assigned to the next eligible car owner based on qualifying times. Last Saturday’s event at Atlanta was the final race this season where the revamped race lineup procedure assured the highest-ranked 30 positions in the 2004 owner championship points a starting slot.
    ON THE RIGHT TRACK
    David Green (No. 27 KLEENEX Ford) is the only former Nashville spring race winner in this weekend’s field. Green won the 2003 Pepsi 300 by .282 of a second over Johnny Sauter (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge), the closest margin of victory in series history at Nashville Superspeedway. … Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to have won multiple Busch Poles at Nashville. … Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald’s Ford) is tied for most top-five finishes at the track with three. Keller and teammate Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) have run in each of the previous seven races at the venue.
    ETC.
    There have been four different winners in Nashville’s four spring races since 2001. … A Busch Pole winner has yet to win at Nashville. … The state of Tennessee has the most active NASCAR Busch Series tracks (Nashville, Bristol and Memphis). … Shane Hmiel (No. 32 WIN Fuel Chevrolet) recorded his first NASCAR Busch Series pole at Nashville in the 2002 spring race. … Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) collected half of his four top-five finishes in 2004 at Nashville’s spring and summer events. He also led the most laps (104) in this race one year ago. Richard Childress Racing has announced that Bowyer will attempt to make his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Phoenix next month. … Nashville’s Bobby Hamilton Sr. (No. 95 Sadler Motorsports Dodge), the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and current points leader in that series, is entered in the Pepsi 300. … Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Jani-King Dodge) is one of four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars entered in the event; Marlin hails from Franklin, Tenn. Jamie McMurray (No. 64 Top Flite Dodge) and Kasey Kahne (No. 6 Country Crock Dodge) will join Marlin and Carl Edwards this weekend. … Edwards has five consecutive top-five finishes, best in the NASCAR Busch Series. With his win at Atlanta last Saturday, he joined Kyle Busch as the only rookies to capture their first series wins from the Busch Pole. … Ford, with three wins and 37 points, leads the Bill France Performance Cup standings for the first time since March, 2002. Chevrolet is second with two wins and 36 points, Dodge is third with 22 points and no wins to date in 2005. … FitzBradshaw Racing will hold a press conference on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the Infield Media Center at Nashville, featuring team drivers and owners, including NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    The NASCAR Busch Series has been competing in the Nashville area since 1984. The series first raced at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (now known as Music City Motorplex) in 1984, ‘88, ‘89 and 1995-2000. The fairgrounds facility was a high-banked, ½-mile track which could trace its racing heritage back to 1907 when it opened as a 1-mile horse track.
    The series moved to the new 1.333-mile Nashville Superspeedway in 2001. The venue, with its gleaming white concrete surface and wide, sweeping turns, was a striking contrast to the venerable old Fairgrounds.
    Greg Biffle, the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion, won the inaugural Nashville Superspeedway event in 2001 while Scott Riggs registered his first series win in the 2002 race. Riggs also won the 2003 June event, making him one of only two drivers to win more than one NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville. David Green, the 1994 series champion, also has two Nashville victories. He secured his first in 1995 at the Fairgrounds, then won the 2003 Pepsi 300, making him the only driver to win at both facilities.
    FAST FACTS
    What: Pepsi 300 (Race No. 6 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
    Where: Nashville Super-speedway, Lebanon, Tenn.
    When: 4:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 26.
    Track Layout: 1.333-mile tri-oval.
    Race Length: 300 miles/225 laps.
    Posted Awards: $1,001,987.
    TV: FX, 3:30 p.m., ET.
    Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
    2004 Winner: Michael Waltrip.
    2004 Polesitter: Martin Truex Jr.
    Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice – 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.; Final practice – 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 10:35 a.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-23-2005)
  • Dollar General to sponsor LMS’s Oct Busch race: Dollar General will serve as title sponsor of the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Friday night, Oct. 14. With more than 7,400 stores in 30 states and $7.6 billion in annual sales, Dollar General made its NASCAR debut in February by sponsoring the #34 Chevrolet driven by two-time Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie and owned by Frank Cicci with Jim Kelly. The 65-year old Dollar General pioneered the extremely successful dollar store concept, and the company is today one of the nation’s fastest growing retailers. Dollar General’s Web site can be reached at www.dollargeneral.com.(LMS PR)(3-23-2005)
  • Jones parts way with #73 team; Kirby to run at Nashville: Eric Jones announced today that he has parted way with the #73 Red Cactus Salsa Racing effectively immediately. Since the team’s inception late last year, the duo has competed in three events. They participated in events from Kansas Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004 with a career-best 23rd in their debut at Kansas. Thus far this year, the team has attempted three events and qualified for one in Mexico City. After starting 43rd, Jones rallied to finish 29th.(Eric Jones PR via Catchfence)
    UPDATE: Stuart Kirby will drive the #73 Red Cactus Salsa Chevrolet at Nashville. Kirby has eight career Busch starts including a 25th place finish at Nashville in 2002 and an outside pole in the fall 2004 ARCA race at the track.(BGNRacing.com)(3-23-2005)
  • Curb Agajanian Motorsports to run 12 races UPDATE 2: Mike Curb and Cary Agajanian, owners of #43 Curb Agajanian Motorsports Dodge, announced today that a twelve-race schedule with Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contender A.J. Fike, NASCAR Busch Series Champion Jeff Green, and Channellock, Inc. has been finalized for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season. Fike will begin his campaign for the 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award in a Channellock backed Dodge at Daytona. Jeff Green will pilot the Channellock entry for both Busch Series events at Bristol Motor Speedway. The #43 will sport the familiar Channellock Blue at the Busch Series events held at Daytona, California, Bristol, Texas, Lowe’s, Talladega and Chicago. Curb Agajanian Motorsports will be making further announcements on their additional partners for the remainder of the year.(Curb/Agajanian PR via BGNRacing.com)(2-3-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing Harold Holly, current #32 PPI Motorsports crew chief, will be the crew chief for Green at Bristol. Holly and Green teamed up for the Busch Series championship in 2000.(3-21-2005)
    UPDATE 2: been told Holly will NOT crew chief the #43 Dodge at Nashville and that Charles Wright will be on the box, replacing Joe Shear who went to the #1 Team Yellow car.(3-22-2005)
  • FitzBradshaw Racing and St. Jude announcement: FitzBradshaw Racing and St. Jude to hold press conference to announce details of newly formed partnership on Saturday, March 26 at Nashville Superspeedway. The relationship between FitzBradshaw and St. Jude began in October 2004 when FitzBradshaw owner Armando Fitz visited the hospital while in town to attend the Busch Series Sam’s Town 250, which benefits St. Jude. In January 2005, FitzBradshaw co-owner Mimi Fitz visited the hospital along with FitzBradshaw sponsors and the idea for a partnership developed. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude covers all costs for medical care not covered by insurance, regardless of a family’s ability to pay, and families without insurance are never asked to pay.(3-22-2005)
  • Edwards wins at Atlanta, 1st Busch win, Buschwackers take top-five: #60-Carl Edwards won the Aaron’s 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his first career Busch Series win. #33-Tony Stewart was 2nd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Kasey Kahne. The first 9 spots were taken by Nextel Cup regulars, #10-Michael Jourdain Jr. was the first Busch Series only regular at 10th. {Edward’s is running both series full-time]. There were 20 lead changes among 7 drivers, 8 cautions for 39 laps. #48-Johnson led the most laps with 90.
    Results at:
    ESPN.com
    BGNRacing.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(3-19-2005)
  • NFL’s Warrick Dunn Grand Marshall at Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn, the 2004 Walter Payton Man of the Year, has been named the Grand Marshal for Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Busch race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Warrick Dunn and two recipients from his Home for the Holidays program will give the command to the Aaron’s 312 drivers to start their engines. The Home for The Holidays program was established in 1997 and has helped 51 low-income, single mother families become first-time homeowners. In 2004, Dunn handed the keys to three single mothers for their new homes. Aaron’s has been a large part of the Warrick Dunn Foundation’s Homes for the Holidays program. Aaron’s stores in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Tampa provide all of the furniture for the program.(AMS)(3-19-2005)
  • Cline Debut Postponed: LR2 Motorsports, fielding the #01 Chevrolets for Troy Cline in the NASCAR Busch Series this year, has decided to postpone the team’s debut until the Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway on May 13. The team had originally been entered in next week’s event at Nashville. ”We just weren’t 100% ready to compete on the level we are capable of, so I withdrew LR2’s entry for the Pepsi 300 at Nashville on March 26,” said LR2 Motorsports co-owner Rick Russell. “We have the best equipment available, the best driver for the job, and backing most teams would kill for, but being a little rushed and not being able to test prior to the event brought about the decision.” LR2 Motorsports and driver Troy Cline are looking toward Richmond with both determination and optimism. Russell noted, “We will definitely test for that event, and go to Richmond at 100%. With the level of competition in the Busch Series each week, anything less than 100% isn’t enough.” Troy Cline and LR2 Motorsports are still actively seeking primary sponsorship. Interested parties may contact Russell at (704) 662-9570.(LR2 Motorsports)(3-19-2005)
  • Edwards wins pole at Atlanta: #60-Carl Edwards won the pole for the Aaron’s 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 191.364mph, almost 2mph faster the the outside pole sitter, #18-J.J. Yeley [189.564mph], the rest of the top five are @48-Jimmie Johnson, #47-Jon Wood and #2-Clint Bowyer. #41-Reed Sorenson, 4th in current drivers points, failed to make the race the transmission locked up on his warmup lap. Sorenson will run the #40 Dodge that Sterling Marlin qualified 28th with and will fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag. Failing to qualify for the race were: #16-John Hayden; #43-Aaron Fike; #52-Stan Boyd; #85-Damon Lusk; #24-Blake Mallory; #41-Reed Sorenson.
