November 2004 Busch Series Archive
- Andrews released from the #38: Akins Motorsports, in evaluating its performance in 2004 and looking to field two teams in 2005, is doing some internal restructuring. Changes include the recent release of Paul Andrews who served as crew chief of the #38 Great Clips team with driver Kasey Kahne. “Due to the changing level of competition and the financial demands in the Busch Series, we are forced to due some restructuring which comes with the release of Paul Andrews,” said Akins Motorsports owner and general manager, Doug Stringer. “Paul’s efforts and assistance have been greatly appreciated by Akins Motorsports. There will be an announcement in the near future as to who the successor will be.” Akins Motorsports will continue to run the #38 Great Clips car with driving duties shared by Kahne and USAC Silver Crown talent, Tyler Walker. In addition, Akins Motorsports has added the #58 Serta Matress/Hickory Farms team with driver Brent Sherman who finished second in 2004 ARCA points. Both teams will compete in the full 35-race NASCAR Busch Series schedule.(Akins Motorsport Site)(11-30-2004)
- Dale Jr’s 2005 Busch plans: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will run four Busch Series events in 2005. The first outing for Earnhardt will be the season-opening Daytona race with Kraft across the hood. The remaining three events will be sponsored by Menards stores.(BGNRacing.com)(11-30-2004)
- Busch Series Banquet: the NASCAR Busch Series takes over the spotlight with an awards banquet scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The NASCAR Busch Series has celebrated its season at Portofino Bay — included on Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Gold List of “World’s Best Places to Stay” in 2003-04 — for the past two years. The 750-room hotel, located at the Universal Orlando theme park, is modeled after the Italian seaside village of Portofi#The banquet will be telecast by TNT at 12:00am/et [midnight] on Tuesday, December 14th.(NASCAR PR/TNT site)(4-8/11-28-2004)
- 3 or 4 teams for FBR? FitzBradshaw Racing could expand to three or four cars next season. The team is negotiating with Carlos Contreras for one ride and also could run a fourth car if sponsorship is found. Casey Mears and Scott Lagasse Jr. both are candidates for that car. (NASCAR Scene via (BGNRacing.com)(11-27-2004)
- Assoc for #27: Royal Office Products will be an associate sponsor of Brewco Motorsports on both the #27-Daivd Green and the #37 Ford for the entire 2005 NASCAR season. Royal will be the primary sponsor of the #37 [#66] for two races: Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2005 and Homestead-Miami on November 19, 2005.(Royal Racing site via (BGNRacing.com)(11-27-2004)
- Passmore to run part-time Busch and Trucks: ARCA driver Christi Passmore, who finished 8th place in the season points, is planning on competing in the speedway portion of the ARCA RE/MAX schedule in 2005 and a limited number of events in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Busch Series.(SpeedwayMedia.com)(11-27-2004)
- Busch wins Rookie of the Year:
· Kyle Busch was the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Busch Series. Busch finished the season with five poles, five wins, 16 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in 34 starts. He was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in 25 races this season. He is the 16th winner of the award since the program’s inception in 1989. Busch won the award by 142 points over Clint Bowyer (388-246).
· The 19-year old Las Vegas, Nevada native is the youngest Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the history of the program.
· Busch finished second in the Busch Series championship standings, the best championship finish ever by a Raybestos Rookie.
· Busch led the series championship standings for three weeks. He took the point lead for the first time in his career after race number 11, the May event at Richmond. He was in the top-10 in points from race number 5 at Bristol through the end of the season.
· Busch now owns or shares SEVEN all time Raybestos Rookie records: best championship finish (second), most poles (5), most top-10s (22), most laps led (1,108), and most races led (21). He tied 2001 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Greg Biffle’s record for most wins (5) and most top-fives (16).
· Busch led 42 times in 21 races for a total of 1,390.89 miles, (1,108 laps) the most by any driver in the Busch Series this season. This is the first time since the program was created in 1989 that a Raybestos Rookie has led the most miles. Busch led the most laps in seven races this season.
Raybestos ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS
Kyle Busch, 388
Clint Bowyer, 246
Paul Menard, 231
J.J. Yeley, 219
Billy Parker, 105
HIGHEST FINISHING Raybestos ROOKIE BY RACE
EVENT HIGHEST FINISHING ROOKIE
Hershey’s Kisses 300 Kyle Busch, 24th
Goody’s Headache Powder 200 Kyle Busch, seventh
Sam’s Town 300 Kyle Busch, 15th
Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Kyle Busch, 17th
Sharpie Professional 250 Kyle Busch, third O’Reilly 300 Kyle Busch, second
Pepsi 300 Clint Bowyer, fourth
Aaron’s 312 Kyle Busch, fourth
Stater Bros. 300 Kyle Busch, seventh
Charter 250 Kyle Busch, fifth
Funai 250 Kyle Busch, first
Goulds Pumps 200 Kyle Busch, 10th
Carquest Auto Parts 300 Kyle Busch, first
MBNA America 200 Kyle Busch, fifth
Federated Auto Parts 300 Clint Bowyer, third
Meijer 300 Kyle Busch, first
Alan Kulwicki 250 Clint Bowyer, 10th
Winn-Dixie 250 Kyle Busch, 11th
Tropicana Twister 300 J.J. Yeley, ninth
Siemens 200 Paul Menard, 18th
Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 250 Clint Bowyer, ninth
Kroger 200 Kyle Busch, first
Cabela’s 250 Kyle Busch, first
Food City 250 Kyle Busch, third
Target House 300 Kyle Busch, ninth
Emerson Radio 250 Kyle Busch, fifth
Stacker 200 Kyle Busch, ninth
Mr. Goodcents 300 J.J. Yeley, sixth
SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 Kyle Busch, fifth
Sam’s Town 250 Clint Bowyer, fourth
Aaron’s 312 Kyle Busch, second
Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 Kyle Busch, second
Darlington 200 Paul Menard, 12th
Ford 300 Kyle Busch, third
(Camp and Assoc./Raybestos PR)(11-26-2004)
- #4/Wallace add a 2005 sponsor: the #4 Biagi Brothers #4 team with driver Mike Wallace has added sponsorship from Pet Brands for 2005 to go along with Geico.(NASCAR Scene Print)(11-26-2004)
- Santerre may be looking for a ride: Andy Santerre has won three consecutive Busch North points championships but he may not be back to defend his title. However, he said he could be in a part-time Busch Seires [the paper had it incorrectlt listed as the Busch Busch Series Seriesi which it hasn’t been called since 2002] or NASCAR Craftsman Truck series ride, or might find himself working in a race shop instead. He has offers to drive a limited schedule for some truck teams and a prominent Busch Seires organization. “I would like to drive a full Busch North schedule and also do 8-10 truck races,” said Santerre. If that doesn’t come to fruition, he could drive limited schedules in both series or he could land a ride with that Busch Series team. He wouldn’t divulge the team but said, “It will have a Nextel Cup driver for 20 races, but needs somebody else for the other 16. They aren’t tied in to any Nextel Cup teams. I’m waiting to hear back from them.” He would also consider a full-time truck or Busch Series series ride if it came his way. (Bangor Daily News via BGNRacing.com)(11-26-2004)
- No word on BANG UPDATE: The weekend passed without the announcement on the future of Bang Racing that owner Alex Meshkin had promised two weeks earlier. Bang fielded trucks for Travis Kvapil and had planned to move to the Busch Series next year. Kvapil has driven in three Nextel Cup races for Penske Racing, though, and that team is working on a deal for him.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-22-2004)
UPDATE: hearing that crew chief Eric Philips left the team after Homestead, supposedly the team only has a twenty race Busch Series deal in place with Line-X. Kvapil has said he is signed thru 2005, imagine that hinges on a full-time sponsor. Most rumors point to Kavapil in Penske’s Koaj Dodge in 2005.(11-23-2004)
- Ford Steps Up Program, Edwards to the #60?: Sources say NASCAR wants Toyota to spend a year in the Busch Series, perhaps as early as 2006, before making the jump to Cup. To prepare for Toyota’s arrival, Ford has stepped up factory backing, including adding Brewco Motorsports and driver David Green to the family. A second driver in the #37, possibly former Busch and trucks champion Greg Biffle, could race a partial Busch schedule in 2005. Biffle wants to scale back his Busch schedule and is also considering a Ford ride at ppc Racing. Carl Edwards will take Biffle’s vacated #60 Roush ride.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-23-2004)
- Robertson to the Busch Series? Drivers at Colorado National Speedway are probably breathing a collective sigh of relief. That’s because Jerry Robertson, the 2004 Rocky Mountain News Oval Driver of the Year, will not be a weekly competitor at the track next season. Robertson, who won his second consecutive Horizon Banks Late Model title and third overall on the three-eighths-mile paved oval, is in the process of securing a ride with a NASCAR Busch team for next season. He has spent much of the past month flying from Denver to North Carolina and back tying up loose ends. (Rocky Mountain News / Jerry Roberston Racing via BGNRacing.com)(11-23-2004)
- Green to the #27: Kimberly-Clark Corporation announced its return to NASCAR Busch Series racing in 2005 as primary sponsor of the #27 BREWCO Motorsports team. Driving the #27 Kleenex/Scott Products Ford Taurus will be 1994 Busch Series champion David Green [who moves over from the unsponsored #37 Brewco car](SMC 500/Brewco Motorsports PR), Jason Keller and Greg Biffle are rumored in the #37, if a sponsor can be found.(11-21-2004)
- Harvick wins at Homestead: #29-Kevin Harvick won the FORD 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beating #66-Jamie McMurray, who was going for his third straight Busch Series win and finished 2nd. Rounding out the top five were #5-Kyle Busch, #41-Reed Sorenson and #31-Todd Bodine, who started 37th. 2004 Busch Series Champion finished 9th after falling off the lead lap when he tangled with #44-Justin Labonte on pit road earlier in the race.
