October 2004 Busch Series Archive
- Did ya Know? UPDATED: Eight drivers have won a race in each of the National Series:
Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks:
NOTE: Geoffrey Bodine’s Truck win was an exhibition race [Homestead] and doesn’t count.
AND Five drivers have won a pole AND a race in each of the National Series:
See race results at:
UPDATE: Team Rensi Motorsports announced the return of the United States Marine Corps as the primary marketing partner on the #25 NASCAR Busch Series Ford Taurus for 2005. This will be an unprecedented sixth year in the sport as a primary marketing partner for any military service. The Team Marines Ford will be driven by Ashton Lewis Jr. “The Marine Corps is proud to be associated with Team Rensi Motorsports,” said BGen Walter E. Gaskin. “They have proven they can carry our message of opportunity and service to NASCAR fans and be of great benefit to the Marine Corps and its recruiting efforts.”
“We are thrilled to be working with the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Command again,” said Sam Rensi, President and CEO of Team Rensi Motorsports. “We have had the privilege and honor to represent the Marine Corps for the past four years and are excited to have them back again in 2005. We all take pride in and stand a little taller wearing that eagle, globe and anchor. We are also excited that Ashton chose to join this proud team.” This partnership enhances the Marine Corps ability to build brand awareness and Show the American public that the Marine Corps and the individual Marine is the epitome of military virtue. A group of tough, smart warriors who gain strength of mind, body and character through membership in an elite and proud Corps. Ashton Lewis Jr. will drive the Team Marines Ford Taurus in 2005 and is thrilled to represent the Marine Corps next season. “I am very excited to have this opportunity to represent The United States Marine Corps next year,” Ashton Lewis Jr. said. “It is an honor to know that I will have over 200,000 thousand active and reserve Marines and their families as well as all of those former Marines out there pulling for Team Rensi each and every week.” The Chesapeake, VA native began driving fulltime in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2001and is currently tenth in the driver’s points standings. He is poised to finish the season in the top ten which will be a career best.(Team Rensi Motorsports PR)(10-29-2004)
UPDATE: Gil Martin has been named crew chief of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Busch Series. Martin takes over this season to get a head start on the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series when he will team up with Clint Bowyer, who will take over the driving duties for the ACDelco team next season. Bowyer has been the co-driver, with Kevin Harvick, this season of RCR’s #21 Reese’s Busch Series entry.(RCR Site)(10-29-2004)
UPDATE: Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI) announced it will field a full-time entry in the NASCAR Busch Series, as well as continue its involvement in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2005. Tony Stewart and Tony Raines, the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will share driving duties of the #33 KHI-owned Chevrolet in the Busch Series for the 2005 season. Stewart will compete in 10 Busch Series events with two special Action Performance paint schemes and eight more races with a sponsor to be announced at a later date. Raines will carry The Outdoor Channel colors for 16 events and Yard-Man colors for the remaining races. Kevin Harvick will also compete as an owner/driver in two Truck Series events for Yard-Man and GM Goodwrench at Martinsville Speedway and Michigan International Speedway respectively. The Outdoor Channel, who will continue its association with Raines in the Busch Series next season, first began its motorsports involvement in 2000 joining the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). Yard-Man’s partnership with Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2005, marks its first entry into the Busch Series as a sponsor. Kevin Harvick Incorporated is a 50,000 square-foot facility headquartered in Kernersville, NC. It currently operates one Truck Series team and will expand to house a full-time Busch Series team in 2005. In just three short years KHI has amassed an impressive on-track record. In 39 Truck Series starts it has accumulated two wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes as well as one top-five and one top-10 finish in two Busch Series starts.(KHI Site)(10-23-2004)
UPDATE 2: hearing that KHI’s Truck Series driver, Ron Hornaday, will drive the #33 KHI Chevy in the Busch Series race in Mexico.(10-29-2004)
UPDATE: Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI) announced today that veteran crew chief Butch Hylton has joined their organization. The Rockford, Ill., native will serve as crew chief on the No. 33 Chevrolet driven by Tony Stewart and Tony Raines for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series season.(KHI)(10-29-2004)
“We are moving forward with sponsorship, and putting together our plans for 2005 and beyond that. By settling the driver situation in a positive way, and by having the experience of Stanton Barrett and the potential of Travis Geisler behind the wheel of our car, we feel this is a strong move in the right direction,” McGill added. “We want Travis to continue getting experience and continue developing his career,” McGill said. “Stanton coming on board will help advance our team.”
Barrett had headed his own Stanton Barrett Racing this season, which has competed on the NASCAR Busch Series but also in selected NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events. Barrett, 31, has been driving since he was 16 years old, and has competed on the highest levels of NASCAR racing. He is a native of Bishop, Calif., and is well known not just in motorsports but also in Hollywood, where he is an award-winning stunt man who has appeared in over 120 movies, as well as television shows and commercials.
DCT Motorsports’ owners McGill and Carl Natale are the first full-time owners from Cleveland, Ohio, NASCAR’s top three divisions have ever seen. Still, their marketing and business savvy is a breath of fresh air that has captured the imagination of the sport’s business minds. McGill and Natale have developed the sport’s most cost-efficient, sponsor-friendly marketing setup. It is based on giving full value to sponsors, and utilizing the many business-to-business contacts McGill, a developer, and Natale, a major earthwork contractor, have in place.(Williams Company PR)(10-29-2004)
UPDATE: Sirius Speedway (MRN Radio/Sirius Satellite Radio) reported Tuesday that Shane Hmiel is expected to replace Stremme in the Braun Racing/Trimspa X32 Dodge. Hmiel carried Trimspa sponsorship on his Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry last weekend in Martinsville, and will reportedly steer the #32 Busch Series Dodge for the remainder of the year, with plans for a full season in 2005.(10-27-2004)
UPDATE 2: Braun Racing announced that Shane Hmiel will be the new driver of the TRIMSPA X32 Dodge starting this weekend in the Aarons 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hmiel, who has signed with Braun Racing through 2005, will immediately take over the seat vacated when driver David Stremme signed with the Navy and Fitz Bradshaw Racing. “I talked to Armando (Fitz) in Memphis and we decided it was best to start focusing on both of our programs for next year,” said Todd Braun, owner of Braun Racing. “David Stremme has done an excellent job driving the TRIMSPA Dodge this season, and we wish him all the best with his new team and sponsor.” Adding to the excitement at Braun Racing for 2004 is the news that current sponsor TRIMSPA has signed with Braun Racing for three more years. Braun Racing will also switch manufacturers from Dodge to Chevrolet and run Dale Earnhardt Inc. engines in its cars. Todd Lohse will resume crew chief duties for the TRIMSPA X32 Dodge, however a manufacturer swap will not be completed until later in the season. Shane Hmiel will also complete the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season in the #15 TRIMSPA Chevy Silverado where he already has a win and two top fives this season.(Braun Racing PR)(10-28-2004)
“We have a good bunch of guys at our shop, and they just need a little veteran leadership. Rick Ren (from Yates Racing) will probably be our acting crew chief this week at Atlanta and hopefully next week, too (at Phoenix).”(Mike Wallce site/Moore On Motorsports), supposedly former crew chief Tony Lambert is seeking other oppurtunities.(10-28-2004)
Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results:
NASCAR FAMILY SHAKEN BUT STEADFAST- AND SUPPORTIVE
Last Sunday’s accident involving a Hendrick Motorsports airplane claimed 10 lives, and affected countless others. NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter offered these thoughts on the tragedy: “NASCAR is a major nationwide sport involving thousands of people, but whenever something like this happens, we’re reminded of just how close-knit we are, despite the growth of the sport,” Hunter said. “The term ‘NASCAR Family’ is not a mere slogan. In times like this we pull together as any other family would. All of us at NASCAR continue to keep those affected by the accident in our prayers. We will continue to offer support and comfort whenever possible. We will carry on and, simply, do the best we can under these incredibly trying circumstances.”