    See starting lineups:
    BGNRacing.com
    NASCAR.com.(3-18-2005)
  • Liberati out at the #1? UPDATE 2 new crew chief?: hearing that the #1 Team Yellow team and crew chief, Tony Liberati have parted ways.(3-15-2005)
    UPDATE: The decision to release Tony Liberati this week was made by #1 Phoenix Racing and Team Owner, James Finch. In the interim, General Manager, Mark Reno will man the pit box. The team has full confidence in James Finch and Phoenix Racing and expect an announcement regarding the new Crew Chief in the very near future. Johnny Sauter is the driver of both the #1 Yellow Transportation Dodge and #09 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge.(Team Yellow PR)(3-17-2005)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that Joe Shear will be the new #1 crew chief and will be at Atlanta.(3-18-2005)
  • McLaughlin Finished As Driver: Mike McLaughlin, former Busch Series driver, was at Nashville Superspeedway on Wednesday working as a consultant to Joe Gibbs Racing — tutoring J.J. Yeley and rookie Denny Hamlin in the NASCAR Busch Series. McLaughlin says he’s through as a driver. “I’m out here among all these race cars and it doesn’t bother me a bit,” said McLaughlin, “I felt like the time was right to quit driving.”(Insider Racing News)(3-17-2005)
  • #58 merges with Glynn Motorsports: Doug Stringer, owner of Akins Motorsports and the #58 Serta Mattress/ Hickory Farms Dodge Charger, announces his merger with Glynn Motorsports owned by Phoenix businessman, Scott Glynn. The #58 will remain part of Akins Motorsports but will be moving to Glynn Motorsports’ 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art shop in Mooresville, N.C., which now houses Glynn’s newly established Craftsman Truck Series teams. Glynn Motorsports General Manager Jason Butler will handle day to day shop operations.(Akins Motorsports PR via BGNRacing.com), Brett Sherman drives the car, no word on any changes there.(3-17-2005)
  • Geoffrey Bodine in the #72 at Atlanta: MacDonald Motorsports confirmed today that veteran Geoffrey Bodine will drive the #72 Chevrolet at Atlanta this weekend. The interim crew chief is Randy MacDonald, but the position is still open. Applicants should contact the team at 336-476-0100.(BGNRacing.com), Brett Sherman drives the car, no word on any changes there.(3-17-2005)
  • #32 Fighting Crew Chief Suspension UPDATE: #32 Braun Racing [Shane Hmiel driver] will fight a $10,000 fine and four-race suspension of crew chief Todd Lohse given for an alteration to the roof flap found during initial inspection at California. A piece of aluminum taped inside the roof flap to keep it from sagging was snagged and NASCAR believed it would have restricted the air flow through the flap. Team owner Todd Braun said he would fight the penalty, especially because there was no competitive advantage that would have been gained. No date for the appeal has been set. “There was zero advantage,” Lohse said. “It was a brace that was put in there by one of the fabricators because the roof flap sagged a bit and we were trying to hold it up.”.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(3-10-2005)
    UPDATE: On March 15, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of Todd Lohse, crew chief for Braun Racing, NASCAR Busch Series car #32. The penalties stemmed from a NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway on February 25, 2005. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing,” and Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: unapproved hinged air deflector modifications.” The penalty assessed by NASCAR was a $10,000 fine and suspension until March 30, 2005 or the next four (4) NASCAR Busch Series Events. The Commission temporarily deferred the penalty until the hearing date.
    In considering the Appeal, the Commission affirms that making unapproved modifications to safety equipment, such as roof flaps, constitutes a serious offense and harsh penalties are usually warranted. In this case the material added might have effected the proper functioning of the air channel that runs between the two roof flaps. Without in any way diminishing the preceding considerations, after reviewing the testimony specific to this Appeal, the Commission determined that there were mitigating circumstances. Accordingly, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to reduce the original penalty issued by NASCAR to: a $10,000 fine and probation through the end of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR)(3-17-2005)
  • Series News & Notes – Atlanta: When he was 12 years old, Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) raced Legends Cars at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “Just being at a facility like that when you are 12 is pretty neat,” said Sorenson, a native of Peachtree City, Ga., located just outside of Atlanta. Now, seven years later, Sorenson heads back to the track and at the “ripe” age of 19, attempting to make his second run there in a NASCAR Busch Series car. And this time, instead of being in awe, he will be a favorite to capture Saturday’s Aaron’s 312. Sorenson is fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, just seven points behind third-place Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet). He has three top-10 finishes in his first four races, and has started in the top 10 in three of those events as well. He has had to qualify on speed for the first five races this season since Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was not in the top 30 of the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series owners points. Sorenson ran a limited schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series last season, competing in five races and compiling one top-five and three top-10 finishes in those events. His third career series start came at Atlanta last October, where he started sixth and led 47 laps before getting caught up in an accident on Lap 202 that relegated him to 29th place. However, his status as a contender for 2005 was solidified. “It was so long ago,” Sorenson joked about running at Atlanta as a pre-teen. “Now it’s kind of cool to go back there and run on the big track. “We’re going to have a lot of hometown fans there, so you always want to be good in front of them,” the 2004 graduate of Woodward Academy in Atlanta said. “We were fast there last year, so hopefully we will be again. I’ve got family and friends there, and you don’t want to [run] bad in front of them. We’re taking that same car back so we should be pretty good.” In addition to greeting family and friends this week a la the Busch brothers – Kurt and Kyle – in Las Vegas last week, Sorenson’s mother, Becky, will serve the #41 team a home-cooked meal at the track on Friday night.
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    Atlanta final race for starting lineup set from 2004 owners points … Saturday’s event at Atlanta marks the fifth race of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season, the final race where the revamped race lineup procedure assures the highest-ranked 30 positions in the 2004 owner championship points a starting position. This season’s first five races will have utilized the 2004 owner point standings for those rankings. Beginning with the sixth race next week at Nashville, the current highest-ranked 30 positions in the owners points – provided their entry has made an attempt to compete in the previous 2005 events up to that point – will be used to set a majority of the field. And, as has been the case for the first five races, the remaining 12 positions (or more depending on the number who meet the requirements for the highest-ranked 30 slots) will be assigned to drivers with the fastest qualifying speeds. The 43rd position remains reserved for a former series champion. If not used by a former champion this position will be assigned to the next eligible car owner based on qualifying times.
    String of seconds has Harvick first … Following last Saturday’s race at Las Vegas, Kevin Harvick recorded a second-place finish for the fourth time in as many outings this season. Despite his streak of seconds, Harvick remains the leader in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings for the third consecutive week. “There is no luck in finishing second four times in a row,” the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion said. “We have a great race team and great equipment this year. In the off-season, we went through all of our equipment and rebuilt chassis and engines to bring ourselves back to the level we’re capable of. That time spent has really paid off, and Richard Childress Racing is back and ready to compete for the championship.” Brandon Miller (#21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) is scheduled to make his second career series start for Childress and his first of the season in the #21 entry at Atlanta and will try to keep RCR as the current frontrunner in the NASCAR Busch Series owner point standings. Childress won the owner championship in 2003 while Brian Vickers, driving for Hendrick Motorsports, won the driver title, the first time in series history the driver and owner titles were won by different teams.
    Hmiel one of two drivers aiming for Atlanta “triple” … Shane Hmiel (#32 Win Fuel Chevrolet) has a busy weekend ahead of him as he is entered in each of NASCAR’s three national series events at Atlanta. Hmiel, currently eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, will run for Billy Ballew in Friday’s event; he finished 13th in the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings for Ballew before moving to his fulltime ride in the NASCAR Busch Series for Todd Braun this season. Hmiel is also entered for Braun for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race on Sunday, one of seven premier series events the 24-year-old is slated to run this season. Hmiel will be joined in his efforts to run in each event at Atlanta by Jimmy Spencer (#98 Bryan Meats Chevrolet), who is currently driving fulltime in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Spencer, who has 12 wins in 210 career NASCAR Busch Series starts, is attempting his first series start since Homestead-Miami last season.