Race results at:
- Hamlin to run for Gibbs in 2005 UPDATE: In the past two years, Denny Hamlin has won more than 40 Late Model races while barnstorming around tracks in North Carolina and Virginia. He signed a developmental contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. He qualified seventh and finished 10th in his first Craftsman Truck Series start Aug. 6. He is ticketed for at least three more truck starts this year. He will advance into the Busch Series next year with Gibbs, whose Nextel Cup drivers (Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart) each have won a championship. President J.D. Gibbs said his team, which hadn’t heard of Hamlin before, was wowed. Hamlin signed and progressed quickly from testing to racing. The plan now is a Busch ride in 2005, possibly for a full season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-7-2004)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has hired Denny Hamlin to drive the #20 Rockwell Automation/JGR Chevrolet for the 2005 season. Hamlin, in addition to running for the Busch Series Championship and Rookie of the Year, will be a teammate with J.J.Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet. “I am really excited for next year,” Hamlin said. “I am looking forward to working with Steve (Addington) and learning a lot from him especially at the preseason tests. I think once we get on the same page, we have a shotat winning some races and running up front. In the past, you never thought of rookies winning Busch races, but Martin (Truex) and Kyle (Busch) kind of broke the mold on that. It is flattering that two outstanding organizations like Joe Gibbs Racing and Rockwell Automation would take an interest in me. Both are first class and their reputations speak for themselves. I look forward to representing them well and being a part of this great team.”
Hamlin spent most of the last two seasons racing in regional Late Model races. He has amassed an impressive two year run that includes 54 wins, 57 poles & 70 top-five finishes in just 83 starts. Hamlin made his truck series debut at IRP where he qualified 7th and finished 10th . Last weekend, he made his Busch Series debut at Darlington Raceway where he drove from the 23rd starting position (qualifying rained out) to an 8th place finish. “Denny is a new talent who has a ton of potential,” commented J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Under the direction of veteran Crew Chief Steve Addington, this team has the ability to put together wins and run for a Busch Series Championship in the future. 2005 will be a big season for our Busch Program. We will run two full-time teams and have Bobby Labonte in a handful of races. In addition, we are moving our Busch Shop to a new 80,000 square foot facility 200 yards from our Cup Shop.”
“I would like to thank Mike Bliss for all that he has done for our program. His win at Charlotte was the first for our Busch Program since 2001 and his hard work has brought a continued excitement back to the shop. He has represented Rockwell Automation extremely well and helped build their program. We wish him the best in the future.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(11-18-2004)
- Hmiel in a Chevy at Homestead: In the final race of the 2004 season, Shane Hmiel will drive the X32 TRIMSPA Chevrolet in this Saturday’s Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. This will be the debut race for the TRIMSPA X32 Chevrolet as Braun Racing has switched manufacturers for Homestead [were in Dodge’s]. This will give them a great opportunity to get a head start on next season when Braun Racing will be running Chevy’s full-time with DEI supplying the engines. “I am so excited for this race!” says Hmiel. “We have a new paint scheme, a new manufacturer, and a new winning attitude. Look for the TRIMSPA X32 Chevy to run up front.”(PR)(11-18-2004)
- Mears wins pole at Homestead, with track record: #1-Casey Mears won the pole for Saturday’s season finale Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a track record lap at 177.936mph, his third pole of the season and his career. His best finish in a race was second on Sept. 4 at California Speedway. Martin Truex Jr., who clinched the 2004 series championship last weekend at Darlington, qualified second; #11-Paul Menard, was third followed by #38-Kasey Kahne and #5-Kyle Busch. Failing to qualify were #0-Kertus Davis; #26-Mark Green; #04-Eric McClure; #71-Kevin Lepage; #10-Gus Wasson; #39-Tina Gordon; $84-Dion Ciccarelli; #88-Jeff Fuller; #28-Blake Mallory; #77-Jimmy Kitchens.
Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results:
- 2nd Akins car in 2005 UPDATE: Akins Motorsports owners Doug Stringer and Brad Akins will field s second car running a limited 20-race schedule in 2005 with Brent Sherman, a regular in the ARCA series. Sherman will drive the #58 Dodge, and also plans to enter three races with the team this season – at Kansas, Memphis and Homestead. Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne and World of Outlaws star Tyler Walker will share time next season in the team’s #38 Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-9-2004)
UPDATE: Driver Brent Sherman and Akins Motorsports announced today that they will enter the #58 Serta Mattress/Hickory Farms Dodge for the full 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season making Sherman a Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender. In addition they have hired veteran crew chief Tony Lambert to lead the first-year team. Lambert has worked with the likes of Cale Yarborough, Davey Allison, Phil Parsons and Tim Richmond. Perhaps his most notable accomplishment came in the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series where he recorded six wins in just 14 starts with driver Mark Martin. Sherman will make his third career start in the NASCAR Busch Series this Saturday in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After finishing second in ARCA points this season, Sherman also entered and qualified the Akin’s entry at Kansas City and Memphis. Sherman and Lambert will work together for the first time this Saturday. Although Sherman has never competed at the 1.5-mile high-banked oval, he does hold the track record on the road course where he raced the Lolo Srp2 prototype car.(NASCAR PR)(11-17-2004)
- Gilliland to qualify for Gordon: With Robby Gordon scheduled to participate in the SCORE BAJA 1000 Desert Race this week, Gordon has selected David Gilliland to practice and qualify the # 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet this weekend. Gilliland is a competitor in the NASCAR Busch Series Division, West Series and a resident of Riverside, CA. Gordon will arrive in Homestead early Friday morning and participate in “happy hour” and race the car on Saturday.(Robbygordon.com)(11-18-2004)
- Sponsor War? UPDATE: so which one is it? conflicting rumors:
Tina Gordon is talking with several Busch and Truck teams about the 2005 season. She would move to a new team with Vassarette, Microtel and Sticks ‘n Stuff backing financially, as well as a couple of other sponsors that haven’t been announced. She is also finalizing talks with a television series about a regular national show beginning in 2005. She will supposedly NOT return to Jay Robinson Racing and this is not with KCR Racing…….
OR Keith Coleman, owner of KCR Racing told a reporter this evening that Vassarette has severed all ties with Tina Gordon as well as with Jay Robinson Racing and will be sponsoring the #50 entry of Jennifer Jo Cobb for the 2005 season.(11-17-2004)
UPDATE: Former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Jennifer Jo Cobb has linked with Kentucky’s Keith Coleman Racing for this weekend’s Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as well as partnering together for the entire 2005 NASCAR Busch Series schedule, with Cobb aiming for Rookie-of-the-Year honors. In a second KCR (Keith Coleman Racing) entry, she will jump in the #50 Chevrolet Monte Carlo looking to become the third female this season to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. Kim Crosby, another ARCA RE/MAX Series sensation has competed in a limited schedule with WARE Racing and Ortec Racing. The other, Tina Gordon, pilots the #39 Yahoo! Ford Taurus for Jay Robinson Racing. KCR is a new NASCAR Busch Series team joining the tour in the latter part of the 2004 season purchasing the remaining assets of Holigan Racing. Cobb will drive Holigan’s former car number #50 this weekend. Aiding her this weekend in the sponsorship department will be Vassarette. Vassarette, a slick women’s lingerie apparel firm is stepping up from their prior commitments and ready to soar into victory lane with Cobb and the Keith Coleman Racing team. Vassarette debuted in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with driver Tina Gordon at ThorSport Racing in February at Daytona. Shortly after, ThorSport dropped Gordon. She rebounded in the NASCAR Busch Series a short time later to take the reins of the No. 39 Ford Taurus previously driven by Mark Green, who now drives for Keith Coleman Racing. Gordon has struggled behind the wheel with Vassarette as an associate sponsor, failing to make any of her 12 events on time. “Vassarette is no longer associated with Tina Gordon, or Jay Robinson Racing,” said Keith Coleman, owner of Keith Coleman Racing. “We are pleased that they have joined our stable and we are looking forward to a very productive relationship.” Cobb will definitely have lots of support and guidance this weekend. Mark Green, Keith Coleman Racing’s other driver will look to mentor her smoothly into the secondary series of NASCAR. Green pilots the #26 Lovefifi.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Since debuting the team at Kansas Speedway in October, they have been able to qualify for each event they have attempted and the finishes have been promising. Without any provisonals to fall back on the team has needed to gain entry through qualifying times, and they have. With a worst start of 26th, it has to give Cobb confidence going into the weekend knowing that she is going to have strong Wagner horsepower under her. Following Homestead, it will be a busy off-season for Keith Coleman Racing. Lovefifi.com will return as the primary sponsor of Green’s #26 in 2005, while Vassarette inks with Cobb in the #50 next season. In addition to running two-full time NASCAR Busch Series teams with Green and Cobb in 2005, he is also going to launch a third full time NASCAR Busch Series operation with another female driver at the helm. Coleman has sponsorship set for the team, and is currently reviewing possible female candidates for the position. That’s not all Keith Coleman Racing has planned. In addition to his impressive Busch operation, he will also unveil a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team in 2005. The Keith Coleman Racing Cup entry will run a limited schedule with a driver to be announced at a later time. The experience the team receives in Cup will only aid them in their bid for a full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series program in 2006.(Catchfence)(11-18-2004)
- Brewco to announce plans on Friday: Brewco Motorsports will hold a press conference in the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center on Friday, November 19th to discuss Team Brewco’s 2005 NASCAR plans. Supposedly a move to Ford, USPS as a possible larger involement as sponsor, #27 car driver? Keller? Atwood? Kleenex to the #37?(11-17-2004)
- KCR names Hatfield as crew chief of the #26: Wayne Hatfield has been named crew chief of the #26 LoveFiFi.com Chevrolet, Keith Coleman Racing (KCR) announced today. Hatfield, a 15-year veteran of NASCAR, has served as car chief since coming to KCR earlier this year. Before joining KCR, he spent seven years at Brewco Motorsports.(KCR PR)(11-17-2004)
- KCR names Byrd crew chief of the #50: NASCAR veteran Mike Byrd has been named as the crew chief for the #50 Vassarette Chevrolet, Keith Coleman Racing (KCR) announced today. “I’m excited about the opportunity,” Byrd said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us but I’m looking forward to putting a great car on the track at Homestead-Miami.” Byrd has been involved in NASCAR for more than 25 years, including stints at Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Racing and the NASCAR Technical Institute. He has been involved at KCR since the company’s inception and was instrumental in the early success of the team’s first effort, the #26 LoveFiFi.com Chevrolet.(KCR PR)(11-17-2004)
- Harvick in the ESGR car this weekend: Kevin Harvick will be the fifth and final driver of the #29 National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Chevrolet this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. RCR drivers Kevin Harvick and Kerry Earnhardt teamed up with Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart and PPI Racing driver Ricky Craven for five races in the ESGR Chevrolet. Richard Childress has been involved with the ESGR since 2002 and has visited U.S. military troops stationed in Iraq twice.(Keystone Marketing PR)(11-17-2004)
- #2 and #21 swap crews for Homestead: This weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark the first time Clint Bowyer has worked with his new crew chief Gil Martin. The #2 pit crew will service the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet to prepare for the 2005 season when Bowyer climbs aboard the #2 AC Delco Chevrolet.(Keystone Marketing PR)(11-17-2004)
- Free Paintings: theACEX.com to offer Free Oil Paintings from OilImages.com. The Davis Motorsports/Gus Wasson #10 NASCAR Busch Series Team Sponsor will have entry cards at the Homestead-Miami Speedway Ford 300 to enter for a free hand painted oil portrait of your own favorite photo or picture. Entry can also be made online at www.acexenterprises.com and information is available at 406-325-5400.