Memphis continues strong series broadcast showing … For the second consecutive week, the NASCAR Busch Series has produced significant broadcast increases in households and viewership. The Sam’s Town ‘He Dared to Rock’ 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park last Saturday, which aired on TNT, showed a 47% average increase in households (1,163,000) over the event last season (793,000), also on TNT. Additionally, viewers of the race (1,552,000) increased 56% over the 2003 event (997,000). The NASCAR Busch Series race at Charlotte Oct. 15 on TNT was the highest, most-viewed NASCAR Busch Series fall event in the history of Lowe’s Motor Speedway and posted average increases of 50% and 44% among viewers and households, respectively, from the previous season. Stremme joins Navy team … David Stremme, announced last Saturday as the driver for the No. 14 U.S. Navy Dodge Charger for 2005 in conjunction with the Navy’s sponsorship renewal and FitzBradshaw Racing’s alliance with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will step up his learning process with his new team right away. Stremme, who has spent the season with Braun Racing, takes over the No. 14 U.S. Navy Chevrolet for the remaining four races beginning at Atlanta. Shane Hmeil is scheduled to drive the No. 32 TRIMSPA X32 Dodge at Atlanta. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get Stremme in the car for the remainder of the season, but we’re thrilled we can,” said FitzBradshaw co-owner Armando Fitz. “We can start working on our ’05 program immediately.”
Trio of drivers vying for Top 10 … The race for a spot in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 and a place on the championship stage at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 10 remains tight. Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet) and Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) remained in ninth and 10th, respectively following Saturday’s race at Memphis. Wallace picked up 14 points on Lewis for a bit of breathing room heading into Atlanta. David Stremme not only moved into a new car, but moved into a new spot – 11th place – only 32 points behind Lewis. Stremme, last year’s Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Busch Series, and Lewis, who is in his fourth full year in the series, are seeking their first final top-10 championship rankings.
Bowyer, Menard serving notice … Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch aren’t the only young drivers who have blossomed this year in the NASCAR Busch Series. Others like Clint Bowyer (No. 21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet), 25, and Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard’s/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet), 24, are rallying during the latter stages of this season and are looking like strong competitors in their own right for the 2005 series title. Bowyer, who will take over the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet next season, has four top fives and seven top 10s in 14 races this year, the first starts of his NASCAR Busch Series career. He finished fourth last Saturday at Memphis. He also won his first Busch Pole back in April at Talladega. Bowyer has split time with Kevin Harvick in the No 21 entry as well as driving Andy Petree’s No. 33 Chevrolet. Menard began the season running for Petree, then moved to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. following the June Dover race. He secured his first Busch Pole at Kansas, and finished a career-best 11th at Memphis. Menard has finishes of 17th or better in his last four races.
Contingency Corner … Chevrolet reached the 20-win mark in the Bill France Performance Cup standings due to Martin Truex Jr.’s victory at Memphis last week. Chevy increased its point total to 234, Ford is second with eight wins and 186 points while Dodge has two victories this season and totals 137 points. Truex now leads Kyle Busch by one in both the Goody’s Extra Strength and Wix Filters Lap Leader Award categories. Truex also has nine MBNA Mid-Race Leader Awards to his credit this season, and has claimed four MBNA Mid-Race Leader race-win bonuses. He is the only driver to have won that award more than once. And, David Stremme is first in the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award standings.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
In addition to his three wins at Atlanta (1997, ’98, ’00), Mark Martin has six top 10s, best among active NASCAR Busch Series drivers. His two Busch Poles are tied for first with Harry Gant, while his three top-five finishes are tied for second with four other drivers. … Martin is joined by defending race champion Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) and Jamie McMurray (No. 66 Duraflame Dodge), who won in 2002, as former winners entered at Atlanta. … Martin holds the race record at 151.751 mph set during his 1997 win while Biffle set the qualifying mark last year at 192.300 mph. … Martin has led the most laps at Atlanta (637). … Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) is tied with Joe Nemechek for most starts at AMS – 11.
Jason Keller is $7,610 away from the $9 million mark in career winnings, no other driver has reached that total in NASCAR Busch Series history. … Reed Sorensen (No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge), a native of Peachtree City, Ga., will attempt his third series start at his hometown track. Sorensen finished 10th at Memphis and was a solid 13th in his series debut at IRP. He will also run in the American Speed Association event Friday. … Mark Martin will run in three events at Atlanta. In addition to the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, he will make his return to the ASA for the first time since 1996, as well as continuing his bid to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship in Sunday’s NASCAR premier series event. … Steve Grissom (No. 24 GIC Mixon Motorsports Chevrolet), the 1993 NASCAR Busch Series champion, will be making his first series start at Atlanta in eight years. In his last appearance in 1996, Grissom started 43rd and finished fourth. … Tony Stewart will drive the No. 92 McDonald’s Chevrolet entry for Kevin Harvick Incorporated at Atlanta. Owned by the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion and his wife, DeLana, KHI is slated to run a full NASCAR Busch Series schedule in 2005 with the combination of drivers Stewart (10 races) and Tony Raines (24 races) in the No. 33 Chevy. … Gus Wasson (No. 10 VirtualStockCar.com/RaceGirl Chevrolet) made his first series start at Atlanta in 1998. … Brad Teague (No. 56 Means Racing Ford) looks to make his 200th career start while Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush¡¦s Baked Beans Ford) will attempt his 100th start.
“… [This is] the same car that we finished second with at Michigan and we had a strong run at Dover (eighth) as well, so hopefully we¡¦ll be able to get a little better and see if we can¡¦t win this thing.” – Mark Martin.
“I think baseball and racing have more superstitions than any of the other sports. None of them really make much sense, but everybody tends to fall in line with all of them, too. [But] the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ is nothing compared to the curse of some crew chiefs after you spilled salt. Heaven forbid you ever spill salt on somebody¡¦s transporter.” – Travis Geisler (No. 36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet).