    Las Vegas broadcast produces record number of households … The NASCAR Busch Series continues to produce increases in both households and viewers compared to the first four race weekends one year ago. More households tuned into last Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway broadcast on FX than any other NASCAR Busch Series event in the history of the track. The broadcast showed a 37% increase in households (1,912,000) over last year’s race (1,400,000), also broadcast on FX. In addition, viewers (2,262,000) increased 24% over last year’s Las Vegas event (2,065,000). The race held the #1 spot among sports viewership on cable television last weekend, outperforming all men’s college basketball tournaments aired on cable networks.
    ON THE RIGHT TRACK
    Matt Kenseth (#17 Waste Management Ford) is the defending champion of the Aaron’s 312. His 28th-place start is the worst among any NASCAR Busch Series winner at the track. … Three other former race winners are also entered – Greg Biffle (#66 Duraflame Ford – 2003), Jamie McMurray (#64 Top Flite Dodge – 2002) and Joe Nemechek (#87 Cellular One Chevrolet – 2001). McMurray’s win was his first in the NASCAR Busch Series. … Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) has competed in 12 of the previous 13 races held at Atlanta. … Michael Waltrip (#99 Aaron’s Sales & Lease Chevrolet), Biffle and Kenseth are tied for most top-five finishes with four each. … Biffle has finished in the top five in each of his four appearances at Atlanta; he has a 3.2 average finish, best among drivers with at least four starts.
    ETC.
    Evernham Motorsports announced that Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will take over driving duties of the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge effective immediately. Paul Wolfe was entered in the first four races in the #6 Charger, but failed to qualify at Mexico City and Las Vegas. Mayfield will drive at Atlanta while Kahne is slated for Nashville. “We felt it was necessary at this time to make some changes to ensure we are competitive,” team owner Ray Evernham said. … Reed Sorenson has finished on the lead lap in his last six races, best among NASCAR Busch Series drivers. … Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) and Mark Martin have each led 131 laps this season; Martin’s laps have led to two victories in each of the races he has entered in 2004. This is the 10th season in which Martin, the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (47), has won at least two races. … The NASCAR Busch Series event makes its spring return to Atlanta after being held in October for the last three seasons. This will be the ninth spring appearance for the series in 14 series races at Atlanta. … Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) is making his first appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series top 10 this week. … Brent Sherman (#58 Serta/Hickory Farms Dodge) will have a new sponsor, Consort, for six races this season beginning at Texas. … The Atlanta event is the fourth consecutive NASCAR Busch Series race with a purse valued at over $1 million. … Chevrolet, with two wins thus far in 2005, leads the Bill France Performance Cup standings with 30 points. Ford, also with two wins, is a close second with 28 points. Dodge has 18 points and seeks its first victory of the season.
    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    The 1994 NASCAR Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was notable as a fairly new career was hitting a high point and a legendary one was drawing to a close. Shawna Robinson drove her Polaroid-sponsored Chevrolet to the pole with a speed of 174.330 mph, making her the first – and so far the only – female to win a pole in any of NASCAR’s three national touring series. Robinson was forced to drop out of the race after 63 laps due to her Chevrolet’s engine overheating.
    Meanwhile, Harry Gant, driving Ed Whitaker’s Chevrolet, started deep in the field in 23rd. Moving his way through the field, Gant took lead for the first time on Lap 70. He held it to Lap 84 when Joe Bessey took over the front spot. Gant led again from Lap 91 to 119 when a strong-running Mark Martin grabbed the lead. Martin’s engine expired on Lap 155, giving the top position back to Gant, who cruised to the win. It was the 21st and final NASCAR Busch Series victory for Gant, who was known as NASCAR’s “Mr. Nice Guy.” He retired as a driver after that season.
    FAST FACTS
    What: Aaron’s 312 (Race #5 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series). Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. When: 3:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 19. Track Layout: 1.54-mile oval. Race Length: 321.62 miles/203 laps. Posted Awards: $1,030,068. TV: FX, 2:30 p.m., ET. Radio: PRN, XM Satellite. 2004 Winner: Matt Kenseth. 2004 Polesitter: Mike Bliss. Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice, 2:25 – 3:35 p.m.; Final practice, 4 – 5:00 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 12:05 p.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-16-2005)
  • #72 Crew Chief Bolts: #72-MacDonald Motorsports announced the departure of Rodney Jockisch, as Crew Chief. No replacement has been named. Anyone interested in the position, please contact Randy MacDonald at 336-476-0100.(BGNRacing.com)(3-15-2005)
  • Down to ONE: With Michael Waltrip, #99 Domino’s Chevy, not qualifying for the Busch race today, it leaves just #87-Joe Nemechek as the only driver who has started every NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch race ever held at LVMS.(LVMS.com Pit Notes PR)(3-12-2005)
  • Martin wins at Vegas: #9-Mark Martin, who started 25th and made comments after qualifying that no way he could win, won the Sam’s Town 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, for his 2nd win of the season and in a row, and his 47th career Busch Series win. #21-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd..for the 4th race in a row and maintains his lead in the points. The rest of the top five were: #14-David Streeme, #87-Joe Nemechek and #66-Greg Biffle. Pole sitte, #60-Carl Edwards, finished 7th after incurring a late race flat tire while leading, Edwards also led the most laps, 125 of the 200. #41-Reed Sorenson was the top rookie, finishing 6th.
    Results at:
    ESPN.com
    BGNRacing.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(3-12-2005)
  • TV Ratings Good for Mexico race UPDATE Final Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 Busch Series race drew a 3.4 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The race trailed the ratings for NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour’s Doral event (5.9) and CBS’s broadcast of Sunday’s basketball game between Duke and the University of North Carolina (3.9) among weekend sports events. While the 3.4 rating is less than half of the 7.9 Fox drew for the Feb. 27 Nextel Cup race at California Speedway, it ties the final rating for the Busch Series’ season-opening race Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-7-2005)
    UPDATE: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 Busch Series race drew a 3.5 rating and an 8 market share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The final rating was up 2.9 percent over the 3.4 overnight rating from the nation’s largest market. The rating was also 2.9 percent higher than the 3.4 final rating for Fox’s broadcast of the season-opening Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway. However, it was still less than half of the 7.9 Fox drew for the most recent Nextel Cup race, the Feb. 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-11-2005)
  • Edwards wins pole at Las Vegas: #60-Carl Edwards won the pole for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 170.951mph, his first career Busch Series pole in his 6th start. The rest of the top-5 are: #90-Elliott Sadler [who also starts 2nd on the Cup race], #5-Kyle Busch, #32-Shane Hmiel and #2-Clint Bowyer. Missing the race were heavy hitters: #99-Waltrip, #67-Schrader, #78-Robertson, #73-Jones, #16-Hayden, #24-Fuller, #52-Hall and #85-Lusk.
    See starting lineups:
    BGNRacing.com
    NASCAR.com.(3-11-2005)
  • Crew Chiefs Fined: NASCAR announced that Elton Sawyer, crew chief for the #6 Dodge driven by Paul Wolfe in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $2,500 for a rule violation that occurred last week at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City. During opening day inspection on March 3, the #6 was found to have an unapproved first gear transmission ratio, a violation of Section 12-4-CC of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book. That also violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).