AND After a season with great qualifying efforts and consistent event finishes (winnings of over $700,000 to date in 2004 and 25th in points), Gus and NASCAR Busch Series No. 10 Team Owner Johnny Davis, have mutually agreed to keep the door open for all options and opportunities. Gus states: I want team owners and crew chiefs to know I am very serious about furthering my career and my experience and desire to compete with goals of winning are very important. Johnny Davis has been great to me and given me an opportunity to drive nearly the complete schedule in 2004, but at this time of my career, and after six years of experience in NASCAR, I need to look at full-time opportunities that may exist in the NASCAR Busch Series and/or the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. For personal interviews, driving auditions and information contact: 704-992-0609.(hufcopromotion.com PR)(11-17-2004)
- Jon Wood Joins ST Motorsports Jon Wood will drive a Ford Taurus next year on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit for ST Motorsports, team owner Tad Geschickter said Tuesday. Wood, the grandson of NASCAR pioneer Glen Wood and son of Eddie Wood, car owner for the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team on the Nextel Cup Series circuit, will join Stacy Compton and Robert Pressley on the ST Motorsports roster. “We will have three of the top drivers in the Busch Series next year,” Geschickter said. “Having Jon come to a team that already has the experience of Robert Pressley and Stacy Compton will be an important addition to our entire organization.” Wood, who has driven on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour for the past four seasons, said the opportunity to drive a stock car is another step in his young career.
Geschickter said he’s still working on finalizing plans for the 2005 season. Wood, 23, won the Craftsman Series truck race at the Kansas Speedway last year. He’s currently ranked 14th in the standings with seven top-10 finishes heading into Friday’s season finale, the Ford 200 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. #47-Pressley and #59-Compton will finish the current Busch Series campaign in this Saturday’s Ford 300 at Homestead. Both are trying to lock down Top-15 finishes in the point standings.(ST Motorsports PR)(11-17-2004)
- Homestead News and Notes:
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) clinched the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series championship last week at Darlington after a season-long battle with Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet). But that doesn’t mean there is a lack of drama connected to the finale. There is still a race to be won Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, along with final places in the Top 10 to be secured.
And here are some of the great moments from the 2004 season:
Truex’s title … The former NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series driver from Mayetta, N.J., was hand-picked by two-time series champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. to run for Chance 2 Motorsports following a test session. Truex made an immediate impact this year by grabbing the Busch Pole in the season-opener at Daytona, and although his boss won that event, Truex went on to secure a first full-time season of highlights similar to Earnhardt’s in 1998 – a series title, six wins to Earnhardt’s seven, seven Busch Poles to Earnhardt’s three, 17 top fives to 16 and 25 top 10s to 22. Truex is the 18th driver to win a NASCAR Busch Series championship. Really a rookie? … Kyle Busch arguably has had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NASCAR history. Busch, who will finish second in the standings –his rivalry with Truex reminded some of the NASCAR Busch Series competition between Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth – comes into Homestead with five wins, tying the series Raybestos Rookie mark. His 17 top fives established a new record while his 21 top-10 finishes are tied for first among rookies all-time. He’s collected five poles, another record, and his second-place finish set another standard; so have his overall points, laps led and races led. When the season ends, he will have collected the most prize money by a rookie driver.
Bliss’ “move of the season” results in first series win … Mike Bliss (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) not only brought the crowd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to its feet on Oct. 15 with his daring middle slot, three-wide frontstretch pass of Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson on Lap 182, but held on for his first NASCAR Busch Series victory. Bliss has since secured a Busch Pole and two more top-five finishes en route to a strong finish and his second consecutive Top 10 ranking. Bliss also posted a fourth-place finish in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond in September, the race that set the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup” lineup. It was the best finish by a NASCAR Busch Series regular in a premier-series event in 22 years.
Biffle’s double-double … Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) can become the first driver in NASCAR history to run a full schedule in both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series if he competes in both events at Homestead. Biffle, the only driver to win a title in the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will finish third in the standings, and can tie for the most wins this season (six) with a victory Saturday.
15 different winners, six first-time winners … Nearly half of this season’s races produced different winners as 15 drivers won events. Martin Truex (six), Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle (five each), Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray (three apiece) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two) were multiple winners. Six drivers visited Victory Lane for the first time in the NASCAR Busch Series – Truex, Busch, Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler, Justin Labonte (No. 44 U.S. Coast Guard Dodge) and Robby Gordon (No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet).
Influx of new drivers refreshes series … While drivers such as Kyle Busch and Jason Leffler move on to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next season, a group of young, talented drivers are ready to enter the NASCAR Busch Series. Some have already made their mark, such as Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge) with two top-10 finishes in his first four series appearances; Paul Menard (No. 11 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet), who won the Busch Pole at Kansas and has seven top-20 finishes in succession; the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of J.J. Yeley (four top 10s in 17 races) and Denny Hamlin (eighth in his first series start last week at Darlington). Other newcomers this season include Aaron Fike (No. 43 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet/Curb Dodge), Blake Mallory (No. 28 Matrix System Automotive Ford), Blake Feese, Boston Reid, and Brandon Miller.
And … Legendary NASCAR names such as Mark Martin, the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (45), Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin made their returns to the series during this season. … Joe Balash was named NASCAR Busch Series Director in July. … Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) set a new series mark for races where he was running at the finish, 72 and counting. He will be making his final run in the No. 2 before moving to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next season. … Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) and David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet) were the only two drivers to have appeared in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 the entire season. … Tubby Smith, coach of the University of Kentucky basketball team – NCAA champions in 1998 – announced he will venture into NASCAR Busch Series ownership as a partner with NEMCO Motorsports next season. Jamie Mosely will be the driver.
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Major broadcast gains posted at Darlington … The NASCAR Busch Series race at Darlington last Saturday again produced tremendous increases in both households and viewers. The exciting finish between Jamie McMurray (No. 66 Duraflame Dodge) and Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) in the BI-LO 200, had a 72% increase in households (1,322,000) over the penultimate event on the same date last season at Rockingham (769,000), also broadcast on TNT. In addition, viewers (1,675,000) increased 67% over last year’s race (1,004,000). The BI-LO 200 aired directly against college football among other programming.
Four drivers eyeing first Top-10 finish in final standings … The final race of the 2004 season could produce as many as four drivers who would appear for the first time in the final NASCAR Busch Series Top 10. Series champion Martin Truex Jr. and runner-up Kyle Busch are first-timers, while Ashton Lewis Jr. whose close second-place finish to Jamie McMurray last week at Darlington was yet another season highlight, is seeking to secure his first Top-10 finish in four full-time seasons in the series. David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet), last year’s Raybestos Rookie of the Year, is 50 points from 10th, but has to be aware of the presence of defending race winner Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge), who enters this final event only seven points behind Stremme in 11th. There is still some wiggle room for drivers to move up or down in the Top 10. Fifth-place David Green trails Ron Hornaday by 62 points while sixth-place Mike Bliss is just 12 points behind Green. On the flip side, Jason Keller will be making his sixth consecutive appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series final championship standings.
Wood to run for ST Motorsports in 2005 … Jon Wood has agreed to drive for ST Motorsports next season, team owner Tad Geschickter announced late Tuesday. Wood, 24, has spent the last two seasons driving full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and is currently 14th coming into Friday’s season finale at Homestead. He finished fifth in the series last year, and also won at Kansas and Martinsville. Wood, the grandson of NASCAR pioneer Glen Wood and the son of Eddie Wood, owner of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will team with current ST drivers Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush’s Baked Beans Ford) and Robert Pressley (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford). “I wish the 2005 season was already here,” Wood said. “I can’t wait. The thing that excited me most about Tad and ST Motorsports is those race teams are his biggest priority, his only priority. It’s all they do. It’s like my dad’s operation – he has the one team and it’s all he does. I like that kind of commitment.” Wood has two starts in the NASCAR Busch Series to his credit – his last was at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2002 where he finished sixth.
Dodge makes late run in manufacturer’s standings … Dodge has made a late-season run in the Bill France Performance Cup standings thanks to Jamie McMurray’s back-to-back victories for the manufacturer at Phoenix and Darlington. Dodge now has four wins on the season and totals 159 points. Chevrolet has already claimed the 2004 championship, and enters Saturday’s finale at Homestead with 20 wins and 252 points. Ford is second with nine victories and 203 points. Chevy is the overall leader at Homestead with five wins.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) has three wins at Homestead. Six drivers have one win each, including defending champion Kasey Kahne and Kevin Lepage (No. 71 McDonald Motorsports Chevrolet – 1996) who are entered in Saturday’s field. … Kahne’s victory last year was his first in the NASCAR Busch Series. … Nemechek is tied with Mark Martin for the lead in top fives at Homestead with five; he leads in top-10 finishes (six). … Nemechek and Jason Keller are looking to become the first drivers to start all 10 NASCAR Busch Series races at the track.
One year ago at Homestead, six drivers entered the race separated by just 89 points from first to sixth. The title wasn’t decided until the final laps of the race when Brian Vickers finished ninth to David Green’s 11th, securing the championship by a mere 14 points, the second-closest finish in series history. … Jamie McMurray will try for his third straight series victory, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since two-time series champion Sam Ard did it in 1984. … Should Martin Truex Jr. finish the race at Homestead, he would become the first NASCAR Busch Series champion to complete the season without a DNF. … Casey Mears (No. 1 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resort Dodge) made his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Homestead in 2001; he finished 28th. … David Gilliland, who drives in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series, will practice and qualify for Robby Gordon – Gordon is competing in the SCORE Baja 1000 Desert race this week. … Jennifer Jo Cobb (No. 50 Vassarette Chevrolet) will attempt her first NASCAR Busch Series start at Homestead. … For the third consecutive year, the NASCAR Busch Series champion will participate in Champion’s Week activities in Tampa and Orlando as a precursor to the NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando on Dec. 10. Truex is scheduled to participate in media activities in Tampa on Dec. 8 at the Tampa Marriott Westshore Champions Restaurant, Truex also will be available, along with members of the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10, in Orlando at a site to be announced on Dec. 9 prior to the banquet.