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Atlanta Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Busch Series since 1992. The inaugural event saw future superstar Jeff Gordon win the Atlanta 300 from the pole. Gordon drove a Bill Davis-owned Ford Thunderbird to a pole speed of 173.821 mph and led the first 67 laps of the race. The young driver faced some of the top drivers in NASCAR as all-time series winner Mark Martin moved to the front on Lap 68. Harry Gant took the lead on Lap 70, then Dale Earnhardt was in front from Laps 75-79. Rick Mast, Tracy Leslie, Dave Mader and Hut Stricklin also took turns up front.
Gordon regained the lead on Lap 162 and held it for the rest of the race to pick up his first NASCAR Busch Series win. Other stars competing that day were Darrell Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott and Davey Allison. Team owner Rick Hendrick was so impressed with that Atlanta performance that he later tapped Gordon as a driver for his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team.
What: Aaron’s 312 (Race No. 31 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.
When: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 30.
Track layout: 1.54-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 312.62 miles/203 laps.
Posted awards: $973,391.
TV: TNT, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Greg Biffle.
2003 Polesitter: Greg Biffle.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday – Practice, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.; qualifying, 1:30 p.m.; Final practice 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.(NASCAR PR)(10-27-2004)
UPDATE: FitzBradshaw Racing announced today that 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year David Stremme will pilot the #14 Navy Accelerate your life TM Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the remaining four races of the season. On Friday, the U.S. Navy announced its sponsorship renewal with FitzBradshaw Racing for the 2005 season. The sponsorship parameters include a new driver, Stremme, and a new manufacturer and support team. The #14 Navy car will switch from a Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a Dodge Charger in 2005. In addition, FitzBradshaw Racing has entered into an alliance with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which will provide full technical and engineering support. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get Stremme in the car for the remainder of the season, but we’re thrilled that we can. We can start working on our ’05 program immediately,” said FitzBradshaw Racing co-owner Armando Fitz. Crew chief Jay Guy will remain at the helm of the #14 for the remainder of the season. Randy Cox, who is employed by Chip Ganassi Racing and served as Stremme’s crew chief at Braun Racing, will function as a consultant to FitzBradshaw Racing for the remainder of the year.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(10-25-2004)
See race results at:
Missing the race were: Joe Buford; Kertus Davis; Jason White; Shane Hall; Bruce Bechtel; Kenny Hendrick; Jimmy Kitchens; Tina Gordon; Todd Shafer; Stan Boyd; David Ragan.
UPDATE…and the Navy stays: The U.S. Navy is expected to announce Friday that David Stremme and Fitz Bradshaw will team up in 2005. Chip Ganassi Racing will provide development support and the team will switch to Dodges.(BGNRacing.com)(10-21-2004)
UPDATE 2: The Navy announced today that it will extend its partnership with NASCAR and the FitzBradshaw Racing Team for the 2005 racing season with a new driver, manufacturer and support team. “We are very excited to continue our relationship with NASCAR and the FitzBradshaw Team,” said Rear. Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, Commander of Navy Recruiting. “There are a number of exciting changes in store next year, most notably Dodge as our new manufacturer, a new partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and the welcome addition of rising star David Stremme.” The Navy first announced its primary sponsorship with FitzBradshaw’s Busch Series last May and sponsored 11 races in 2003 and the full season in 2004. With this contract renewal, the Navy will be primary sponsor for a second full season in 2005.
NASCAR veteran Armando Fitz and Pro Football Hall of Fame member and FOX broadcaster Terry Bradshaw are the team’s co-owners. For the 2005 season they have entered into an alliance with Chip Ganassi Racing, who will provide the FitzBradshaw team with full technical and engineering support. “Next year will be our fourth year of racing and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have the Navy renew with us for the second time in our organization’s young history,” said Fitz. “We have worked hard to perform both on and off the track for the Navy. All of our employees are proud to represent the Navy.”
The #14 Navy ‘Accelerate Your Life’ car switches to a Dodge Charger from a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2005 season and will be driven by 2003 Busch Series Rookie of the Year David Stremme. Stremme is currently ranked 12th in the Busch Series driver standings with a total of 3,153 points for the season following last week’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“I’m excited about this opportunity for several reasons. One, having the Navy as a sponsor and to represent the troops is a real honor and I am proud to be associated with them,” said Stremme. “Also, I am excited to get things rolling for next season. And then, of course, I think it’s good to have a relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing. I think FitzBradshaw is really building something strong in the way they are restructuring and I am just happy to be a part of it.”
“We’re excited about this because it’s not only an extension of Dodge’s relationship with the Chip Ganassi organization and its partners, but also because it’s the beginning of a relationship with the FitzBradshaw Racing Team,” said John Fernandez, Director of Dodge Motorsports Operations for the Chrysler Group.
The racing and show vehicle haulers are used as traveling billboards emphasizing Navy Recruiting’s slogan, “Accelerate Your Life,” its toll-free recruiting phone number, 1-800-USA-NAVY, and the recruiting web site address, www.navy.com are displayed to make the most of the Navy/NASCAR partnership and let as many people as possible across the country know about the value of serving in the Navy.
“NASCAR and the sponsorship of the No. 14 ‘Accelerate Your Life’ car provides an effective venue for the U.S. Navy to take its message of honor, courage and commitment to local communities and to a national audience,” said Fowler. “The FitzBradshaw team shares our values and a demonstrated commitment to success. They’ve proven themselves to be the right fit for the Navy’s motorsports program.”(PSE-3/Fitzbradshaw Racing PR)(10-22-2004)
Charlotte race sets mark … The SpongeBob SquarePants the Movie 300 last Saturday night on TNT is the highest, most-viewed NASCAR Busch Series fall event in the history of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Average viewers jumped 50% over the 2002 race (2,149,000), while average households saw a 44% increase (1,562,000) over 2002. Last year’s race was originally scheduled to air on a Saturday afternoon tape-delay, but due to rain, was moved to Saturday morning with no advance promotion. Saturday’s event was won in exciting fashion by Mike Bliss (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), and aired in primetime directly against college football. Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.
Atwood and FitzBradshaw part; Blaney in at Memphis ¡K Dave Blaney, who drove a third FitzBradshaw Racing entry last week at Charlotte, will drive the No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet at Memphis, replacing Casey Atwood, released earlier this week. Blaney, who has 75 NASCAR Busch Series starts to his credit, was running in the top 10 for most of the night but finished 24th following a late-race incident with Kyle Busch. “Dave did a fabulous job in Charlotte and is familiar with our equipment, so he¡¦ll take the wheel in Memphis,” said team co-owner Armando Fitz. “We’ll have our plans in place for the next four races very soon.” The decision to part ways was a mutual one by Atwood and FitzBradshaw as part of the team’s evaluation and preparation for 2005. “We’re splitting up the team with five races left so we can evaluate the entire team and make the right decision for the future,” co-owner and NFL Hall of Fame member Terry Bradshaw said. “This move will give us all an opportunity to move forward.” Atwood was 13th in the points standings, and posted his best finish of the season at Richmond four races ago where he was second.