    In addition, Danny Gill, crew chief for the #73 Chevrolet driven by Eric Jones, has been fined $500 because of an unapproved intake manifold found during the opening day inspection. The #73 was in violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules).(NASCAR PR)(3-11-2005)
  • Ingle to sub for crew chief Bryant at Vegas: #44-Labonte-Haas Motorsports Team Coast Guard crew chief Bryant Frazier hurt his back last Saturday at Mexico City and had to stay in his room Sunday and miss the race at Las Vefas Motor Speedway. He was taken straight to see Dr. Jerry Petty when the plane arrived back in Charlotte Monday afternoon and diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back. Frazier will have outpatient endoscopic surgery this Friday afternoon to repair the problem. Arrangements have been made with Racing Radios to hook up a special system for Bryant to have access to the team’s communications during the race Saturday. While he is out Labonte-Haas Motorsports Competition Director Bill Ingle and team engineer Walter Giles will handle things at the track.(Labonte-Haas Motorsports PR)(3-11-2005)
  • Parrott and Gordon fight? UPDATE no action/penalties: NASCAR officials said they would look into an alleged confrontation between Robby Gordon and Brad Parrott, crew chief for Carl Edwards, before Sunday’s Telcel Motorola 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. According to witnesses, Parrott approached Gordon before driver introductions and said something to Gordon. As Gordon turned away, Parrott allegedly thrust his knee into Gordon’s groin. Gordon then grabbed Parrott by the neck, but before Gordon could throw a punch, onlookers stepped in. Eventually, the melee was separated, with no apparent injuries. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body would investigate the incident. Why the confrontation? The exact cause isn’t known, but Gordon was forced to the rear of the field after changing engines, while Edwards was able to maintain his ninth starting spot.(NASCAR.com)(3-6-2005)
    AND Witnesses said Gordon got into a scuffle with Brad Parrott of Edwards’ crew after driver introductions, and Edwards was among those who jumped in to break it up. “I don’t know exactly what happened,” Edwards said. “When I came onto the scene, Robby was roughing my crew chief up a little bit, so I just stopped Robby from doing that. I really didn’t know what the situation was.”(Ford Racing site)(3-7-2005)
    UPDATE: NASCAR won’t take action against either Robby Gordon or Brad Parrott for a scuffle before the start of last Sunday’s Busch Series race at Mexico City, thatsracin.com is reporting. Owner/driver Gordon and Parrott, the crew chief for Carl Edwards, were said to have confronted one another over the engine change that forced Gordon to the back of the field after qualifying second.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-11-2005)
  • Fuller/Crosby switch numbers: For Saturday’s Busch race in Las Vegas, #24-Kim Crosby and #7-Jeff Fuller have swapped out numbers. Fuller more than likely will make the field on time while Crosby needs the help of the #7’s provisionals to boost her way into what will be her first race of the 2005 season.(BGNRacing.com)(3-11-2005)
  • Henkel Announces NASCAR Sponsorship with the #66: Henkel in North America announced that it will expand its NASCAR presence through a Busch Series sponsorship of Greg Biffle and Brewco Motorsports. Several Henkel brands including Renuzit, Armour Star, Dep Sport, Purex, Dial, Loctite, and Duck brand products will participate in the sponsorship of the #66 car as the primary sponsor for five races and associate sponsor for 23 others. The Loctite brand will also continue its associate sponsorship deal with Robert Yates Racing and the #38 M&M’S® Ford, which competes in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Greg Biffle will drive the Henkel car for five Busch Series races beginning at the Phoenix International Raceway on April 22. The participating Henkel brands will rotate primary positioning on Biffle’s #66 Ford Taurus during the season at races in Darlington, Phoenix, Richmond and Watkins Glen. Henkel will also maintain an associate sponsor status for the duration of Greg Biffle’s NASCAR Busch racing season. The Henkel sponsorship with Biffle and Brewco will run through the 2005 season and will be supported by hospitality events and a full show car program. The Loctite brand will also sponsor Biffle for one race in the Rolex Sports Car Series in Daytona. Henkel has a long relationship with motor sports, and is an official supplier and sponsor to West McLaren Mercedes in Formula One racing. More info about Henkel at www.henkel.us.(PR)(3-10-2005)
  • Decision on Canada a few months away: NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne said March 6 a decision about the sanctioning body’s plans in Canada probably will be made within the next three months and that Toronto and Montreal are the most likely choices for a Busch or truck event. Pyne said 80% of the Canadian population lives within 75 miles of the border and that NASCAR has a significant fan base in the country.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(3-10-2005)
  • Off Weekend-Atlanta Notes: NASCAR racing, unlike other professional sports, has no player draft. Future prospects are where you find them. Jack Roush arguably is the best in the business at beating the bushes and identifying the stars of tomorrow – especially through competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The Ohio native has identified those diamonds in the rough in a variety of ways: via recommendation (Greg Biffle), a “Gong Show” competition (Kurt Busch) and performance with a competing team (Carl Edwards). It’s hard to argue with success. Biffle, who joined Roush’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck team after being “discovered” by former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and NBC analyst Benny Parsons, gave Roush his first NASCAR title in 2000. He won the Feb. 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Busch, the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Raybestos Rookie of the Year, is the defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and current points leader. Edwards finished fifth in the Auto Club 500 and stands fourth in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings. The Missourian is second in NASCAR Busch Series rankings following Sunday’s Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 by Banamex in Mexico City in which Edwards finished third. The Roush machine doesn’t show any signs of slowing.
    Todd Kluever (#50 Shell Rotella T Ford), Roush’s 2004 “Race for the Ride” winner, was fourth in the Feb. 25 American Racing Wheels 200 at California Speedway. Kluever, who finished a spot behind teammate Ricky Craven (#99 Superchips Ford) is this season’s leading Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender. “The driver development program is important because you have to constantly be looking for new driving talent,” said Roush. “There are several drivers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Mark (Martin) included, that are going to be retiring soon. We have to have the next generation of drivers available to fill those seats and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series has been a great place to get them started.” Roush also has a knack at knowing where each prospect fits.
    Busch jumped to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup after a single season in trucks while Biffle spent three years. Subsequently, Biffle won the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series championship. Edwards grabbed NASCAR Craftsman Truck rookie honors in 2003, the Daytona Florida Dodge Dealers 250 in 2004 and competed concurrently in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup from mid-August through the conclusion of the season. He finished 10th in his debut on NASCAR’s premier circuit. “We’ve gone in different directions to get them to the Cup level,” said Roush. “It really depends heavily on sponsorship opportunities and what we have available.”
    All three of Roush’s series graduates support the adage that it’s easier to slow a driver down than to speed one up. Biffle, Busch and Edwards experienced their share of early “hiccups” on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series – and earned some not-so-subtle criticism from the boss. Kluever had an equally disappointing debut at Daytona, although neither of his accidents (or another in the accompanying ARCA Daytona 200) could be considered the fault of the 26-year-old Sun Prairie, Wis. competitor. Still, Kluever breathed a sigh of relief after delivering back an unmarked truck to crew chief John Monsam. “The guys on my team were jumping around in the pits like we had won the race, but it really felt like we had won after what we went through in Daytona,” said Kluever, who’ll try to improve on his 15th-place championship standing in the March 18 World Financial Group 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “It felt good to walk in the shop on Monday and be able to look the guys in the fab shop in the eyes because the truck came back in one piece. They stood behind me after our terrible Daytona weekend and said they’d fix anything I broke as long as I was running up front.”
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    ETC. … Shane Hmiel will drive Billy Ballew’s #15 Chevrolet at Atlanta. Hmiel, a NASCAR Busch Series regular, won in the Atlanta resident’s truck last September at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kerry Earnhardt drove for the team in the season’s opening two races.
    10 YEARS TOUGH
    Roush Racing joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series fulltime in 1996 with Joe Ruttman, who teamed with fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor Chuck Bown the following season. Martin scored the team’s first victory – of a record 36 with seven different drivers – on Sept. 28, 1996 at the old North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. The team didn’t begin a driver development program until 1998 when Biffle won Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors – the first of three from the Roush stable to win the award. Biffle set the single-season victory mark of nine in 1999. Busch won four times in 2000, an all-time series high for a rookie competitor. Edwards is the team’s most recent winner on Aug. 25, 2004 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    Fast Facts
    What: World Financial Group 200 (Race 3 of 25).
    Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    When: 9:15 p.m. ET, Friday, March 18.
    Track layout: 1.54-mile banked paved.
    Race length: 200.2 miles/130 laps.
    Posted awards: $495,082.
    TV: SPEED Channel, 9 p.m. ET.
    Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
    2004 winner: Bobby Hamilton.
    2004 polesitter: David Reutimann.
    Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday – Practice 9:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. Qualifying 5:10 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-10-2005)
  • 2 Drivers attempting to do triple-duty at Atlanta:, two drivers will attempt to make Truck Series, Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway [full-time ride bold]:
    Jimmy Spencer, #2 Trucks, #98-Busch, #50-Cup
    Shane Hmiel, #15 Trucks, #32-Busch, #08-Cup.(3-10-2005)
  • Norris back in the #72: Rodney Jockisch, crew chief for the #72 MacDonald Motorsports Team, announced that Eric Norris, son of actor/author Chuck Norris, will be driving their P4OT.COM (Pray for Out Troops) entry for the Las Vegas Sam’s Town 300. Also on the car for the March 12th race as an associate sponsor, will be Chucknorrisbook.com. This will be Eric Norris’s second start in the NASCAR Busch Series; his first being at California two weeks ago. Norris will have Bill Davis Racing Engines for this race. Jockisch also stated that the team will have a future announcement on what he hopes will be a major driver placement for the remainder of the 2005 season.(Racecrewjobs.com PR)(3-9-2005)
  • Crocker Busch Debut planned at IRP: Evernham Motorsports’ latest development driver, Erin Crocker, is tentatively scheduled to compete in the Busch Series at IRP in August, and the Richmond and Dover races in September. She is also set for five ARCA races starting at Nashville this month. No word on which Evernham [#6?, #79?] entry she will be in for Busch.(Erin Crocker website via BGNRacing.com)(3-9-2005)
  • Las Vegas Busch Series News and Notes: As the NASCAR Busch Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300, drivers and teams are in no need for the traditional boost of excitement that comes with the glitz, glamour and the lights of Las Vegas. But they’ll take it anyway. The NASCAR Busch Series is riding a wave of momentum as it makes its fourth stop on the 35-race circuit, thanks in part to three fantastic season-opening races, including last Sunday’s supercharged Telcel MOTOROLA 200 presented by Banamex in Mexico. Through the first three races, preliminary TV viewership results show an average increase of 38% over 2004, with an average of 4.6 million viewers tuning in each race. Last Sunday’s historic Mexico City race – the first points race for the NASCAR Busch Series outside the United States – added to that by setting a record 5.6 million viewers for a non-Daytona event. The new 2005 schedule has helped launch the series by beginning the year at tradition-rich Daytona International Speedway then traveling to the West Coast – California Speedway. And the all-star cast of international, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series drivers combined with a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup off-week and a trip to a brand-new track to peak interest for last Sunday’s event in Mexico. Also fueling the excitement is a rush of new drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series. Carl Edwards (#60 Charter Communications Ford) – who trails fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regular and part-time NASCAR Busch Series driver Kevin Harvick (#21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) by 61 points – is currently second in points. He’s hoping to be the first Raybestos Rookie of the Year to win a NASCAR Busch Series title. Clint Bowyer (#2 ACDelco Chevrolet) – currently third in points – has a 7.6 average finish after three races, a huge improvement over his 17.5 average finish in 2004. Raybestos Rookie Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Dodge), currently fifth in points, also has turned heads with a pair of top-10 finishes and a 14th-place finish on the road-course in Mexico City. And, appropriately, as the NASCAR Busch Series enters the city of headliners, nine NASCAR Busch Series regulars “headline” the Top 10.