“We did it.” – Martin Truex Jr. to Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the start-finish line at Darlington after clinching the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series championship.
“It should make for an exciting end to the season.” – Kasey Kahne, defending champion at Homestead.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Since the NASCAR Busch Series first competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1995, only one driver has won the event more than once. Joe Nemechek certainly has the facility figured out since he’s won here on three occasions. His first victory came in 1997 when he led the most laps and took the checkered flag by a margin of .397-second over two-time series champion Randy LaJoie. Nemechek scored a second win in 1999 beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. by less than a second. The third and most recent series win for Nemechek at Homestead came in 2001. He started in 20th position, took the lead with five laps remaining and triumphed over Elton Sawyer by 1.247 seconds.
What: Ford 300 (Race No. 34 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
When: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 20.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile banked oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,352,677.
TV: NBC, 1 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 Winner: Kasey Kahne.
2003 Polesitter: Greg Biffle.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday, Nov 18th; Qualifying, 2:45 p.m. following Truck Series qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(11-18-2004)
- John Boy and Bill team at Homestead: Three-time Busch North Series Champion Andy Santerre will drive the #71 Chevrolet this weekend in the Ford 300 at Homestead. BigShowFarms.com will be on the hood of the car, running in conjunction with the new website for John Boy & Billy Christmas trees.
UPDATE: Now hearing that Santerre will not be in the car and the team is currently working to secure another driver. The reason for Santerre’s decision was not announced.(BGNRacing.com)(11-17-2004)
- Bliss to know Monday: #20-Mike Bliss, who finished third in Saturday’s Busch race in a Joe Gibbs Racing car, isn’t sure where he’ll be next season. He said he’ll meet with team president J.D. Gibbs on Monday about his future. One possibility is the No. 0 Nextel Cup car, which he will drive in the last two races as a replacement for Ward Burton.(Charleston Post and Courier)(11-14-2004)
? have heard nothing else about this.(11-17-2004)
- Busch and some Busch Series Rookies Records:
o Most pole positions- Five- held by Kyle Busch, 2004
o Most championship points- 4,714- held by Kyle Busch, 2004
o Most laps led- 1,089 – held by Kyle Busch, 2004
o Most wins- Five- TIE between Greg Biffle, 2001, and Kyle Busch, 2004
o Most top-10 finishes- 21- TIE between Greg Biffle, 2001, and Kyle Busch, 2004
o Most races led- 19- TIE between Greg Biffle, 2001, and Kyle Busch, 2004
* Kyle Busch is second in the NASCAR Busch Series drivers’ points standings, 161 points behind Martin Truex, Jr. No Raybestos Rookie has ever finished higher than third in the Busch Series drivers’ points standings.
* Kyle Busch has been the top rookie finisher in 24 of 32 races this season, and has all but clinched the title of Raybestos Rookie of the Year.(Golin Harris PR)(11-13-2004)
- Keller still looking for a 2005 ride: NASCAR Busch Series veteran Jason Keller said he still does not know what he will be doing next season, but it appears his choices are becoming more clear. Keller is not likely to return to his ppc Racing team, since the organization has been unable to secure a full-time Busch Series sponsor for him for 2005. Keller has been mentioned as a candidate for one of the Roush Racing Truck series teams – a younger, inexperienced driver is going into the second team – and also a candidate for a Busch ride with Brewco Motorsports, which recently lost driver Johnny Sauter to a James Finch-owned team. “There is a lot of activity, but to say that I’m any closer I think would be a little bit of a stretch. I haven’t ruled out the Truck series and there are some things going on over there,” Keller said. “I’d like to stay in the Busch Series and, hopefully, I can. And, hopefully, I can get something worked out with a Ford team.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-13-2004)
- Someone shot Herman’s Hauler: The Busch Series hauler of Kenny Wallace turned into interstate target practice somewhere on the 34-hour trip from Phoenix to High Point, N.C. “My crew chief called Monday and said ‘Who’d you make mad? We’ve got three bullet holes in our [hauler],'” Wallace said. Scott Weston, the truck driver for the Bill Davis Racing team, discovered the holes on the hauler’s left side upon returning. Weston and his co-driver never heard the shots, which didn’t harm any of the team’s equipment. “It just shows there’s some people that don’t have anything to do in life,” Wallace said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-13-2004)
- Andrews so looking for Busch ride? hearing Tim Andrews, son of #38 crew chief Paul Andrews, is talking with several different Busch teams about driving next season. He has been running in the Busch North series.(11-13-2004)
- McMurray wins at Darlington: #66-Jamie McMurray won the Bi-Lo 200 at Darlington Raceway, his 2nd Busch Series win in a row and 3rd of the year. And the first Busch Series wins for Rusty Wallace Inc. Congrats to the team and congrats go out to #8-Martin Truex Jr for clinching the Busch Series Championship, Truex Jr. [from Jayski’s home state of NJ] is the 18th driver to win a championship in the Busch Series. Was nice to see him win the championship in the Wrangler Colors. Record breaking rookie #5-Kyle Busch finished 33rd and has locked down 2nd spot, Busch got caught up in a wreck when #2-Hornaday got loose and Busch ran into him and #60-Biffle ran into Busch, the later in the race, he cut a tire down and wrecked. #46-Ashton Lewis in his 2nd to last rasce in his family owned team, finished 2nd, tying his career best. Lewis heads over th the #25 Marines Ford in 2005. ROunding out the top-five, #20-Mike Bliss, #8-Martin Truex Jr. and #9-Matt Kenseth.
See race results at:
- Wrangler Unveils Retro Paint Scheme for Truex, Jr. at Darlington: When Martin Truex, Jr. rolls on to the historic track of Darlington Raceway this weekend, history will be on his car, as well. He’ll have a blue and yellow #8 Chevrolet with the Wrangler paint scheme like the one seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt carried for years. It was in 1980 that Dale Earnhardt earned his first NASCAR championship with the same scheme and sponsor on board. The original scheme was driven by Dale Earnhardt beginning in 1981, but it made its debut in the final race of the 1980 season at Ontario Speedway when Dale beat Cale Yarborough for the title by 19 points. The Wrangler colors remained on the car through 1987 with several variations and owners along the way. Earnhardt, Jr. personally chose the 1981 version to run at Darlington this weekend. Truex, Jr. will be decked out in an early 1980’s style-race uniform and his crew will also sport the yellow and blue team colors. They’re even going to don throwback “trucker” mesh style hats. “Darlington has 50 years of history and tradition in NASCAR and this paint scheme represents the history and tradition of the Earnhardts,”Earnhardt, Jr. said. “My dad had a great association with Wrangler and I’m proud of my association with them, as well. Dad won two championships with the Wrangler car. This weekend would be great for Martin to bring the Wrangler yellow and blue to another championship.”
“It is truly an honor to be driving the Wrangler car with a retro-paint scheme honoring Dale Earnhardt,” Truex, Jr. said. “Just to have the opportunity to win my first championship with this paint scheme is beyond anything any driver could ever dream. I would like to thank Teresa, Dale Jr. and the Wrangler Corporation for making this possible. I just hope the history of Wrangler and NASCAR championships repeats itself this weekend.” Wrangler Jeans Company signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. this year. Part of the revitalized partnership includes sponsorship of several NASCAR Busch Series races through Chance 2 Motorsports and a new line of men’s carpenter and cargo jeans, co-designed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.(Chance 2 Motorsports PR)(11-12-2004)
- Qualifying Cancelled by Rain: the Bi-Lo 200 at Darlington Raceway qualifying got 25 cars run when it started raining and cancelled qualifying, so NASCAR set the field by the Busch Series Rules book, so #8-Martin Truex Jr. starts 1st, followed by #5-Kyle Busch.
For the starting lineups, see:
- Davis teams get support: A very positive response from NASCAR fans and business associates, has prompted The American Card Exchange, Buy – Sell – Trade – Sports Card business to sponsor #10-Gus Wasson and #0-Kertus Davis in the BI-L0 200 NASCAR Busch Series event Saturday at Darlington Raceway. RaceGirl Fashion Wear will be an Associate Sponsor for both teams as well.(hufcopromotion.com PR )(11-12-2004)
- Hamlin to make Busch Series debut at Darlington: Following up an impressive third place finish in the ARCA Remax Series finale at Talladega, Denny Hamlin will take the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Busch Series car this weekend at the famed Darlington Raceway. This will be another first for Denny, who has made an impressive series of debuts this season as a Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver. Denny scored a top 10 finish in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this summer at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He followed up that impressive debut with a third place finish in his first ever ARCA Remax Series race at Talladega this fall. Taking advantage of an off weekend for the #18 Vigoro / Home Depot Chevrolet piloted by J.J. Yeley, Joe Gibbs Racing decided to give Denny some seat time in a Busch car.(JGR Site)(11-11-2004)
- Busch series championship scenarios:
– With two races remaining, Martin Truex Jr. has a 161 point lead over second place Kyle Busch, the only other driver that could win the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series Championship.
– The most points that a driver can score in a race is 190 if he wins and leads the most laps. With a 161 point lead, Martin Truex Jr. can afford to lose 80 points each of the two remaining races to Kyle Busch. So even if Busch scores 190 points at Darlington and Homestead-Miami, Truex Jr. will win the championship by scoring any combination that averages 110 points or more for the two races. That would be an average of 17th place. If he leads just one lap in the last two races he gets five bonus points and can average 18th place and still win.
– Truex Jr. can clinch the 2004 championship at Darlington if he outscores Kyle Busch by 30 points or more no matter what happens at the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
– If Truex Jr. leaves Darlington with a 157 or more point lead, he will clinch the title by starting the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
– If Truex Jr. wins the race at Darlington, he wins the title as long as Busch finishes fifth or worse (does not lead) or six or worse (leads a lap).
– If Truex Jr. scores a total of 220 points (17th place points each race) in the last two races, he will win the 2004 championship no matter what Kyle Busch does in the last two races.
– On the other hand, it is possible for Martin Truex Jr. to lose 156 of his 161 point lead to Kyle Busch in either of the last two races, the difference between the maximum points for winning and last place points.