Elliott returns to the track at Memphis … Bill Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR premier series champion, makes his first appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series since the 1994 season-opener at Daytona when he drives the No. 6 Elvis Presley “He Dared to Rock” Dodge. Elliott has 36 career starts in the series, with one win at Watkins Glen in 1993. He also has two Busch Poles to his credit. Elliott, one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers,” will be joined by another legend as Oscar-winning composer/musician Issac Hayes, a 2003 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an avowed NASCAR fan, will serve as the Grand Marshal and will also sing the National Anthem.
Stremme partners with St. Jude; numerous drivers visit research hospital … David Stremme (No. 32 TRIMSPA x32 Dodge) will run the St. Jude Children¡¦s Research Hospital logo on his car this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park in an effort to bring awareness to the lifesaving mission of the facility. Stremme and his team will also make a financial contribution per lap to the Memphis-based hospital from a fund-raising event that originated at their shop in Charlotte last week. “We have an employee in our shop who is a cancer survivor from St. Jude; that’s how we originally made the connection,” he said. Stremme, along with other NASCAR Busch Series drivers such as Clint Bowyer (No. 21 Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet), Kyle Busch, Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Supercuts Chevrolet), Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford), Martin Truex Jr., Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet) and Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO Chevrolet) are scheduled to visit the young patients at St. Jude on Friday morning. “It is always great to see all of the kids,” Mike Wallace said. “It is a great way to spend a few hours before we go to work.” David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) will make a visit on Thursday. Bliss – ful effort … Mike Bliss (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) won the first race of his NASCAR Busch Series career at Charlotte last week, defeating 13 full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers in the field while also authoring one of the most exciting moments of the 2004 NASCAR season with his daring three-wide pass on the frontstretch for the lead on Lap 181, leaving behind Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson in the process. Bliss, the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, is eighth in the points standings, and is quietly locking in on his second-straight finish in the top 10 in his second fulltime season in the series. Bliss is the 16th different winner in the NASCAR Busch Series this year.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Saturday’s race will produce the sixth different winner in six NASCAR Busch Series races at Memphis; a previous winner is not entered in this year’s field. … Chevrolet, which will win the Bill France Performance Cup manufacturers’ championship this year, has three victories at Memphis. Ford and Pontiac have one win each. … Johnny Sauter (No. 27 Kleenex Anti-Viral Chevrolet) has two top-five finishes at Memphis while Jason Keller and Tim Fedewa each have three top 10s in five races there. … Keller finished second in the race last fall.
Only 126 points separate ninth-place Kenny Wallace from Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron¡¦s Sales & Lease Chevrolet), who is in 14th position in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings while just 74 points stand between Wallace and 12th-place David Stremme. … Regan Smith will qualify for Greg Biffle in the No. 60 Charter Communications Ford at Memphis, and will be at the ready to drive the car should Biffle not be able to participate due to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup obligations at Martinsville. Last year, David Reutimann qualified for Biffle and won the Busch Pole. … Tyler Walker will qualify and race the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge for Kasey Kahne, who will also be at Martinsville. Walker replaced Kahne at Pikes Peak for the entire race weekend, qualifying eighth and finishing 27th. He qualified for Kahne two other times this year, at the June Nashville and Kentucky events. … Wallace flew to St. Louis to watch his beloved Cardinals attempt to win Game 6 of the NLCS; should they force a Game 7, Wallace will be back at Busch Stadium on Thursday night. … Robert “Bootie” Barker, crew chief for the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, will move to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage following the Memphis race to work with the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet. Barker will swap positions with Bill Ingle. … David Green has recorded one top five and five top-10 finishes in eight previous stand-alone events this season. … Johnny Sauter will feature a special paint scheme at Memphis; the No. 27 Chevrolet will sport a “KLEENEX Brand Anti-Viral Tissue” scheme. Sauter will also run the scheme at Atlanta. “Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. will once again attempt to qualify for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Atlanta next week. Rain cancelled qualifying at New Hampshire back in September, where Truex was to attempt to qualify the No. 1 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. entry. … Only one margin of victory at Memphis has been over one second, that was last year when Bobby Hamilton Jr. won by 1.019 seconds.
“… there are so many opportunities for people of color, and not just African-Americans, to be involved with NASCAR in some capacity. I can see me helping out in many ways.” – Tubby Smith.
“Memphis can get pretty rowdy. There’s a lot of slipping and sliding. You can expect to make contact with a few cars before the day is out. It’s almost impossible to leave there without a few new paint samples on your car that you got from racing the guys around you.” … Johnny Sauter.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Previous NASCAR Busch Series winners at Memphis Motorsports Park have one thing in common – strong racing resumes. The first running of the event was held in 1999 when Jeff Green won from the Busch pole. The 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion has gone on to compete in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in Richard Petty’s Dodge.
Kevin Harvick won the race in 2000 and also set the track record of 120.267 mph. After winning the series title in 2001, Harvick moved on to run for Richard Childress in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition, although he still competes in the NASCAR Busch Series on a part-time basis.
Randy LaJoie, who won in 2001, is a two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, while Scott Wimmer and Bobby Hamilton Jr., the 2002 and 2003 winners respectively, have gone on to full time premier series rides.
What: Sam’s Town “He Dared to Rock” 250 benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Race No. 30 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn.
When: 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23.
Track layout: Three-quarters mile paved oval.
Race length: 250 laps/187.5 miles.
Posted awards: $1,165,764.
TV: TNT, 3:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Bobby Hamilton Jr.
2003 Pole Winner: David Reutimann (qualified for Greg Biffle).
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday – Practice,12 – 2 p.m.; Qualifying, 3:35 p.m. followed by final practice (one hour, time permitting).(NASCAR PR)(10-21-2004)
UPDATE: FitzBradshaw Racing announced today that Casey Atwood will not drive the #14 Navy Accelerate your life Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the remainder of the year. The driver change is effective immediately. Team co-owners Armando Fitz and Terry Bradshaw indicated the decision to make the driver change was part of FitzBradshaw Racing’s evolution and preparation for 2005. “We have some significant operations changes underway for 2005, and that includes incorporating new personnel that we feel can get us and our sponsors into Victory Lane,” said Fitz. “The changes we’re making are designed to enable us to take the next step toward the top and are, in my view, in the best interests of FitzBradshaw Racing.” Bradshaw echoed Fitz’s sentiments, noting the difficulty of the decision. “I’m disappointed it didn’t work out, because I think Casey will be a great driver,” said Bradshaw. “We’re splitting up the team with five races left so we can evaluate the entire team and make the right decisions for the future. This move will give us all an opportunity to move forward.” The decision was mutually made by FitzBradshaw Racing and Atwood. “I’ve enjoyed my time with FitzBradshaw Racing, representing the Navy,” said Atwood. “But so many driver decisions are discussed and made over the next two months, and this gives me the opportunity and the time to structure what’s best for me for next year.”