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    Truex makes statement in title defense … Despite being only three races into the new season, it’s clear that defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) is prepared to defend his title. Truex emphatically stated his point last Sunday with a victory in the Telcel MOTOROLA 200 presented by Banamex, his first win of the 2005 season. With an impressive six-second victory over a world-class field of road-course racers, Truex also put himself on a list of drivers to beat when the series heads to Watkins Glen in August. “If we can win here, we can win anywhere,” said Truex following his seventh career NASCAR Busch Series win. Truex moved up four spots and currently is fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings.
    Harvick an impatient runner-up: The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, Kevin Harvick, is making runner-up finishes look easy. But as the NASCAR Busch Series car owner (#33 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet) and part-time driver, he’s growing weary of being the runner-up. After posting his third consecutive second-place finish in Mexico last Sunday, Harvick is looking forward to Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 where he is the defending race champion. Harvick held off Kasey Kahne last year by a race record .119 second. “We won our first NASCAR Busch Series race as an owner, myself and [wife] Delana, [at Daytona] and we’ve finished second three times as a driver, so we’re a little bit hungry to win for ourselves,” said Harvick, who will run 20 races in the #21 Chevrolet this year while Brandon Miller will run the other 15 races. Harvick will turn over the keys to Miller next weekend at Atlanta despite currently leading the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.
    Sherman re-joins Air Force for ride with Thunderbirds … Brent Sherman (#58 Serta Mattress Dodge) will be “re-joining” the Air Force, albeit for just one day on Wednesday when the Minnesota native will be an honorary guest of the world-famous Thunderbirds. Sherman will take a ride in an F-16D Fighting Falcon at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. On Thursday, he’ll tour the base and sign autographs for the troops. “After being in the Air Force for six years, I know how respected the Thunderbirds are,” Sherman said. “I feel lucky to have this opportunity to fly with them.” While with the Air Force following his high school graduation, Sherman logged over 3,000 hours doing combat, surveillance and instruction around the world. Sherman, who has four career starts, finished 23rd at Mexico in his 2005 debut; he failed to qualify at Daytona.
    Stremme hoping to be healthy in Las Vegas … David Stremme (#14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) is hoping for smoother seas this weekend at Las Vegas after suffering from effects from the flu last weekend in Mexico. The 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year was pulled from the car on Lap 39 of the Telcel MOTOROLA 200 presented by Banamex upon his own request. J.J. Yeley (#18 The Home Depot/Vigoro Chevrolet), who left the race with engine problems at Lap 20, relieved Stremme and finished 22nd. “The flu has been going around our shop and I guess it was my turn to get it,” said Stremme, currently 14th in points. “I’m feeling better, but I’m still a little weak so we will see what the rest of the week brings. Our teammate Tim Fedewa (#14 Supercuts Dodge) tested at Las Vegas and turned some good laps during practice. I ran well there last year and I’m looking forward to getting back to the track.” Stremme posted a third-place finish at Las Vegas last year, one of his five top-five finishes in 2004, while Fedewa’s seventh-place finish in last year’s Sam’s Town 300 was his second-best finish of the year.
    ON THE RIGHT TRACK
    Three previous Las Vegas winners – Harvick (2004), Joe Nemechek (2003) and Mark Martin (1999) – will be in the field for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300. Two-time pole winner Martin (#9 Wal-Mart Ford) is the only driver with more than one pole and has the best average finish (3.0) of any driver in the field. … Nemechek (#87 Cellular One Chevrolet) has the most top-10 finishes (six) at Las Vegas while Michael Waltrip (#99 Domino’s Chevrolet) and Jason Keller (#35 McDonald’s Ford) are tied for the fourth most top-10 finishes with four each.
    ETC.
    Ken Schrader (#67 Panasonic Chevrolet), who has 107 career starts, will be attempting his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Las Vegas since April 2002. … The 2002 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, Scott Riggs (#30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet), will also be attempting his first NASCAR Busch Series start since the 2003 season-finale. Riggs is currently scheduled to compete in three other events in 2005. … Edwards leads Sorenson 45-40 in the 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings after three races. Denny Hamlin (#20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Michel Jourdain Jr. (#10 Telcel Ford) and Jon Wood (#47 Clorox/Wisk Ford) round out the top five among 16 eligible 2005 rookies.
    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    The NASCAR Busch Series has competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since the facility opened in 1997. In the eight races that have been staged, only once has there been a repeat winner. Virginian Jeff Burton won in 2000 and 2002. Both times he drove a Jack Roush-prepared Ford.
    The 2000 event saw Hank Parker Jr. win his only series pole with Burton starting seventh. Burton took the lead for the first time on Lap 4 and held it to Lap 80. He surged to the front again on Lap 197 and never looked back.
    Burton won from the pole in 2002 to become the third driver at Las Vegas to do so. Jeff Green won the inaugural Las Vegas NASCAR Busch Series race in 1997 from the pole as did Burton’s teammate Mark Martin in 1999. Burton dominated the 2002 event, leading 148 of 200 laps.
    FAST FACTS
    What: Sam’s Town 300 (Race #4 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
    Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
    When: 4:10 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 12.
    Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
    Race Length: 300 miles/200 laps.
    Posted Awards: $1,508,149.
    TV: FX, 3:30pm/et.
    Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
    2004 Winner: Kevin Harvick.
    2004 Polesitter: Mike Bliss.
    Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice – 9-11:15 a.m.; Qualifying, approx. 4:40 p.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.