– In any case, Truex Jr. or Busch will become the 18th driver to win the NASCAR Busch Series championship.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-13-2004)
- Darlington News and Notes:
Wallace announces new team, sponsors for 2005 … Rusty Wallace Inc. announced last Friday in Phoenix that Miller High Life and golf ball manufacturer Top Flite will each sponsor the No. 64 Dodge for 17 races in 2005. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers Jeremy Mayfield and Jamie McMurray will make 17 starts each. Wallace, who will drive the No. 64 Dodge at the road-course race in Mexico City, also will continue running the No. 66 Dodge as a part-time team.
Smith & Wesson aims for 2005 debut … Firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson and SKI Motorsports announced last Saturday at Phoenix they would pair up for a part-time schedule in 2005. Chris Lencheski, who was a partner with Innovative Motorsports which competed full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2003 with drivers Kenny Wallace and Shane Hmiel, is the president of SKI Motorsports. No driver or personnel have been announced for the team, which is scheduled to debut at Las Vegas.
Survey Says! NASCAR on Family Feud … The popular game show will air special NASCAR-themed episodes the week of November 15-19. Drivers representing the sanctioning body’s top three national series will pit their NASCAR families of crew chiefs, crew members and family members against each other for the benefit of their favorite charities. The Family Feud lineup includes NASCAR Busch Series drivers David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet), who will play for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet) who will play for the Autism Society of America. Other drivers include Ward Burton, who will play for The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation; Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coor’s Light Dodge), who will play for the Boys and Girls Club of Nashville, Tenn.; Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge), who will play for Target House; NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester (No. 22 Toyota Tundra Toyota), who will play for the Urban Youth Racing School; Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M’s Ford), who will play for the Autism Society of America; Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) and Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) will play for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
No Reed in the wind … Georgia native Reed Sorenson will pilot the No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge for the remaining two NASCAR Busch Series events in 2004 and full-time in 2005 with backing from Discount Tire Co. Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the sponsorship last Friday in Phoenix. Jamie McMurray gave the No. 41 team its first win in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix and Sorenson will compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season. Of the 28 drivers who have made their NASCAR Busch Series debuts in 2004, Sorenson has scored the best finish (13th) at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 7. Sorenson, who has just three NASCAR Busch Series starts, finished 10th at Memphis and led 47 laps at Atlanta before being caught up in an accident and finishing 29th.
Earnhardt headed to NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown … In order to gain more driving experience, Kerry Earnhardt has also competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. After eight races driving the No. 20 NAPA Belts & Hoses Chevrolet for owner Bill McAnally, Earnhardt finished 17th in the point standings resulting in an unexpected benefit. The top-15 drivers in the series were invited to compete in the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown this week (Nov. 11-13) at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Two of the top 15 were unable to attend, and Earnhardt received an invitation to the race. The Toyota All-Star Showdown features the top-15 West Series drivers competing in a 150-lap event against the top-15 drivers from the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series. In addition, the top 40 drivers from the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division compete in a 125-lap race. The Toyota All-Star Showdown will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel Friday at 11 p.m. ET and Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Matt Kenseth (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford) will try to continue the success of Roush Racing at Darlington. Jack Roush leads all owners with 12 wins at the track, eight by Mark Martin and four by Jeff Burton. In nine starts at Darlington, Kenseth has an average finish of 5.0 and has failed to finish in the top 10 only once. Kenseth’s lone win at Darlington in the spring, 1999 race, was with car owner Robbie Reiser. … Mike McLaughlin (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) has not competed at Darlington since 2002, but has nine top 10s in 17 starts. … Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) has scored seven top-10 finishes in his last eight starts at Darlington. ETC.
Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) is on a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes. … Jimmy Spencer (No. 98 Bryan Foods Chevrolet) will attempt his second NASCAR Busch Series start this season at Darlington in a second car owned by Michael Waltrip Racing. … Denny Hamlin of Chesterfield, Va., will attempt to make his first career NASCAR Busch Series start Saturday in the No. 18 Vigoro/The Home Depot Chevrolet owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin finished 10th in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 6. … Stanton Barrett will team up with DCT Motorsports at Darlington in the No. 36 Chevrolet. DCT crew chief Ricky Pearson is the son of NASCAR legend and 10-time Darlington winner David Pearson. … Several members of BREWCO Motorsports, including driver David Green and crew chief Jason Ratcliff, were scheduled to parachute in tandem with the U.S. Army Golden Knights on Wednesday at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
“Darlington is tough, no doubt about it. Drivers, especially rookies, are looking for consistency, but that’s hard to find at probably the most inconsistent track we run. Every lap is different.” – Derrike Cope (No. 49 Advil Ford). “Darlington is true racing. The track’s got a personality all to itself. All of the skills that it takes to be a good racer are put to the test there. There’s no such thing as too much patience, skill and luck when it comes to the Lady in Black.” – Johnny Sauter (No. 27 Kleenex Chevrolet).
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Mark Martin is the undisputed king of Darlington Raceway’s fall NASCAR Busch Series event. He has scored a record five wins and four poles since the race’s inception in 1983. Martin’s first Darlington pole came in 1992 with his first win in the 1993 event. Two poles were back-to-back in 1996 and 1997. All five of his victories have come in succession. The first three were in 1993, 94 and ’95 with the last two in 1999 and 2000. Martin scored all his wins in Jack Roush-prepared Fords. Three of Martin’s victories have been extremely close. The 1993 event saw Martin beat runner-up Randy LaJoie by a mere .65 of a second. Johnny Benson had to settle for second place in 1995 as Martin won by a margin of .79 of a second, and Roush teammate Jeff Burton lost by .41 of a second to Martin in 2000.
What: Bi-Lo 200 (Race No. 33 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C.
When: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 13.
Track layout: 1.336-mile oval.
Race length: 200 miles/147 laps.
Posted awards: $953,846
TV: NBC, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Brian Vickers.
2003 Polesitter: Kevin Harvick.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday — Practice, 9-11:15 a.m.; Qualifying, 1:30 p.m.; Final practice following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying (approximately 4:45 p.m.).(NASCAR PR)(11-11-2004)
- Wolfe gets the Hungry Driver ride for 2005, Elton Sawyer named Team Director: Unilever Foods Division and Evernham Motorsports announced today that Paul Wolfe has been named as the primary “hungry” driver of the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season. Plans call for Wolfe to drive the #6 Dodge in a majority of the Busch companion events, allowing him to run for the Rookie of the Year title. The Hungry Drivers program will continue its theme of discovering up-and-coming talent by choosing additional “hungry” drivers to showcase their skills in a number of the NASCAR Busch Series stand-alone events. Elton Sawyer will lead the team as Team Director. Wolfe’s performance in the #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge in 2004 was impressive for a rookie driver with only two previous NASCAR Busch Series starts. In three starts he posted two top-20 finishes including 18th place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 12th place at New Hampshire International Raceway.(Hungry Drivers PR)(11-12-2004)
- KCR forms partnership with Vassarette: Keith Coleman Racing (KCR) announced the formation of a second team that will debut in the Busch Series’ final race of the season. KCR has announced an agreement with Vassarette to sponsor the number #50 Chevy in the Ford Championship 300 on November 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The car will be driven by Jennifer Jo Cobb, an up and coming driver who has been racing since 1991. She has amassed more than 60 career victories on four different racing series in that time. Most recently, she has competed in the ARCA Re/Max series and has three top-10 finishes to her credit in five career starts. Cobb will be competing in the first Busch Series race of her career. She will be looking to gain valuable experience to use in 2005 when she will be competing for the Busch Series’ Rookie of the Year award.(KRC PR) Mark Green drives the team’s other car, #26 Chevy.(11-12-2004)
- Spencer in the #99 UPDATE: Jimmy Spencer will drive the #99 Michael Waltrip Chevy at Darlington Raceway in Novemember. Mentioned on Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup.(10-11-2004)
UPDATE – Spencer has a part-time Busch ride: Jimmy Spencer will make his Michael Waltrip Racing debut this weekend in the Busch Series race at Darlington Raceway in the #99 Bryan Foods Chevy. Spencer is also scheduled to run the #99 in five Busch Series races in 2005: Atlanta [Mar], Talladega, Darlington, Bristol [Aug] and Memphis.(Bryan Foods Site)(11-10-2004)
UPDATE, actually Spencer will be in a 2nd Waltrip car #98. at Darlington in 2004, Spencer will be in the #98, Waltrip will be in the #99.(11-11-2004)
- Cameron leaving West for Cup/Busch/Trucks: Bill McAnally Racing driver, Austin Cameron will be making his last appearance representing the team at the upcoming NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on November 13th. Cameron, who has been a series regular since 1998, is seeking opportunities to race in one of NASCAR’s national premier series. Cameron has made an appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the Infineon Speedway in both 2004 and in 2002. He looks forward to joining one of NASCAR national premier series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, NASCAR Busch Series Busch, or the NASCAR Nextel Cup and record another Rookie-of-the-Year title and a series championship title.(RacingWest.com)(11-9-2004)
- Top-Flite and Rusty’s Busch team? UPDATE: hearing that Top Flite golf equipment will sponsor Rusty Wallace’s #66 Busch team in some capacity in 2005.(10-15-2004)
UPDATE – Rusty Wallace announces 2nd Busch team: Rusty Wallace Inc. announced on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway the signing of Miller High Life to the #64 Dodge in 2005. The car will be driven by Jeremy Mayfield for 17 races. Top Flite will also sponsor the car and will be driven by Jamie McMurray in other events. Wallace’s original team, the #66, will continue to run but a driver has yet to be named. Wallace also said that as of now, he plans on making the trip to Mexico City as the driver. Since it is a standalone Busch event, none of his sponsors have yet decided to jump on board for that weekend.(BGNRacing.com)(11-5-2004)
Mayfield: Rusty Wallace Inc. (RWI) announces a new addition to their Busch Series team for the 2005 season. RWI will join forces with Miller’s signature “Champagne of Beers,” Miller High Life, for 17 events on the 35-race schedule. Wallace, who has a long-standing relationship with Miller Brewing Company, has signed on NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jeremy Mayfield to pilot the #64 Miller High Life Dodge for the limited NBS schedule.