“FitzBradshaw Racing has been growing and working to perfect its operation since 2002,”stated Fitz. “Casey has been a key asset to our organization and contributed tremendously to our upward momentum.” The U.S. Navy began sponsoring the No. 14 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 2003 for 10 races and ultimately announced that it would sponsor a full-season for 2004. Atwood has been the sole driver for the No. 14 team. He started 29 races in 2004, with his best finish–second place–coming in Richmond in September. Dave Blaney will drive the #14 this Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Blaney became familiar with FitzBradshaw equipment Saturday in Charlotte, driving FBR’s #82 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. He qualified 15th and ran as high as 7th, but was tapped into the wall by Kyle Busch with 13 laps remaining. Blaney finished 25th after running in the top ten for most of the night. He has 75 career starts in the NASCAR Busch Series, posting seven Top-5 and 22 Top-10 finishes. “We’re reviewing all our options for the remainder of the season,” said Fitz. “Dave did a fabulous job in Charlotte and is familiar with our equipment, so he’ll take the wheel in Memphis. We’ll have our plans in place for the other four races very soon.”(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(10-18-2004)
UPDATE 2: On Monday, Armando Fitz and Terry Bradshaw gave the 24-year-old Nashville racer another unexpected career slap by dismissing Atwood with five races left in the Busch Series season. They will put Dave Blaney in the seat for Saturday’s race at Memphis. Atwood could not be contacted yesterday, but his father, Terry, said a news release by FitzBradshaw Racing was not entirely accurate when it termed the decision ”mutual.”
”The first time Casey got a whiff of it was over the weekend at Charlotte,” the elder Atwood said. ”He has no idea what brought it on.” Atwood’s father said his son is not sure about his immediate plans.(Tennssean)(10-21-2004)
UPDATE: all indications are that Brewco will switch to Ford’s in 2005, however, it lNavy has reupped with the FitzBradshaw ‘Dodge'(10-21-2004)
UPDATE: hearing the coach is University of Kentucky’s Tubby Smith working with Joe Nemechek on a driver devolopment Busch deal. Jamie Mosley driving?(10-16-2004)
UPDATE 2: there will be an announcement on Tuesday, Oct 19th.(10-18-2004)
UPDATE 3: Two of the winningest names in their respective sports – and two national champions – are putting together a new NASCAR Busch Series team with driver Jamie Mosley beginning in 2005. Mosley will drive a Chevrolet fielded by a partnership involving the driver, University of Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith and his wife Donna, and NEMCO Motorsports, which is owned by former NASCAR Busch Series champion and Cup driver Joe Nemechek. Smith, whose Kentucky Wildcats won the 1998 NCAA championship, is the sixth-winningest active coach in Division 1 men’s basketball. Smith and his wife, Donna, have partnered with Mosley and NEMCO, the 1992 NASCAR Busch Series national champions led by Joe Nemechek, who has 16 career wins in the series and is a leading driver in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
Said Coach Smith, “I am very excited to be partnering with a young driver like Jamie Mosley and a proven winner like Joe Nemechek. This is a unique opportunity to expand the scope of our efforts with the Tubby Smith Foundation, to further the education of many children in need and to bridge the knowledge gap that exists for many of our young people today.”
Mosley is a native of Hazard, Ky., and brings an experienced resume to the NASCAR Busch Series, including nine earlier career starts. Mosley has also competed successfully in the ARCA ReMax Series, after a winning stint at short tracks throughout the upper Southeast. The 34-year-old has driven everything from Busch Series cars to single-seat off-road buggies to go-karts.
Smith’s achievements have added to an eye-popping resume. Since arriving at Kentucky in 1997, Smith has led the Wildcats to a national championship, four SEC crowns and five SEC Tournament titles, with five Sweet 16 finishes in his seven seasons. Over his 13 seasons as a head coach, the 52-year-old has had 11 consecutive 20-win seasons. In 2004, he joined an elite group when he became the sixth head coach to win 300 games in 13 seasons or less, joining the likes of Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and Nolan Richardson. Smith’s career record is now 315-114, and his 73.4 winning percentage is sixth among active coaches entering the 2004-05 season.(Williams Company)(10-19-2004)
See race results at:
UPDATE: Rusty Wallace will add Jeremy Mayfield to his Busch Series team for 2005. Mayfield and Jamie McMurray are expected to share the driving duties of the #66 Dodge. When Wallace was asked Oct. 9 if Miller High Life will move from ppc Racing for his team next season, Wallace replied: “ We’re going to have a major announcement with the Busch car in Phoenix to announce the two new sponsors on that car that Jeremy Mayfield and Jamie McMurray will be driving,” Wallace said. “That’s all I can tell you right now because if I told you everything, I’d blow the whole secret.” (NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(10-14-2004)
UPDATE: Greg Pollex, owner of ppc Racing, says he’s looking for a Busch Series sponsor for next year following Miller High Life’s decision not return for 2005. The beer company sponsored the team’s #22 Ford for Jason Keller for 19 of the 34 races this year. The team plans to run a limited Busch program with John Andretti, who will drive its Nextel Cup entry, and hopes to find a sponsor for a second car that would run the full schedule.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-14-2004)
Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results:
Close call at Kansas for title contenders … When Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) went out on Lap 3 at Kansas due to an accident, the door opened for Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet) to make a significant move in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings. However, Busch suffered his own misfortune after getting caught up in an accident on Lap 81. Both drivers were able to rejoin the race, and although Truex posted his worst finish of the season (30th), Busch was able to gain only three points on the points leader after finishing 29th. Truex heads to Charlotte with a 149-point lead over Busch with six races to go. Busch won at Charlotte in the spring, and made his first career series start at the venue last year. Following a second-place finish at Kansas, Greg Biffle moved into third in the standings, 480 points behind Truex. Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) has moved into ninth – his highest ranking of the year – thanks to his season-best fourth-place finish at Kansas. Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge) fell to 10th, 16 points behind Lewis. The narrow gap between 11th- place David Stremme (No. 32 TRIMPSPA X32 Dodge) and 14th-place Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron’s Sales & Lease Chevrolet) is 85 points.
Home track brings out big numbers … With Friday night’s race in such close proximity to the majority of headquarters for NASCAR teams, the entry list for the NASCAR Busch Series race hit 60 as of Tuesday. Along with defending race champion Greg Biffle, 11 other fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are entered, including Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 SpongeBob SquarePants Chevrolet) and Sterling Marlin (No. 1 Virtual Stock Car/Americard Exchange Dodge). This would be Johnson’s first series start since 2001 at Homestead. Marlin has one other NASCAR Busch Series start this season, at California where he finished 37th. Justin Labonte (No. 44 U.S. Coast Guard Dodge) will look forward to racing his uncle, Bobby Labonte (No. 19 Banquet Chevrolet), while two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Ford) makes his first series appearance since July at Daytona.