    Pre-race schedule (all times et): Friday: Practice – 12-1:15 p.m.; Qualifying, approx. 7:40 p.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-9-2005)
  • Gilliland to make debut at Phoenix: Reigning NASCAR Grand Nation Division, West Series Rookie of the Year, David Gilliland will make his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, April 22. With sponsorship help from Luke’s Transmission and RaceCarCeilingFans.com, Gilliland will pilot the #88 MRG Motorsports Chevrolet, built by Hendricks Motorsports in North Carolina. “I am really excited about this new venture,” says Gilliland, who qualified Robby Gordon’s Busch car in the Number 8 spot last year at Homestead, Florida. “We are definitely looking to move up next season and this is just the first step in being able to accomplish our goal. Our plan is to contest up to five events this season, plus run the entire NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series.(3-9-2005)
  • Double Duty for Hamilin at Nashville: #20-Denny Hamlin will try to pull off a “daily double” at Nashville as he has entered the ARCA race on March 26. Hamlin will drive the #2 Pontiac for Shaver Motorsports in the 150-mile race immediately prior to the 300-mile Busch race. Hamilton made he ARCA debut at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2004 where he finished 3rd.(BGNRacing.com)(3-9-2005)
  • Domino’s Pizza on the #99 at Vegas: Domino’s Pizza, the “Official Pizza of NASCAR,” announced its primary sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing’s (MWR) #99 Busch Series car, which will run in the Sam’s Town 300 race in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 12, 2005. The special paint scheme of the car was designed to convey the speed of his car on the track and the speed of Domino’s pizza making in its stores. The #99 pit crew will be donning gear that matches the paint scheme. Domino’s Pizza also is an associate sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #15 NAPA Chevrolet, which Waltrip also drives in the Nextel Cup Series. To celebrate its primary sponsorship of Waltrip’s #99 car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Domino’s Pizza will make a $1.00 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for every order received at any Las Vegas Domino’s location on Saturday, March 12, 2005. In honor of the Domino’s 555 Deal, three medium one-topping pizzas for $5.00 each, all local Las Vegas Domino’s Pizza stores will participate in the effort to raise $5,555 for the hospital. The announcement is part of a 2004 deal between Domino’s Pizza and Michael Waltrip Racing, which included the primary sponsorship of the #99 MWR car at the Sam’s Town 250 race in Memphis on Oct. 23, 2004. The car featured a special paint scheme inspired by Stanton, a 3-year-old former patient at St. Jude and his 13-year-old brother Hayden. Sadly Stanton lost his battle with cancer on February 13, 2005.(Pizza Marketing Quarterly)(3-8-2005)
  • Yeley subs for an ill Stremme at Mexico: An ailing David Stremme was forced to climb out of the #14 Navy Accelerate your life Dodge Charger halfway through the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 Sunday. J.J. Yeley filled in for the last 40-plus laps and directed the car to a 22nd place finish. Stremme visited the infield care center prior to the race for flu-like symptoms, but still climbed aboard his Navy Dodge for the beginning of the race. Starting 36th, Stremme slowly climbed through the field over the first quarter of the 80 lap race, reaching as high as 19th on lap 14. After a green flag pit stop on lap 15, Stremme radioed his crew that his illness was getting worse. He battled the sickness along with the other 42 drivers in the field for the next 20 laps, falling to 36th in the process, before finally yielding the car to Yeley on lap 37. While Stremme was taken to the infield care center to be treated for the illness, Yeley sailed the Navy Dodge through the field over the final half of the race, finishing in 22nd, one spot behind teammate Tim Fedewa. Carlos Contreras, who wheeled the third FitzBradshaw Racing entry in the race, hovered among the top-10 all day before gear box problems with seven laps to go forced him from the race. With the 22nd-place finish, Stremme moved from 19th to 14th in the driver points standings, 233 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Stremme said: “It was really hard for me to tell the crew that I had to climb out of our Navy Accelerate your life Dodge. We showed early in the race that we had a good race car and I was looking forward to having a great finish in my first career road coarse race. However, as the race went on, it was clear that my illness was not going to allow me to finish. Thankfully, J.J. (Yeley) was able to step in and direct our car to a positive finish.”(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(3-7-2005)
  • Mexico Pole Sitter to run more Busch races: With a pole in his first Busch Series race, Mexico’s Jorge Goeters is likely to have several other NASCAR starts this year, “We don’t know yet. Maybe Phoenix or Texas or Homestead, someplace his sponsors … have business in those areas,” Brewco Motorsports president Todd Wilkerson said. Goeters, a veteran of local Mexican stock car circuits, was brought into the field because his Mexican sponsors saw a chance to capitalize on the first-ever NASCAR race in Mexico. They got good value. He won the pole, led for the first 24 laps Sunday and repeatedly climbed back from setbacks before an engine forced him out on the 66th lap. “We tested at Virginia Raceway about a month ago and he was as fast as Boris Said and those guys,” Wilkerson said. Taking over the #66 Ford run by Greg Biffle and Aaron Fike, Goeters won the pole at the 2.518-mile Mexico City course, outpacing NASCAR regulars as well as nine fellow Mexicans familiar with the track. Goeters, 34, had called the pole position “the happiest day of my life” and said he’d long dreamed of racing in NASCAR.” Wilkerson said before the race that he hoped to run Goeters in some oval races. “He runs a little bit of oval down here, not a lot. A mile’s the biggest track that they run. As quick as he adapted to these cars, I think he’ll adapt to the ovals.”(ESPN.com/AP)(3-7-2005)
  • Schrader to run Busch race at Vegas: Ken Schrader will drive the Panasonic #67 for Smith Brothers Motorsports in the Las Vegas Busch race this weekend.(BGNRacing.com)(3-7-2005)
  • Truex Jr wins at Mexico: Defending Busch Series champion #8-Martin Truex Jr. won Telcel Motorola 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. #21-Harvick was 2nd, followed by #60-Edwards, #32-Hmiel and #1-Said. Rouning out the top 10 were: #64-Rusty Wallace, #2-Boyer, #22-Kenny Wallace, #25-Lewis and #5-Adrian Fernandez, the highest finishing Mexican driver.
    Results at:
    ESPN.com
    BGNRacing.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(3-6-2005)
  • Some History: With NASCAR running a Busch series race in Mexico City this weekend, much has been made of the appearance of such Mexican drivers as Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr. becoming part of the NASCAR driver landscape, as though it were something new. In its first year of existence, 1949, NASCAR had a Latino presence in Francisco Eduardo Menedez, who drove four races in the inaugural season and won three in 1951. In the record books, he is known as Frank Mundy, the “Georgia Rebel” from Atlanta. Mundy was born in 1918 to a Mexican father and Irish mother and as a teenager got his racing lessons at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway. Mundy also drove in the first NASCAR race west of the Mississippi, April 8, 1951, at Carrell Speedway in Gardena. After coming west, Mundy learned that the car he’d expected to drive was not ready, so he rented a Plymouth from Hertz, whitewashed numbers on its sides, installed a seat belt and went racing. Stock cars really were stock in those early days.
    “I collected $100 for finishing ninth or 10th and the car rental was $37, so I cleared $63, which was a pretty good payday back then,” Mundy recalled. He still lives in Atlanta and received a lifetime achievement award from the Living Legends of Auto Racing organization last month in Daytona Beach.(Los Angeles Times)(3-4-2005)
  • Goeters wins pole at Mexico; Fernandez crashes: #66-Jorge Goeters took the pole for Sunday’s Telcel / Motorola Mexico 200 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. He was followed by #83-Robby Gordon, #8-Martin Truex Jr., #87-Ron Fellows, and #1-Boris Said. #5-Adrian Fernandez spun out and hit the was on his attempt and the team will bring out the backup car. Gordon will have to drop to the back of the pack because he had to change an engine after practice on Friday. Missing the race were: #6-Paul Wolfe, #67-Jimmy Morales, #97-Todd Souza, #24-Kim Crosby, #16-Mark Montgomery, #92-Alfredo Tame Jr, #65-Stan Silva Jr.
    See starting lineups:
    BGNRacing.com
    NASCAR.com.(3-5-2005)
  • Busch Series drawing more TV Viewers: NASCAR says the Busch Series has drawn substantially more viewers for its first two races this year than last year. FX’s airing of the Feb. 26 Stater Bros. 300 was the highest rated Busch Series event in the cable station’s history with 3.305 million viewers, an 83% increase over the 1.424 million who tuned in for FX’s airing of last year’s second race, which was at North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham. NASCAR says the increases followed a 14% jump in viewers for Fox’s broadcast of the season-opening Hershey’s Take 5 300 at Daytona International Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-4-2005)
  • Mark Green the new #58 Crew Chief: Akins Motorsports released crew chief Tony Lambert from the #58 car driven by rookie Brent Sherman. The team missed the Daytona race with the rookie driver, and team owner Doug Stringer said he didn’t see enough chemistry to keep Sherman and Lambert together. Stringer hired Mark Green, who was left without a ride with Keith Coleman Racing because the team had no sponsorship [on the #26 Chevy], as an interim crew chief.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(3-4-2005)
  • Ingle named crew chief for the #01 team and Cline: Veteran NASCAR crew chief Bill Ingle has been named as crew chief for Troy Cline, driver of the #01 LR2 Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. Cline will run a partial schedule in 2005, starting with the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on March 26. Ingle is currently the team manager for driver #0-Mike Bliss in the Nextel Cup Series, and will retain that position while serving as Cline’s crew chief. Bliss’ Nextel Cup pit crew is slated to pit Cline’s car in events where there is a companion Nextel Cup race.(Troy Cline PR)(3-3-2005)
  • Kingsford re-ups: ST Motorsports has solidified its sponsorship for another three years. Kingsford has been a ST sponsor since 1998 and will continue as the primary through 2008 on the #59, currently driven by Stacy Compton. Clorox, which joined the team in 2004, will sponsor the #47, driven by Jon Wood, through 2008 as well.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(3-4-2005)
  • Red Bull sponsors Gordon, why #83, not #55: Red Bull, the world’s leading energy drink, will expand its ongoing relationship with Robby Gordon Motorsports when it serves as the primary sponsor of the #83 Red Bull Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Gordon this weekend in the Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Gordon’s Red Bull car will carry the #83, emblematic of the 8.3 fluid ounce cans that Red Bull produces and markets throughout the world.(Robby Gordon site)(3-4-2005)
  • Consort to be primary sponsor on the #58 for 6 races: Consort hair-care products for men says it will be the primary sponsor for Akins Motorsports’ #58 Dodge and driver Brent Sherman for six Busch Series races this year and an associate sponsor the remainder of the season. Financial terms were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-4-2005)
  • #239 for Keller: #35-Jason Keller will make his 239th consecutive NASCAR Busch Series start on Sunday at Mexico. The streak is the second longest in Busch Series history behind Tommy Houston’s 360 starts.(Team Rensi PR)(3-2-2005)
  • James Dean scheme at IRP: Action Performance introduced a new element to its yearlong James Dean 50th Anniversary tribute, which now will include a racing tie-in featuring motorsports stars from varied circuits. The cars, spanning NASCAR, World of Outlaws and the National Hot Rod Association, will compete at various events this season. Action also unveiled the #33 James Dean 50th Anniversary Chevy NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will drive the car, fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc., during the NASCAR Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 6, 2005. Action, a master licensee of the program through the James Dean Estate and CMG Worldwide, began the primary rollout of James Dean 50th Anniversary merchandise at the SEMA show in Las Vegas last November. In addition to die-cast collectibles, the James Dean 50th Anniversary product line includes fashion apparel, headwear, accessories and gift items. Motorsport Direct, an Action Performance distributor, was selected as the company’s sole distribution partner for the Dean program. Merchandise from the James Dean 50th Anniversary collection is available to order via a special e-commerce Web site: www.jamesdean50.com.