McMurray: The Top-Flite Golf Company announced it will serve as the primary sponsor of RWI Racing’s #64 Dodge for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jamie McMurray in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2005. The new black, red and white TOP-FLITE car was unveiled today at Phoenix International Raceway. McMurray will officially fire up the TOP-FLITE Dodge at California Speedway on February 26, 2005. Under his new sponsorship agreement, McMurray will race for RWI Racing LLC, the NASCAR team owned by racing legend Rusty Wallace – an avid golfer who plays Callaway Golf equipment and represents Callaway Golf branded and Odyssey licensed products. To find more information on The Top-Flite Golf Company, visit http://www.topflite.com.(RWIracing.com Top Flight / Miller High Life)(11-8-2004)
- Bashas’ Supermarkets Sponsoring New Spring Event at Phoenix: One of Arizona’s most popular chain retailers Bashas’ Supermarkets announced that it will serve as the title sponsor for the new NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22, 2005. The new agreement runs through 2008. Bashas’ Supermarkets is a well-known sponsor and promoter of PIR, where they have been the title sponsor of the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 for the past three years, including the 2004 featured event. In the past year, the Bashas family of stores has also sponsored Grand American Rolex Series races at PIR. In the last decade, Bashas has doubled in size with stores under the Bashas name, as well as AJ’s Fine Foods, and Food City, bringing the total to more than 144 stores. The different formats enable the company to serve different “demographic neighborhoods” with the appropriate mixture of products and services to meet the needs of the customers. The new spring weekend features a NASCAR Grand National, West Series race, and the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday night. Tickets for the new race weekend, including the first-ever NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series night race in Arizona can be purchased by phone at 602-252-2227 or 1-866-408-7223; online at www.phoenixraceway.com or at the track during this race weekend.(PIR PR)(11-7-2004)
- Smith & Wesson Joins Forces With SKI Motorsports for 2005 Busch team: Smith & Wesson, the legendary 152-year old firearms manufacturer, announced a new, multi-year partnership with SKI Motorsports to campaign a NASCAR racing entry beginning in 2005. The Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet will make its competitive debut at the NASCAR Busch Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 12, 2005. It is also scheduled to enter 2005 Busch series races that follow at Atlanta, Charlotte, Daytona, Bristol, California, Texas and Phoenix. Car number, driver lineup and team personnel will be announced at a later date.
SKI Motorsports, with race headquarters based in Charlotte, N.C., is an independent organization of Bethlehem, Pa.-based sports marketing and entertainment representation agency SKI & Company, which also has offices in London and New York. Chris Lencheski, president of SKI Motorsports is a former partner in the Innovative Motorsports organization that campaigned NASCAR Busch Series entries for Kenny Wallace and Shane Hmiel and, most notably, brought sponsors Stacker2 and Mike’s Hard Lemonade [what happened to the Hard Ice Tea?] into the NASCAR realm. More info about Smith & Wesson, log on to www.smith-wesson.com.(11-6-2004)
- Jon Wood to the Busch Series…not with Roush? UPDATE 2: Jon Wood, the grandson of NASCAR pioneer Glen Wood, appears set to move from the truck series to the Busch circuit next season. Wood, who drives the #50 Ford for Roush Racing, recently tested a Busch car owned by Tad Geschickter, who fields the entries driven by Stacy Compton and Robert Pressley. “We tested Jon for the Ford folks,” Geschickter said. “They’ve been helping us a lot this year, and they wanted to see what he looked like in a Busch car. He was pretty fast. He was very smooth lap after lap. He was very enthusiastic. I think he’s a great driver.” Geschickter said his plans for 2005 are still up in the air. “I’m meeting with my sponsors next week to go over next year’s promotions,” he said. “I’ll know more then. I’m not confident enough to point a finger at one [driver]. I know we need to run faster. Beyond that I’m not ready to point the finger.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
AND ST Motorsports [#47 and #59] owner Tad Geschickter is evaluating his two-car NASCAR Busch Series team and will be meeting with sponsors next week to discuss plans for the 2005 season. Geschickter fields Fords for drivers Stacy Compton and Robert Pressley. Both drivers have struggled this season. “Both my drivers have agreements for next year. I’m meeting with my sponsors next week to go over next year’s promotions. So, I’ll know more then,” Geschickter said. Earlier this month at Kansas, Geschickter tested NASCAR Truck Series driver Jon Wood in his No. 59 Ford and was pleased with the results. Wood currently drives for Roush Racing in Trucks but his team does not have a sponsor lined up for 2005.(Thatsracin.com)(10-16-2004)
UPDATE: Jon Wood, son of car owner Eddie Wood, undertook a little extra curricular activity last week when he piloted an NASCAR Busch Ford Taurus during a test session. The session went well for Wood and lit a fire of desire that might be hard to extinguish. “He was fortunate enough to go test with Stacy Compton last week and ST Motorsports in Kansas,” confirmed Wood, who is the co-owner of the #21 Motorcraft Ford. “That’s one of Jon’s favorite tracks. He won his first race there. He was really excited about it. I haven’t talked to him that much since he’s been there, but he seemed really happy and it seemed like he ran really well.” Wood, who has two Busch Series starts, one of which netted a top-10 finish, seems to like the feel of the cars as opposed to the trucks, at least according to his father. “The big thing he told me is that the Busch cars seem to have more area to work with to get speed out of them versus the truck,” relayed Wood of his conversation with the youngster. “With the truck you unload it, you drive it off down in there and what you’ve got is what you’ve got. With the Busch car it seemed to have a lot more area to work on to pick up speed.”
“He hasn’t had a very good year so far,” Wood admits of his son’s struggle in the Craftsman Truck Series this year—an effort that has Jon riding 15th in the points, compared to teammate Carl Edwards’ third place standing. “Last year [Jon] won two races and things really looked like they were on top of everything and then just one thing or another has gone wrong. Things just haven’t gone really like any of them want but he was excited to get the opportunity to go test this car whether he gets a Busch ride with someone or not.” Asked about any career path discussions he might have with his son, Wood offers, “He would like to go Bush racing and get some seat time in a Busch car. He’s driven in a couple races in a Busch car but he’s never had a full ride in one,” the senior Wood continued. “He ran [Indianapolis Raceway Park] a couple years ago and had a good run but he wants to get in a car really bad. I want him in a car, too. He started out in cars,” reminds Wood. “He ran some Winston West races and he’s tested a lot with us, so it’s not a matter of him getting used to it. He picked that up pretty quick. We’re really excited about it.” Wood told www.teamfordracing.com that he’s hoping his son can arrange a ride in the Busch Series, preferably as soon as next year. “That is the next logical step—and I think he’s ready for it.”(Team Ford Racing)(10-17-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jon Wood will move to the Busch Series and drive a Ford next season. Although, Motor Racing Network [MRN] announced a deal is set, Wood has yet to sign a contract. It is expected to take place soon.(Roanoke Times)(11-6-2004)
- McMurray wins at Phoenix: #41-Jamie McMurray claimed the win on Saturday in the Bashas’ Supermarket 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway after battling throughout the 200-mile event with #5-Kyle Busch. McMurray had to fend off Busch after the series’ third straight green-white-checkered flag finish gave him one more shot at the top spot. A solid jump by McMurray however closed the door as Busch settled into second at the finish. The win was special for McMurray as it fell on his 100 th career Busch Series start. Another plus for the driver of the #41 Dodge, it was the first for car owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates in the Busch Series with their newly formed team. McMurray’s drive to the checkers however was nearly knocked out on lap 189. Just as then leader Busch made the pass on the lapped car of John Graham, the #72 spun barely missing McMurray. After cleanup, the field then took the green flag in a single file restart and McMurray quickly took the lead with Busch riding closely on the rear of his Dodge. To his advantage, the yellow flew again after a multi-car wreck broke out involving #32-Shane Hmiel, #12-Tim Fedewa, #59-Stacy Compton and #99-Michael Waltrip with just four laps remaining, setting the field up for the green-white-checkered run. #8-Martin Truex, Jr. continues his stranglehold on the top spot in the point standings. After an early miscue in his pits, Truex bounced back and claimed the third spot. He now leads Busch by 161 points with two events remaining. Including the winner McMurray, Nextel Cup racers dominated the top 10 spots. #55-Robby Gordon, #60-Greg Biffle, #9-Mark Martin, #66-Rusty Wallace and #17-Matt Kenseth claimed spots four through eight. #46-Ashton Lewis, Jr. had a solid weekend with a good qualifying effort followed up by a strong ninth place showing. #00-Tony Raines, driving his first and only race in the Haas Racing entry, brought home a well-deserved 10th.(full race report at BGNRacing.com)
Caution flags: 9 for 42 laps.
Lead changes: 11 among 4 drivers.
See results at:
- Busch wins pole at Phoenix: #5-Kyle Busch turned his first NASCAR Busch Series qualifying session into a memorable one Thursday, winning the pole for Saturday’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Speedway with a track record lap at 133.819 mph. This is Busch’s first appearance at the track as a driver. His Hendrick Motorsports team elected not to test the track, but he did run in Thursday’s NASCAR Southwest Tour race at the track for experience. #60-Greg Biffle qualified second, #41-Jamie McMurray third, #46-Ashton Lewis Jr. fourth and #27-Johnny Sauter completed the top-five. Busch Series points leaders, #8-Martin Truex Jr. will line up ninth.(see a qualifying report at ThatsRacin.com)
Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results:
- Haas-CNC and Labonte team up in 2005: Terry Labonte and Gene Haas have formed a partnership to field Chevrolets for Justin Labonte in the NASCAR Busch Series. Justin, Terry’s 23-year-old son, is running a limited Busch Series schedule this year backed by the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard announced in September that they would be back with Labonte for the full 35-race Busch Series schedule in 2005. The Coast Guard team will be run out of the Haas CNC Racing facility near Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Haas receives chassis, motor and technical support from Hendrick Motorsports for his Nextel Cup and Busch Series programs. Terry Labonte has been a Hendrick Motorsports driver since 1994, and won the second of his two Nextel Series championships driving for Hendrick in 1996. Terry Labonte, named by NASCAR as one of their Top Fifty all time drivers in 2000, recently announced that he will begin to wind down his driving career by running 10 Nextel Cup races for Hendrick Motorsports in each of the next two years and then retire as a driver after the 2006 season.
“When I announced that I was cutting back on my racing I said that much of the free time it would create for me would be devoted to helping Justin with his driving career,” said Terry Labonte. “This partnership with Gene Haas is just the beginning of that effort. I plan to be at most of their races and support them and our team in anyway I can. We have accomplished a lot this while running a partial schedule with a team started from scratch. Justin won his first Busch Series race at Chicagoland in only our seventh start. For Justin to take the next step and to be able to compete for the championship, we needed to get him aligned with an organization that has a Nextel Cup alliance.”