Busch drives a different 5 next year … The quick ascent of Kyle Busch through NASCAR’s top national series continues. On Tuesday, the 19-year-old Las Vegas native was named the driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition following the announcement that two-time NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte will run a partial schedule in ’05 and ’06 in his former No. 44 Chevrolet. Busch, the youngest full-time competitor in any of NASCAR’s three national series, will be a Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next season. “The fact that I have this opportunity is amazing,” Busch said. “I’ll never be able to fill the shoes of Terry Labonte, but I’m proud to follow in his footsteps. He’s an icon in our sport and a great role model for young drivers like myself.” A driver for the No. 5 in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2005 entry has yet to be determined.
Blaney in third FitzBradshaw entry at Lowe’s … Dave Blaney will drive the No. 82 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet at Charlotte, adding to the two-car FitzBradshaw Racing team headed by Casey Atwood (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) and Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Hot Tamales Chevrolet). Blaney has competed in three NASCAR Busch Series races this year, most recently at Richmond in May where he finished 21st. The native of Hartford, Ohio, has 74 NASCAR Busch Series starts and has finished second twice for his personal bests. He won his first NASCAR Busch Series pole at Charlotte in the 1998 fall race. Blaney also has started 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this year. “I think Dave will bring a lot to the table as far as experience and ability,” said team co-owner Armando Fitz. “We are looking forward to running three successful cars in our own backyard and expect to have a great weekend.”
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Kevin Harvick swept both Busch Poles at Charlotte last year and set the track qualifying record in the spring race (184.445 mph). … Michael Waltrip is second in all-time NASCAR Busch Series starts at Charlotte (29); Mike McLaughlin (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is tied for fifth with 26. Both drivers are former winners at the track. … Waltrip has 12 top fives and 11 top-10 finishes at Charlotte, tied for second in each category, respectively. … Greg Biffle has the best average finish at Charlotte at 4.8.
Chevrolet continued to build on its Bill France Performance Cup lead, adding its 18th win of the season by Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) at Kansas. Chevy now totals 216 points, Ford is second with eight wins and 174 points while Dodge is third with 129 points and two victories. … Six former winners at Charlotte are entered in Friday night’s event along with five former NASCAR Busch Series champions. … Jimmy Spencer will drive the No. 74 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet for BACE Motorsports for the remainder of the year beginning at Charlotte. Spencer replaces Tony Raines, who had run 16 races for BACE this season. … Paul Menard’s (No. 11 Menards/Moen Chevrolet) Busch Pole at Kansas was the first of his series career and the second this season won by a rookie other than Kyle Busch – Busch has four poles while Clint Bowyer won the other at Talladega. … Nemechek’s weekend sweep at Kansas was the third this season, and the first by a driver other than Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I am the same Ron Hornaday who won at Milwaukee in July, who won two NASCAR [Craftsman] Truck Series championships in the ‘90s and won features at Saugus Speedway in the ‘80s. It takes a whole package to win in the Busch Series. We have hit that package a few times, but then it has gotten away from us. I think we have something that works right now and the results show.” – Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet).
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Sam Ard made NASCAR Busch Series history at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 8, 1983. Ard was on his way to the NASCAR Busch Series championship, his first of two consecutive titles. He had already recorded eight wins that season, including three in a row coming into the event at Charlotte. Ard, driving his familiar No. 00 Thomas Bros.-sponsored Oldsmobile, was having a career season. But as hot as he was that year, he was far below the publicity radar screen heading to Charlotte. NASCAR Busch Series regulars had never beaten their premier series counterparts on the superspeedways. Stars such as Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Geoffrey Bodine and Darrell Waltrip were synonymous for winning the big races on the big tracks. But this day was different. Ard won the Miller Time 300 and became the first NASCAR Busch Series regular in series history to win on a superspeedway against a legion of Cup drivers.
What: Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 (Race No. 29 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
When: 8 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 15.
Track layout: 1.5-mile banked paved tri-oval.
Race length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted awards: $1,121,781.
TV: TNT, 8 p.m. ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: Greg Biffle.
2003 polesitter: Kevin Harvick.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thursday — Practice,11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.; Qualifying, 5:30 p.m.; cars will be impounded after qualifying.(NASCAR PR)(10-14-2004)
Together with its partner company, The Goldberg Agency, Vazquez Marketing Group is working to replicate the same formula that saw Carlos’s primary sponsor reap over $500,000 in Hispanic media coverage in connection with the 2003 Homestead Miami race (beyond the general market coverage Contreras received). Principals of TGA and VMG organized media events and celebrity participation in connection with Carlos’s involvement with the race, which garnered sports and entertainment coverage from the U.S. down into Mexico. Contreras did his part on the race track by running in the top 10 and finishing on the lead lap (17th) in his 2nd Busch series race (the debut Busch race at the NEW Homestead Miami Speedway track). Contreras enjoyed additional support from the World Champion Florida Marlins who brought along their 2003 World Series trophy. Latin superstar Pilar Montenegro, whose image adorned the car, also joined Contreras trackside and at several Hospitality and media engagements throughout the week. Similar elements can be incorporated for a 2004 Team or Sponsor promotion.(PR)(10-12-2004)
UPDATE: being told that the #82 with Bleney will be a Busch team only, could race as soon as Lowe’s Motor Speedway next weekend.(10-8-2004)
UPDATE 2 – Blaney to driver for FitzBradshaw at Lowe’s: Dave Blaney will drive the #82 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet for FitzBradshaw Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 15, 2004. This will be the last of three races in 2004 for Goulds Pumps as a primary sponsor for FitzBradshaw Racing, though Goulds Pumps is also a major associate sponsor on both of FitzBradshaw Racing’s full-season teams, the #12 Supercuts/Hot Tamales/Bicycle Playing Cards car, driven by Tim Fedewa, and the Casey Atwood piloted #14 Navy Accelerate your lifeTM car. The Goulds Pumps #82 has previously run in the May 1st race at California Speedway and the May 23rd race at Nazareth Speedway where they were also the title sponsor in the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200. Team co-owner Armando Fitz is excited to have NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney behind the wheel. “I think Dave will bring a lot to the table as far as experience and ability,” said Fitz. “We are looking forward to running three successful cars in our own backyard and expect to have a great weekend.” Blaney has 74 career Busch Series start since 1998 including a Top-20 finish last year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He has also driven in the NEXTEL Cup series as recently as this season. FitzBradshaw Racing is featured on the SPEED Channel reality show NBS 24/7. The show airs every Monday night at 8:00 p.m. and re-airs Mondays at midnight, Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(10-11-2004)
UPDATE: BGNRacing reports that they hear Kenny Wallace is taking Stacker 2 to Michael Waltrip Racing next year to run a Busch car for the full season.(BGNRacing.com)(10-9-2004)
UPDATE 2: been told that Stacker2 is talking to MWR but are also talking to other owners as well and have not signed anything with anyone yet. Supposedly Stacker2 has spoken with four owners, including MWR and in addition to BDR.(10-11-2004)
See race results at:
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: hearing part-time RCR Busch Series driver, Clint Boyer, could be the driver of the #2 AC Delco Chevy for RCR in 2005, not really much of a stretch to think this could happen.(9-24-2004)