    Throughout the year, fans all over the world will mark the 50th anniversary of Dean’s tragic death on Sept. 30, 1955 with a series of tribute events, including a three-day James Dean Fest being hosted in his hometown of Marion, Ind., on June 3-5, 2005. The festival will include an appearance by the James Dean 50th Anniversary Tour Trailer. The 53-foot show trailer, which also appeared at today’s Warner Bros. Studios media event, is traveling across the country to auto shows, state fairs and several racing events with items on loan from the James Dean Estate and a full-scale replica of Dean’s infamous Porsche 550 Spyder from the personal collection of Fred W. Wagenhals.(Action Performance PR), see an image of the car on my 2005 Busch Series Paint Scheme page.(3-3-2005)
  • Team Yellow to run two cars: Full-time Phoenix Racing driver Johnny Sauter welcomes road-racing legend Boris Said to Team Yellow Racing, as the two racers will take to the track in swamp holly orange paint schemes. Sauter will pilot the #28 Yellow Dodge with the special event “Reverse Spike” paint scheme, while Said will get behind the wheel of the #1 Yellow Dodge sporting its usual “Spike” paint scheme. Sauter took extra steps to prepare for the event by attending the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Racing in Arizona for a week during the off-season. “It was definitely a major learning experience,” said Sauter of his Bondurant experience. “I found myself overdriving the car a bit, but at the end of the third day, I had a real feel for the car and can’t wait to get to Mexico City.”(Team Yellow PR)(3-2-2005)
  • Jet Dryer heads to Mexico: Longtime Lowe’s Motor Speedway employee Danny Taylor and the Nationwide Insurance Jet Dryer he built from the ground up have dried race tracks across the country, but the greatest adventure for man and machine may come during their March 6 visit to Mexico City. Taylor and the track jet dryer will be at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course Sunday, March 6, when the NASCAR Busch Series runs its first race outside the United States. “I packed a case of water and a case of crackers, so I should be in good shape,” Taylor said with a laugh. A highly skilled fabricator, Taylor has worked in the Lowe’s Motor Speedway operations department since 1983, but the Mexico City trip marks two firsts for the Watertown, N.Y., native. It’s the first time he’s been to Mexico and the first time he’s used the jet dryer on a road course. While Taylor will fly to Mexico City, the jet dryer’s journey to The City of Palaces is a bit more complicated. The dryer was loaded onto a flat bed tractor-trailer Tuesday, Feb. 22, joining a NASCAR fire truck. The tractor-trailer then headed to Laredo, Texas, where it will meet several additional NASCAR safety vehicles following the Feb. 27 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at California Speedway. The entire group will convoy the final 725 miles to Mexico City. The Mexico trip serves as a pre-season test of sorts for Taylor and the Nationwide Insurance Jet Dryer, making sure all systems are working properly for the May NASCAR events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Tickets for all May events, including the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 21 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29, can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or visiting www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(3-2-2005)
  • Harvick may not run Mexico Busch race: Kevin Harvick, scheduled to drive in this weekend’s Busch Series race in Mexico City [in the #21 RCR Chevy], is still sore from his crash during the Gatorade Duels at Daytona. Harvick has played in pain the past two weeks, but his bruised ribs could preclude him from driving on the Mexican road course. If so, Brandon Miller will replace him. Harvick’s familiar Reese’s livery will give way to a special paint scheme for this race to promote PELON PELO RICO, one of Mexico’s leading brands of spicy candy. Crew chief Rick Viers emphasized that “The decision (whether or not to drive) is up to Kevin, and he will not make it until after practice on Saturday. There is a chance that Brandon Miller will run the #21 during practice since it’s about five hours long. This will also give Miller some seat time just in case Harvick can’t run the race on Sunday.” Viers indicated Miller shouldn’t be too hopeful though: “I think in the end Harvick will tough it out.”(Speed Channel)(3-2-2005)
  • #32 Crew Chief Lohse Fined, Suspended: NASCAR announced Tuesday that Todd Lohse, crew chief for the #32 Chevrolet driven by Shane Hmiel in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $10,000 and suspended until March 30 (or the next four races), for rule violations occurring this past weekend at California Speedway. During opening day inspection last Friday, the #32 was found to have unapproved hinged air deflector modifications. That violated Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules).
    The #32 team has filed a request for an appeal hearing with the National Stock Car Racing Commission. The penalties have thus been deferred, enabling Lohse to participate in this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City.
    In addition, two other NASCAR Busch Series penalties were announced, coming out of the California weekend. Both infractions also were determined during opening day inspection. Tommy Perkins, crew chief for the #16 Chevrolet driven by John Hayden, has been fined $2,500. The #16 had an unapproved third gear transmission ratio, a violation of Section 12-4-CC. Section 12-4-A also was violated. John Vermillion, crew chief for the #7 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Fuller, has been fined $500. The car had an unapproved intake manifold, violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.(NASCAR PR)(3-1-2005)
  • Mexico City News and Notes:
    The call to start the race may be in a different language, but the goal – to win – is universal. Instead of “Drivers, start your engines,” the starting field in Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Series Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 presented by Banamex will hear “Pilotos, enciendan sus motores,” signaling the start of the first points race held outside the United States for the series. Drivers will be vying for a purse in excess of $2.3 million, second only to the awards at Daytona International Speedway.
    The event has grown from its initial announcement last August 5 to an entry list of 50 drivers – 10 from Mexico, including open-wheel star Adrian Fernandez (#5 Lowe’s/Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet). Drivers, teams, owners, sponsors, media and NASCAR officials and administrators numbering over 1,300 will be making the trip to Mexico City and the famed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course for the event. Following the California race last week, more than 80 team and officials haulers staged in Laredo, Texas, and formed a convoy to Mexico City.
    The excitement surrounding the race is evident in one of the world’s largest cities where motorsports is a passion among a population that exceeds 20 million. “Mexico has a long tradition in motorsports, and we are thrilled that NASCAR is now a part of it,” NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France said. “This event provides our NASCAR Busch Series teams the opportunity to perform on an international stage. We look forward to providing this event for our growing Mexican fan base.”
    In addition to Fernandez and Michel Jourdain, Jr. (#10 Telcel Ford), the former Champ Car star who is now running the full NASCAR Busch Series season with ppc Racing, five fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and two road course specialists with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup experience – Boris Said (#1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) and Ron Fellows (#87 NEMCO Chevrolet) are also in the field to challenge the talented NASCAR Busch Series driver lineup.
    “I really don’t have much road course experience, but I think it is great that NASCAR put a road course race on the schedule,” said reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (#8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet). “Everyone is going into this race a little on the blind side; none of the drivers have ever driven a stock car on this track, so it will be a level playing field. It is going to be a lot of fun.” Over 60,000 fans are expected to be in the grandstands for the 80-lap event that will cover just over 200 miles on the reconfigured 2.518-mile course – the first road-course event for the NASCAR Busch Series since Watkins Glen in 2001. The series will return to The Glen once again in August.
    “I’m really excited about getting to race in Mexico,” said Jamie McMurray (#42 Havoline Dodge), one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars who will forego an off-weekend in that series to compete in the inaugural event. “I really enjoy road racing and it’s cool to be part of something that is ground-breaking.”
    NEWS & NOTES, PART II
    Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 field numbers 50 … The interest in the first points race for the NASCAR Busch Series held outside the United States is high among competitors. The entry list for the race numbers 50, including 10 drivers from Mexico – eight of those drivers call Mexico City their hometown. Included in the group from Mexico is Mara Reyes, who will drive the #49 Advil Ford. Reyes will be one of three females in the field, joining Shawna Robinson (#23 Vassarette Chevrolet) and Kim Crosby (#24 Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Chevrolet). Four former NASCAR Busch Series champions are entered – defending champion Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick (#21 Pelon Pelo Rico Chevrolet – 2001), two-time champion Randy LaJoie (#34 Dollar General Chevrolet – 1996-97) and David Green (#27 Kleenex Racing Ford – 1994). Rusty Wallace (#64 Bell Helicopter Dodge), the 1998 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, is also entered.