Gene Haas is also thrilled about the relationship saying, “I am very excited about the opportunity to team up with Terry Labonte and the Coast Guard for the 2005 season. I think we will have a good chance to contend for the championship. With Justin Labonte behind the wheel of the Coast Guard Chevrolet and Hendrick engines I know we have a winning combination.”
Justin Labonte will be back running for Chevrolet just like his dad and uncle, Bobby Labonte. “With us all driving Chevrolets we will be able to do more promotions together than when I was driving a Dodge,” said Justin. “This is going to be a great opportunity for me and the Coast Guard — to be running for the championship with a team that has been in the Top Five in points most of the year. Both of our teams have won a race this year so we know what we’re all capable of accomplishing.”
Justin will begin his association with the new program starting at Darlington next week where he will drive the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet. The Darlington race was not on Team Coast Guard Racing’s 15-race schedule this year. Justin will run the final Busch Series race of 2004 in the #44 Coast Guard Shield of Freedom Chevrolet out of the Haas shop as they get ready for a run at the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series championship.(Coast Guard Racing site), the team will switch from #00 to #44 and be a one car team.(11-5-2004)
- Roush Truck/Busch Lineup to Change: The makeup of Roush Racing’s Busch and Truck series teams are likely to undergo major changes next season. Much of the change depends on the organization’s ability to land a sponsor for its #99 Ford in the Nextel Cup Series. Carl Edwards is currently driving the car and will remain in it should a sponsor be secured. If no sponsor turns up, Edwards will likely move to the Busch series and drive the #60 Ford, team officials confirmed. Edwards would take over for Greg Biffle, who drove the car this season. Edwards and Jon Wood currently drive Roush’s Truck entries this season, but Wood also appears headed for the Busch series next year, likely with ST Motorsports [#47, #59]. Roush officials say they plan to run two trucks next season and at least one of the drivers will come from a tryout system that began last week at North Wilkesboro, N.C. Ten drivers remain in the competition and they will test again Nov. 15 at Darlington.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-5-2004)
- Sauter in the #1 in 2005? UPDATE yep: After weeks of rumbling it looks as though Johnny Sauter may finally be announced as the driver of the #1 James Finch Dodge. Although the driver had one more season under the Brewco Motorsports banner, a small snag in his contractual obligation could very well unravel the whole deal. While with Brewco, Sauter is unable to drive for a competing Busch Series team. But, if plans arise for him to drive a Nextel Cup effort, it gives him the excuse he needs to get out of his contract. As it appears now, Sauter will pilot the #1 next season with occasional starts also in the #09 Cup car.(BGNRacing.com)
AND James Finch is still trying to line up a full-time driver for his #1 Dodge Busch Series ride for next season. Finch said Friday he had a driver ready to announce, but last-minute complications with the driver’s current team have held things up. Johnny Sauter, who currently drives the #27 Chevrolets for Brewco Motorsports and will drive Finch’s Cup car next weekend at Charlotte, has been Finch’s leading choice, sources said. Brewco officials maintain that Sauter remains under contract through the 2005 season.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
UPDATE: Team owner James Finch announced this week he had hired Johnny Sauter to drive his #1 Dodges full-time next season. Sauter, who has driven in the Nextel Cup and Busch series, has two Busch wins and is a former champion of the American Speed Association. “All I can do is promise to work hard and give it everything I got,” Sauter said. “I want to win races and I want to win the championship and I know we can do it as a team.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-4-2004)
- Homestead testing at Homestead Nov. 8th and 9th: Busch Series testing is scheduled next Tuesday and Wednesday November 8-9 with 20 drivers tentatively scheduled to test on the high-banked 1.5 mile oval follow. Fans may view the testing from the Speedway’s Club Level.
Tentative list of drivers participating in Nov 8 and 9 test (subject to change).
#5-Kyle Busch, #41-Reed Sorenson, #20-Mike Bliss, #21-Clint Bowyer, #29-Kevin Harvick.(HMS PR)(11-3-2004)
- Miller Named Co-Driver of #21 Reese’s Chevy for 2005: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will team Brandon Miller with 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Champion Kevin Harvick in the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season. The 23-year-old San Diego native will compete in 20 of the season’s 35 races while Harvick will be behind the wheel for the remaining 15. He will make his season debut March 19 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Miller will replace Clint Bowyer, who in October was named as the driver of RCR’s #2 ACDelco Chevrolet for 2005. Miller caught the eye of Bobby Hutchens, RCR’s Vice President of Competition, in 2003 when he qualified sixth and finished eighth in his NASCAR Truck Series debut at Mesa Marin Speedway (Bakersfield, Calif.) in an entry fielded by Kevin Harvick, Inc.(RCR PR)(11-3-2004)
- Kenseth Makes Waste Management Team Debut at Phoenix: Matt Kenseth will make his debut in the #17 Waste Management Ford Taurus this weekend in the Busch Series race on November 6th at Phoenix International Raceway. He will also run the car in fourteen select events in the 2005 season. Kenseth’s participation with the brand new sponsor headlines a concentrated diversity effort for Waste Management’s team sponsorship which also includes Craftsman Truck driver Bill Lester in the #22 Toyota Tundra. Along with the top Waste Management executives, they have all scheduled an 8:30am/pt press conference in the infield media center to unveil their 2005 program. Waste Management executives scheduled to attend include CEO David Steiner, Vice-President of Ethics and Diversity Carlton Yearwood and Vice-President of Marketing Curt Knapp. Roush Racing Chief Diversity Officer Sam Belnavis will offer remarks and Mike Helton, the President of NASCAR, is also scheduled to offer his input on the successful pairings.(Roush Racing PR)(11-3-2004)
- Smith part of a new Busch team? BGNRacing.com is hearing that Doug Barnette of Player Management will be fielding a Busch car for Regan Smith in 2005. The deal will be a partnership with Fred Biagi and is contingent upon sponsorship, which, from what we hear, is in the process of being put together.(BGNRacing.com)(11-3-2004)
- Phoenix News and Notes:
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Long John Silvers Chevrolet) and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet) are focusing more on where they finish Saturday as opposed to making their first career NASCAR Busch Series starts at Phoenix.
With three races left in the 2004 season, the young drivers – who are one-two in the point standings, respectively – have spent the last 21 race weeks battling each other for the lead. Truex has held serve for the last 17 consecutive race weeks, while Busch has been in the lead three times during that span.
Truex, now with a 176-point lead, was able to secure a top-10 finish at Atlanta despite numerous maladies throughout the race. Busch, driving with a heavy heart following the tragedy surrounding his Hendrick Motorsports team, channeled his emotion to a near-victory, finishing second to Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Waste Management Ford) following a dramatic green-white-checker finish. Busch gained 32 points on the leader, and quelled any opportunity for Truex to clinch the 2004 championship this weekend.
Instead, Truex needs to finish 10th or better in the remaining three races in order to clinch.
Lewis focuses on first career top-10 finish and new ride in ’05 … Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) has quietly produced the best of his four fulltime seasons in the NASCAR Busch Series, and is on the verge of securing his first top-10 finish in the championship standings. Lewis heads to Phoenix 10th in the rankings, a position he has held for the last three race weeks. Although still locked in a battle with David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. Navy Chevrolet) for that coveted spot – Lewis is only 17 points ahead of Stremme – he also has his sights set on further advancement as he sits just 39 points behind ninth-place Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet). In addition to his resurgent season, Lewis, who has driven for family-owned Lewis Motorsports, was named last week as the driver for the No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford and co-owners Ed and Sam Rensi in 2005. Lewis has bittersweet feelings toward the move but is excited about the opportunity Team Rensi represents. “I think they have a great team and they obviously have great equipment,” he said. “(Crew chief) Harold (Holly) built up a really good stable of cars and group of guys.” As far as the remainder of 2004 is concerned, Lewis relishes the opportunity to be a part of the season-ending NASCAR Busch Series awards banquet at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 10. “I look forward to the opportunity to go on stage, and the opportunity to do it with our team,” he said. “To finish 10th in points, to know what we had to race against and the resources we had to race against and do as well as we have, I think would be a tremendous accomplishment, especially since it’s our last season together. I don’t think there could be a better finish to the season.”
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
TV numbers up for third consecutive week … The NASCAR Busch Series has produced increases in both households and viewers for three straight weeks thanks to another strong showing for the series on TNT last Saturday at Atlanta. The Aaron¡¦s 312 had a 22% increase in households (1,139,000) over the event last season (937,000), also broadcast on TNT. In addition, viewers (1,434,000) increased 16% over last year (1,236,000). TNT’s Memphis race broadcast on Oct. 23 had a household increase of 47% and a viewership uplift of 55% over last season, while the Oct. 15 event at Charlotte – also on TNT – was the highest, most-viewed NASCAR Busch Series fall event in the history of Lowe’s Motor Speedway with increases of 50% and 44% among viewers and households, respectively, from the previous season.
Yeley back home again in Phoenix … J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) is excited to get to Phoenix for more reasons than one. The 28-year-old is a Phoenix native, and will be making his first NASCAR Busch Series start at PIR. “Any time you can go home and race in front of family and friends, it always adds a little extra motivation,” he said. In a limited schedule this year for Joe Gibbs Racing, Yeley has shown steady improvement and has collected two top-10 finishes in his last two races, including a career-best sixth at Kansas. He was 10th last week at Atlanta. Overall, Yeley has finished in the top 15 in half of his 16 series starts to date. Not that he’s anxious for the season to end, but he’s just as excited to get started on 2005 and have a chance to run for the NASCAR Busch Series championship. “The main initiative with our program in 2004 was to prepare for a full schedule in 2005, and that’s where we’re headed,” he said. “I can’t wait to go test at Daytona and get ready for the opener in February.”