UPDATE 2: Richard Childress Racing is expected to elevate its current part-time NASCAR Busch Series driver, Clint Bowyer, to a full-time ride in the #2 Chevrolets next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. A formal announcement on Bowyer’s promotion is expected next weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., near Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kan.(Thatsracin.com)(10-2-2004)
UPDATE 3: Clint Bowyer has been named the new driver of the #2 ACDelco Monte Carlo for Richard Childress Racing for the 2005 season. Bowyer, who split driving duties in the #21 RCR Reese’s Chevrolet in 2004 with former NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick, has three top-five and five top-10 finishes in just 11 Busch Series starts. “I am excited to have the opportunity to drive the ACDelco Chevrolet for RCR,” said Bowyer. “This is a dream come true for me and my family. The ACDelco Chevrolet is a proven car that has won races and championships.” In fact, the blue deuce has won a NASCAR Busch Series-best three championships and 27 races since 1997. Accomplishments that Bowyer knows he has to live up to next year. “My job is to not only keep the ACDelco Chevy up front, but to take it to another level,” adds Bowyer. “RCR has committed to give this team everything it needs to win and I am very confident that we can do just that.” Bowyer replaces veteran NASCAR driver Ron Hornaday, whose departure from RCR was based on a mutual decision by he and Richard Childress. Bowyer said his connection with Hornaday makes the move both exciting and bittersweet. “I have the most respect in the world for Ron,” said Bowyer. “He taught me a lot this year. To get to drive the car that he drove is very exciting. I just wish he was still going to be my teammate.” The move from a veteran like Hornaday to a young aggressive lion like Bowyer caught many in the Busch Series garage off guard. But ACDelco General Manager Scott Mackie said change is sometimes needed to stay ahead in both business and racing. “Change isn’t easy, but it’s inevitable and can be exciting and rewarding,” said Mackie. “Our primary objective in our partnership with RCR has been to greatly increase the value of ACDelco to our direct and secondary customers. Through the awareness and exposure of our sponsorship with RCR, we continue to exceed expectations in the marketplace. This is an exciting time for ACDelco, and we hope customers will continue to use ACDelco for all their aftermarket needs.”(RCR Site)(10-8-2004)
Qualifying results/Starting Lineup at:
Of late, Leffler’s name has been active in the rumor mill as a possible driver for Joe Gibbs Racing’s third fulltime team for 2005 in the Nextel Cup Series, a #11 Federal Express Chevy. Tuesday, Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs was unavailable to comment on his organization’s plans for the 11 car, which used Ricky Craven as its driver at Talladega in its second race this season. Joe Gibbs Racing and Federal Express have scheduled a news conference for Oct. 13 at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to announce their 2005 plans.(NASCAR.com/FoxSports Totally NASCAR)(10-5-2004)
UPDATE – Leffler back in: Haas CNC Racing’s efforts to put newcomer Blake Feese in its #00 Chevrolet for Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway has apparently hit a last-minute snag. Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order Late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The court order remains in effect until a hearing Friday morning, when Leffler’s attorneys are expected to argue for a permanent injunction. That would allow Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season, sources confirmed Thursday night. Leffler has a contract to drive for Hass’ Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs’ third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday’s announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two Automobile Racing Club of America victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The move would effectively end Leffler’s opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he could find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
UPDATE 2 – Leffler back out and Feese back in: Haas CNC Racing has prevailed in its legal face-off with driver Jason leffler and will have newcomer Blake Feese in its No. 00 Chevrolet for Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car. A Wyandotte County (Kans.) judge dismissed that order Friday morning after Leffler’s attorneys argued for a permanent injunction. That would have allowed Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season. Feese was practicing the car Friday morning at Kansas Speedway while attorneys for the two sides made their respective cases. Leffler, meanwhile, waited it out in his motorhome at the track. Leffler had a contract to drive for Haas’ Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs’ third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday’s announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two ARCA victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The team’s move and the subsequent legal ruling jeopardizes Leffler’s opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he is able to find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings, behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, the second-place driver. It was not known if Leffler planned to appeal Friday’s Wyandotte County court ruling.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
Plenty of milestones at Kansas … In addition to the expected 350th start of Jason Keller’s NASCAR Busch Series career, other milestones are within reach of series drivers this weekend at Kansas. Johnny Sauter (No. 27 Kleenex/Scott Brands Chevrolet) is scheduled to make his 100th series start, Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) his 150th, Brad Teague (No. 52 Jimmy Means Ford) his 200th and 1992 NASCAR Busch Series champion Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) his 250th. Keller’s next top 10 – he owns two in three starts at Kansas – will be the 150th of his career. And, Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron’s Sales & Lease Chevrolet) is $5,956 away from $3 million in series career winnings.
Champoinship standings battle royal continues from top to bottom … Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) hopes to put more distance between himself and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe’s/Shop Vac Chevrolet) in the chase for the NASCAR Busch Series title. Truex comes to Kansas with a 152-point advantage over Busch. But the intriguing battle this weekend and throughout the following six weeks of the season will be for 10th place. Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet) displaced Ashton Lewis Jr. in that position following Dover, but is only one point ahead of Lewis entering Kansas. Only 63 points separate Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge) from 13th-place David Stremme (No. 32 TRIMSPA X32 Dodge), while Casey Atwood (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is 12th, just 40 points behind of Lewis but only three ahead of Stremme.
Bowyer back for hometown ride at Kansas … Emporia, Kan., native Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 21 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet this weekend at Kansas Speedway, his first NASCAR Busch Series competition since Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Bowyer has run in 11 events this year – the first 11 NASCAR Busch Series races of his career – splitting seat time with 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick in the Richard Childress entry. Bowyer has three top five and five top-10 finishes this year, including a third-place result at Nashville, his career best series finish to date. He won the Busch Pole at Talladega back in April. “Kansas is obviously a very special place to me,” he said. “I remember that piece of land when it was a corn field. I’ve probably driven by the track a couple of hundred times just dreaming of getting a chance to race there. A year ago, if you told me I would be racing there this season, I would’ve said ‘you’re crazy.’ I’m really proud to be able to race in front of my family and all the people who have helped me get to this point in my career.” The Bowyer-Harvick combination has Childress in third place in the owner’s standings; the No. 21 won the owner’s championship last year.
Kenny Wallace talks safe driving to high school students … Kenny Wallace, a native of St. Louis, Mo., plans to visit Piper High School in Kansas City, Kan., this week to discuss responsible driving with students as part of the YJ Stinger “Race to Bee Safe” program. Piper High will be the second stop on the fall leg of the tour that has Wallace visiting seven schools during the final eight race weekends of the NASCAR Busch Series season to reiterate to young drivers the importance of safe driving. This season marks the second year of the program, which has been well-received by both the NASCAR community and the local markets where Wallace and the program have stopped by. The program has an added bonus this year – one student will be awarded a $20,000 scholarship for writing an essay about what the program meant to them.