    Drivers to watch … Since the Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 is an inaugural event, settling on favored drivers is a difficult task. However, there is NASCAR Busch Series road course history to go by. Ron Fellows has three NASCAR Busch Series road course wins to his credit, all at Watkins Glen when the series previously raced there from 1991-2001. Fellows won in 1998, then took consecutive victories in 2000-01. Fellows has won two NASCAR Busch Series road course poles, both also at The Glen. David Green (1996) and Boris Said (1998) also claimed a pole at Watkins Glen, while Rusty Wallace captured a NASCAR Busch Series road course pole at Road Atlanta (1987). Among the Mexican drivers entered, Rafael Martinez (#0 Davis Motorsports Chevrolet) is a three-time Mustang Series champion in Mexico, a series that races stock cars. Carlos Contreras (#40 Rosh Frans Dodge), a familiar name who has experience both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is one of the favorites to capture the 2005 Desafio Corona championship, the stock car series that was launched in Mexico in 2004. Jorge Goeters (#66 Canels Scotia Bank Ford), who will team with Green for BREWCO Motorsports, has one title in the Mustang Series.
    Robinson has experience at Autodromo … One NASCAR driver entered in the Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 field has a bit of an edge with previous experience at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Shawna Robinson raced Semi Trucks in the Great American Truck Racing Series at AHR in 1987. She finished third in the event, and pioneered a series rule change as her crew made special modifications to her truck including a different transmission for the road course and cutting the third axle off the rear of the truck to improve handling. The axle change was later adopted into the series rules. “It was an incredible experience,” Robinson said of her previous trip to Mexico City. “We did a ton of appearances all around the city and the fans were great. Everyone down there was so into racing. We really got the royal treatment and everything was done in a completely professional manner. From driver appearances to working at the track, you couldn’t have asked for a better venue. I can only imagine what it will be like now to be coming in as part of NASCAR. It will be totally unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before and I can’t wait to get there.”
    Sorenson an early surprise … Reed Sorenson (#41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) is currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, 47 behind 2001 series champion Kevin Harvick. Sorenson, 19, has two top-10 in his first two races this season, and has also posted fifth- and fourth-place starts at Daytona and California, respectively. “I am just trying to get through the first few races and then I will look at the points standings,” he said. “My main concern these past two races and the next three is making the race and then finishing in the top 10 and top 15 depending on the track. I think it has been fun to race with the Cup guys and all the vets, but I don’t think twice about it. They will race you hard but it helps to make you a better driver and prepare me for the future.” Sorenson made his NASCAR Busch Series debut last year at IRP and ran in five races overall in 2004 and posted three top-five finishes in those events. His best finish was fourth at Homestead to close out the season. Sorenson has four consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last season, and has also finished on the lead lap in his last four series races, the longest current streak in both categories among NASCAR Busch Series drivers.
    TV ratings have strong start … The NASCAR Busch Series has produced increases in both households and viewers for the season’s first two race weekends at Daytona and California compared to the same events last year. The Stater Bros. 300, broadcast Feb. 26 on FX, was the highest-rated NASCAR Busch Series event in FX broadcast history and had a 55% increase in households (2,212,000) over the season’s second race last year at Rockingham (1,424,000), also broadcast on FX. In addition, viewers (3,305,000) increased 83% over last year’s second event (1,803,000). FOX’s Daytona race broadcast on Feb. 18 had a household increase of 24% and a viewership uplift of 14% over last season.
    Mexico race Travel Guide now available … A travel guide for the Telcel Motorola 200 is now available on www.nbsmexico.com (User ID – mexico; Password – busch). This is a comprehensive guide detailing the trip with information relating to transportation, hotel, restaurants, event schedule, at-track meals and evening entertainment schedules, track and garage maps, UPS trackside services information, important contact information as well as useful information on Mexico City. A pocket copy of this travel guide will be available upon arrival to Mexico City via either charter flights or by check-in at the Hotel Nikko. Please see your NASCAR hotel representatives upon arrival for further information or additional travel guides.
    ON THE RIGHT TRACK
    This will be the inaugural NASCAR event at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a track that opened in 1962 with a non-points Formula 1 race. … The Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 will mark the 45th different track on which the NASCAR Busch Series has raced, and the third different road course. The series has previously raced at Watkins Glen (11 races from 1991-2001) and Road Atlanta (two races from 1986-87). … Terry Labonte is the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series road course wins with four, all at The Glen. … Labonte also leads the series in road course poles with three – two at Watkins Glen and one at Road Atlanta. … Three of the 13 road course races in NASCAR Busch Series history have been won by the pole winner.
    ETC.
    Kevin Harvick may be a race-time decision on Sunday. Harvick suffered torn cartilage in his strum/rib area as a result of an accident during the Gatorade Duels at Daytona. He did not get out of his car during the rain-delay during the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway last Saturday due to the pain, but still managed to finish second. “Right now, my ribs are very sore, and I’ll be lucky to be able to shift the car through the road course,” he said. “If I can’t drive, then Brandon Miller will [drive.]”
    … Last Saturday at California, Michel Jourdain Jr. became the first Mexican driver to lead a lap in the NASCAR Busch Series. Fellow Mexican Carlos Contreras led two laps at Watkins Glen in the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and also led three laps at the Darlington truck race in 2002.
    … Although having been fined $10,000 and suspended until March 30 (the next four races) by NASCAR for unapproved hinged air deflector modifications last week at California, Todd Lohse, crew chief of the #32 WinFuel Chevrolet, will still oversee the team in Mexico City as the team filed for an appeal with the National Stock Car Racing Commission, thereby deferring the penalties.
    … Ron Hornaday Jr. (#33 Yard Man Chevrolet) will return to the NASCAR Busch Series for the event in Mexico City. Hornaday has four career series wins, and has finished in the Top 10 in the series in the last two seasons. He is now running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which, like the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is off this weekend.

    QUOTEBOOK
    “NASCAR’s growth can only be looked at as a positive for all of us and personally I am happy to be a competitor in the Busch Series as it tests the waters of growing internationally.” – Paul Wolfe (#6 Hellman’s Dodge).
    “This weekend will be the first time in Mexico for NASCAR, and a first time on a road course for a lot of the competitors. But for me, it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to since they added it to the schedule.” – Paul Menard (#11 Menards Chevrolet).
    “I think Mexico will prove to be a great move for our sport. The reaction from the sponsors has been fantastic. I’m sure the fans in Mexico City will react well to a new spectator sport.” – Kevin Harvick.
    FROM THE ARCHIVES
    Francisco Eduardo Menedez, also known as Frank Mundy, was an early-day auto racing star who truly is a legend. Born in Atlanta, Ga., in 1918 to a Mexican father and Irish mother, Mundy’s life reads like a Hollywood movie. He was a star tennis player in the 1930s, teaming up with the likes of Bobby Riggs. Later, he was a stunt driver in a thrill show that performed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Mundy was always nattily dressed and possessed movie star good looks. Even today Mundy is always dapper and boasts a world-class wardrobe.
    Growing up in Atlanta, Mundy was exposed to the spectacular stock car racing at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway. He entered the world of motorsports after World War II and immediately achieved success, becoming one of the outstanding drivers of southeastern modified race cars. Mundy was one of the premier drivers in Bill France’s new NASCAR organization and competed in four of the eight races for NASCAR’s new Strictly Stock division (later known as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup) in 1949 placing fourth and fifth in two of the events.
    Mundy teamed up with Spartanburg, S.C., Studebaker dealer Perry Smith in 1951, winning three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He competed in NASCAR through the 1956 season driving a powerful Chrysler 300 for fabled team owner Carl Kiekhaefer. Mundy also drove in the AAA stock division where he won two national championships.
    After retiring from a driving career, Mundy worked for Atlanta Raceway for many years where he was involved with staging pre-race activities. He later worked for the Roger Penske organization before retiring to his native Atlanta. He is still active in racing legends groups at age 86, receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Living Legends of Auto Racing organization in Daytona Beach, Florida this past February 16.
    FAST FACTS
    What: Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 presented by Banamex (Race #3 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
    Where: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico.
    When: 3:10 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 6.
    Track Layout: 2.518-mile road course.
    Race Length: 201.44 miles/80 laps.
    Posted Awards: $2,308,347
    TV: FOX, 3 p.m., ET.
    Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
    2004 Winner: Inaugural event.
    2004 Polesitter: Inaugural event.
    Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice – 8:30 11:50 a.m.; Final practice – 3:30 – 5 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 12:05 p.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(3-1-2005)