Busch rewriting Raybestos Rookie record book … With his tremendous overall season and the fact that, with three races left, he’s still in the hunt for the NASCAR Busch Series title, does anyone remember that Kyle Busch is still a Raybestos Rookie? Busch, 19, is on the verge of putting together the greatest season ever by a NASCAR Busch Series rookie, and arguably one of the best rookie seasons in any of NASCAR’s three national series. Busch has already broken two rookie records (most poles, four and most championship points, 4,524 and counting). No rookie has ever finished higher than third in the point standings; Busch is currently second. In addition, the native of Las Vegas, is tied with Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) for the most wins by a rookie with five. Busch, who is first in the series in laps led, needs to lead only seven more to overtake Biffle’s pervious record of 948 in 2001. He also needs two top-10 finishes in the final three events to break Biffle’s record of 21. And when the prize money is distributed at season’s end, Busch will likely surpass Biffle’s record of $1,623,546; he currently leads the series in that category. Busch, who has never raced at PIR but will run in Thursday’s NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race, will move to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next season for Hendrick Motorsports.
Martin, Wallace run at Phoenix … Two NASCAR legends are entered in the NASCAR Busch Series event at Phoenix. All-time leader in series wins Mark Martin (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford – 45 wins) and Rusty Wallace (No. 66 DuraFlame Dodge) will compete together in the series for the second time this year. Both ran at Michigan, with Martin finishing second and Wallace sixth. Martin is making his fifth and final series run of the year at Phoenix while Wallace returns for the second time this season and only the second time since 1993. Wallace has an announcement scheduled for Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the PIR Infield Media Center pertaining to the driver for RWI’s (Rusty Wallace Inc.) NASCAR Busch Series plans for 2005. Wallace, with 36 career series starts, is seeking his first win. He has accumulated eight top fives, 15 top 10s and two Busch Poles. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in three of his four previous series starts this season and has 94 top-five and 129 top-10 career finishes. Both drivers will be making their first NASCAR Busch Series starts at PIR. Ford breaks through in Manufacturers standings … Although Chevrolet has clinched the Bill France Performance Cup for 2004, Ford broke through last week with Matt Kenseth’s win at Atlanta to register its ninth win of the season. The victory broke a five-race streak by Chevy, and was the first for Ford since Greg Biffle won at California on Sept. 4. Chevrolet enters Phoenix with 20 wins on the season and totals 240 points. Ford has 195 points and Dodge has two wins and 141 points. Ford has been dominant at Phoenix with three wins in five races at the track, including Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s victory one year ago.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
There have been five different winners in the five NASCAR Busch Series races at Phoenix; Greg Biffle (2001) is the lone former winner in this year’s field. … There have also been five different Busch Pole winners at PIR; three of those five – Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Jimmy Spencer – are entered. … Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) leads all drivers with three top-five and four top-10 finishes at Phoenix. … Biffle has led 297 laps at Phoenix and has started and finished in the top 10 in all three of his races there.
Greg Biffle is on a streak of four consecutive top-five finishes. … Jason Keller (No. 22 First Horizon Ford) became the first driver in NASCAR Busch Series history to surpass the $9 million mark in winnings with his finish last week at Atlanta. … Jamie McMurray (No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge) will attempt his 100th NASCAR Busch Series start at Phoenix, while David Stremme will look to make his 50th. … Jason Jefferson will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Phoenix in the No. 24 GIC Mixon Motorsports entry. Jefferson has run in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest and Southwest Series. … Shane Hmiel (No. 32 TRIMSPA X32 Dodge) will pull double duty at Phoenix, also running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event Friday for Ballew Motorsports in the No. 15 Chevrolet Silverado. … Ron Hornaday will also run in both races this weekend; the two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado. … Johnny Sauter’s No. 27 Chevrolet will carry an image of the United States Postal Service-issued World War II Memorial Stamp. Sauter’s grandfather fought and died in that conflict. … Kevin Harvick not only set the track record in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix last year, but he also won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the venue one year ago.
“Unless you are in the hunt for the championship, this is the time of the season when you seem to be going in 100 different directions. You want to finish this year on a high note, and that has to be your major priority.” – Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO Ford). “Phoenix is like a home away from home. We won a lot of NASCAR Southwest Tour, NASCAR Winston West and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races there. We also came close several times in the NASCAR Busch Series. I just really like the track and figured out the best way to drive it. I don’t want to give out my secrets though.” – Ron Hornaday.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway has become one of the most competitive on the circuit. The series has competed at Phoenix since 1999, and the previous five events have produced five different race winners and five different Busch Pole winners. Jeff Gordon, in one of his infrequent NASCAR Busch Series starts since moving to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, won the inaugural event in 1999, and Ken Schrader won the Busch Pole for that race. Jack Roush is the only team owner with more than a single victory in this event. Jeff Burton won in 2000 and Greg Biffle took the event in 2001, both were driving Roush-prepared Fords. Additionally, Kevin Harvick set the event qualifying record of 132.930 mph last year. Throughout the five-race history of the event, the top five finishing positions have been held by 19 of a possible 25 different drivers.
What: Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 (Race No. 32 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
When: 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 6.
Track layout: 1-mile oval.
Race length: 200 miles/200 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,253,767.
TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Bobby Hamilton Jr.
2003 Polesitter: Kevin Harvick.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday – Practice, 10- 11:55 a.m.; Qualifying, 1:35 p.m.; Friday – Final practice 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.(NASCAR PR)(11-5-2004)
- Blaney in the #82 at Phoenix and Homestead: Dave Blaney will return to the wheel of the #82 FitzBradshaw Racing entry this weekend in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, this time sporting the red and black colors of Jani-King. This will be the sixth race this season where Jani-King has been a primary sponsor of a FitzBradshaw entry. Jani-King initially signed with FBR in 2002, the first year the team was formed. Jani-King has continued its relationship with FBR in 2003 and 2004 as both a primary and associate sponsor. Blaney has driven for FBR on two other occasions this season. The experienced veteran has logged many laps at PIR, most of which have come in Nextel Cup cars. The Jani-King – Blaney combo will return to the track for the last race of the season at Homestead.(PSE-3/FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(11-3-2004)
- Jefferson to run the #24 car at Phoenix; Grissom in the #93: GIC Mixon Motorsports says it will give Jason Jefferson a chance to make his Busch Series debut this weekend in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Jefferson, a native of Yakima, Wash., who has competed in a number of NASCAR’s regional racing series, will drive the team’s No. 24 Chevrolet with a one-race sponsorship deal from Yakama Nation Legends Tribal Gaming. The team will also enter its #93 Chevrolet for Steve Grissom in Saturday’s Busch Series race and a #93 Chevrolet for Geoffrey Bodine in Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup race.(NASCAR Scene), hearing Jefferson could run some Busch races for Akin’s Motorsports in 2005.(11-3-2004)
- #00 Drivers at Phoenix and Darlington: Tony Raines will be behind the wheel of the Haas Automation #00 Chevrolet this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Raines has made five Busch Series starts at Phoenix, his best finish being 16th place in 2001. Following the event this weekend, Justin Labonte will fill the seat for the final two races on the 2004 Busch Series schedule. Labonte will be driving the Haas Automation #00 at Darlington which was not a race on the 15-race limited scheduled with the Coast Guardthis year. Justin will be back behind the wheel of the Coast Guard Shield of Freedom #44 at the season ending Busch Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.(BGNRacing.com)(11-3-2004)
- Carl Long to run some Busch races: Carl Long and NASCAR Busch Series team owner, Tyrrell Madden, have teamed up in hopes of running the final two NASCAR Busch Series races of the season at Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team will operate under #90 with Carl Long behind the wheel, and will utilize Long’s Busch Series Dodge stockcar, and Madden’s Busch Series Dodge engine. USAR Hooters Pro Cup veteran, Greg Marlowe, has been helping the newly formed team prepare the car for competition. Carl Long is making available a special offer for companies who are looking to sponsor in the NASCAR Busch Series; who want high profile car coverage, but do not have a lot of money to spend. For $20,000 per race, the sponsor will receive full primary sponsorship coverage on the #90 Long/Madden Dodge. “This is going to be a complete effort, not no start and park deal,” Carl Long stated. “We just want to race, but we need a little help to get us there.” This offer is available for the BI-LO 300 at Darlington Raceway on November 13th, and the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20th.(Carl Long Racing)(11-2-2004)
- Miller to make debut at Phoenix: Joey Miller will climb another rung on the racing ladder this week when he makes his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway (AZ) in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200. Miller will pilot the #98 Eagle Creek Aviation Services/Country Joe Racing Dodge on Saturday for Hagans Racing of Indianapolis, IN. Hagans Racing has already announced that Miller will run a full season of ARCA competition for the team in 2005. Miller ran two ARCA races in 2004 with Hagans Racing and owner Matt Hagans. The team tested out at Phoenix a couple of weeks ago and the results look promising. Now three-time ASA champion Kevin Cywinski, Miller’s teammate at Country Joe Racing, will be in Phoenix serving as Miller’s mentor. Miller was originally scheduled to compete in the NASCAR Southwest Series race at Phoenix on the same weekend, but dropped that race in favor of focusing more on the Busch program. “The Busch car was pretty similar to the ARCA car,” said Miller. “It had a little less power, but it wasn’t odd or different in any real way. I think I’ll be able to use what I’ve already learned and what Kevin and my crew chief Patrick Donohue can teach me to be successful this weekend.” At the same time the Minnesota native makes his Busch Series debut, so will the Hagans Racing new website. You can catch all the news about Joey and the team at HagansRacing.com.(51 Sports PR)(11-2-2004)
- New Ford heads approaved for Busch Series UPDATE and Trucks: NASCAR has approved Ford’s new “D3” class cylinder head for use in the Busch Series. The approval came after Ford officials presented that the years old design wasn’t as developable as the much newer Chevy and Dodge pieces being run now by the competition. NASCAR ordered chassis dyno tests this year, which showed that the Ford Tauruses were off by about one percent to the competition. Making the argument easier were the Ford generated graphs that showed the other makes improving at rates far beyond what the Ford operations were coaxing out of their design. This fact, along with the power deficit helped NASCAR give the green light to the “D3” for the Busch Series.(Team Ford Racing)(10-16-2004)
UPDATE: According to Jack Rouch the new Busch/truck engine program is starting to take shape, now that NASCAR has approved Ford’s “D3” cylinder heads for those series. The decision was made early to create the new departments work under the same roof as the Cup program, which, according to Roush, should help engineering move from the Cup side to the Busch and trucks much faster. The new Busch/truck department for Roush/Yates Racing Engines (a 50 / 50 partnership between Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing, will be headed by George Gable. He will receive assistance from Roush’s “Junior” Paxton. Race day duties will be split between the two engine heavies with Gable doing the Busch garage and Paxton taking the Cup garage.(Team Ford Racing)(11-1-2004)