Ford could have edge at Kansas in Bill France Performance Cup ranking … Ford, currently second in the Bill France Performance Cup manufacturer’s standings, has competed well in its limited appearances at Kansas Speedway. In three previous NASCAR Busch Series races at the 1.5-mile facility, Ford drivers have won twice. Chevrolet, the standings’ leader, doesn’t have a win, but does have three Busch Poles and a trio of runner-up finishes at Kansas. Chevy enters Saturday’s race with 17 wins and 207 points this season. Ford has eight wins and168 points while Dodge is third with two victories and 125 points.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communication Ford) has recorded top-five finishes in each of his three NASCAR Busch Series races at Kansas. … Michael Waltrip has won the last two Busch Poles at Kansas. … One former race winner is in the field, David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac), the defending champion.
Hendrick Motorsports has announced the addition of two 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series dates for Kyle Busch. Busch will drive the No. 84 CARQUEST Chevrolet at Charlotte and again at Atlanta. Busch, who made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at Las Vegas and has two other premier series starts this season, is also entered in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. … Several members of BREWCO Motorsports, including driver David Green, are scheduled to parachute in tandem with the U.S. Army Golden Knights next Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Ft. Bragg near Fayetteville, N.C. Also scheduled to jump are crew chief Jason Ratcliff, car chief Stewart Cooper, and GM/spotter Todd Wilkerson. Newt Moore, crew chief for Johnny Sauter and Ken Christerson, Sauter’s spotter, are also scheduled to take the leap. … Tony Stewart (No. 81 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) is scheduled to make his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Kansas driving for Chance 2 Motorsports
“It’s definitely achievable. All we need is to be on top of our game from here on out, and we need the (No.) 8 car to have one or two bad races and we’re right back in it. It’s definitely frustrating when you can finish third and he finishes fifth, or when you win and he finishes third. It’s very hard to gain any points when that happens. This past race, he won and we finished ninth, so that sure didn’t help us any.” – Kyle Busch on catching points leader Martin Truex Jr. “We’ve really been on a roll these last few weeks. I feel like our team is running better now than we have all season. If we keep this up, finishing [in the] top 10 in points won’t be a problem. Everybody’s excited about going to Kansas and taking a big chunk out of the points lead.” – Johnny Sauter.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Two brothers who hail from Owensboro, a small Kentucky town known for producing racing champions, have won two of the three NASCAR Busch Series races held at Kansas Speedway. The Mr. Goodcents 300, run on September 29, 2001, was the first NASCAR national touring series event held at the 1.5-mile oval. Jeff Green, the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion, started 12th, driving his Nestle NesQuik Ford into the lead on Lap 172 of the 200-lap race. He held the front spot the rest of the way, winning by 2.129-seconds over runner-up Hank Parker Jr. Green set an event speed record of 129.125 mph, which still stands. Jeff’s brother, David, qualified his Timber Wolf Pontiac in the third position for last year’s edition of the race, and quickly moved around polesitter Michael Waltrip to lead the pack on Lap 3. Green then chose to settle back in the pack, relinquishing the lead back to Waltrip on Lap 16. Green took the lead on the last lap, passing Bobby Hamilton Jr. for the win.
What: Mr. Goodcents 300 (Race No. 28 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
When: 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 9.
Track layout: 1.5-mile paved tri-oval.
Race length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted awards: $1,361,504.
TV: TNT, 2 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2003 winner: David Green.
2003 polesitter: Michael Waltrip.
Pre-race schedule (all times local – 1 hour behind ET): Friday — Practice, 9 – 11:15 a.m.; Qualifying, 1:30 p.m.; Final Practice (one hour, time permitting) following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying (scheduled for 3:10 p.m.).(NASCAR PR)(10-7-2004)
“With the rising costs of racing, it is hard for an independent team, Without additional resources, to make it these days,” continued Lewis, Sr. “It is only fair that we give our employees time to find jobs within the industry before next season.”
Lewis Motorsports was formed in 1999 by Ashton Lewis, Sr. (owner) and his two sons Ashton Lewis, Jr. (driver) and Charlie Lewis (crew chief). Since 1999, Lewis Motorsports has become a competitive force on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit. In 2001, Lewis Motorsports competed in their first full NASCAR Busch Series season, with two top-five and three top-10 finishes. The 2002 season saw the team with one top-five and seven top-10 finishes. In the 2003 NBS season, the team scored their first Busch Series career pole position at Gateway International Raceway, as well as two top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and 23 top-20 finishes. Lewis Motorsports finished 14th in the NBS Owner Points and driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. finished 12th in the driver’s standings. As the 2004 season nears the end, driver Ashton Lewis, Jr. is poised for his best finish to date in the NASCAR Busch Series driver’s point standings. He is currently in 11th position, one point out of 10th.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever been a part of,” said Lewis, Jr. “All of our employees have worked hard to make Lewis Motorsports a success, and to know that it is coming to an end is devastating to me.” Lewis, Jr. has no definite plans for the upcoming season, but he hopes to stay behind the wheel. “I have had discussion with a few team owners about driving for them. I have also had discussions about getting back into the mechanical side by using my engineering degree and working as a team engineer,” Lewis, Jr. stated. “Either way, I plan to stay in motorsports in some capacity.” With the rising costs of racing, it is hard to find sponsors willing to make the multi-million dollar obligations to single car teams, therefore, resulting in more multi-car and less single car operations. “What led to our demise? The cost of racing competitively in the NASCAR Busch Series has reached four-million per season, a ludicrous amount of money considering what the purse is per event,” said crew chief and co-owner Charlie Lewis. “I feel that the Busch team of the future consists of a 20 to 25 man team, a NEXTEL cup driver, backed by a NEXTEL Cup organization, on a five to six million dollar budget. The small, independent team of 12 people trying to win races without primary sponsorship, without manufacturer factory support and without a NEXTEL Cup team affiliation, but a loving father, is like going to bat against Roger Clemens with a wiffle ball bat.”
“It does not leave much of a chance for success, but I truly believe we in the Lewis Motorsports family had a tremendous amount of success in five years,” Charlie Lewis continued. “It may not show in the win column, top-10’s or money won, but it shows in the hearts and minds of all the fantastic people who have worked for and supported this race team. Every hour and dollar spent on this adventure has been so worthwhile in my book. The memories, friendships and knowledge gained through this experience have been truly priceless. I can not thank my family, the Civil Air Patrol and all the employees who have come and gone enough for the past five years.”
As stated, Lewis Motorsports will continue to run the last seven races in the NASCAR Busch Series, hoping for their first victory and a strong finish to their final season.
“There is nothing in the world that would make me happier than winning a race for my father, brother and the team,” said Ashton Lewis, Jr. “In the final seven races, we are going to try our hardest to make a trip to victory lane. A win would be one way of thanking my father, brother and the team members for all of their hard work and dedication, and it would be a great way to bring our final season to a close.”(Lewis Motorsports PR)
ALSO: Jame ince, who was a consultant for the team and is continuing to help with setup’s is looking for a Nextel Cup Oppurtunity.(10-1-2004)