*Two-Time Series Champ Truex Returns To Home Track
*In the Loop: Truex, McMurray Could Dominate at Dover
*NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Driver Sean Caissie Makes NASCAR Busch Series Debut For Kevin Harvick Inc.
NEWS AND NOTES
Two-Time Series Champion Truex Returns To Home Track
Two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Kraft/Ritz/Oreo Chevrolet) will attempt to make only his sixth start this season at Dover, the track the Mayetta, N.J., native calls "home." Truex, who is winding down his Raybestos Rookie season in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition, did not run in last June's NASCAR Busch Series event at The Monster Mile, but has an impressive record in his recent outings there.
Truex made his first series start at Dover in 2002, starting 26th and finishing 17th. He competed in three more races there before returning in 2004 in his first full season in the series.
That's when he became the master of his domain.
After finishing second in the June 2004 race, he won in back-to-back fashion, capturing the fall event from the Busch Pole before repeating with a victory in the summer of 2005.
Chevrolet Maintains Manufacturers' Lead But Dodge Has Dover Edge
Despite its lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings by a wide margin -- 17 wins and 209 points -- Chevrolet had a comeback of sorts at Richmond two weeks ago.
Prior to Kevin Harvick's win, Chevy hadn't been to Victory Lane since Aug. 19 at Michigan International Speedway; Ford and Dodge had captured the wins in the following two events.
Dodge has the recent edge at Dover, though, having won the last two races at the one-mile concrete track. Third-place Dodge is within striking distance of Ford in the standings with five wins and 157 points while Ford is second with six wins and 166 points.
On The Right Track
Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ameriquest Ford), Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Cottman Transmissions Dodge) each have two wins at Dover and could tie Todd Bodine (three) as the all-time series victory leader there. Other former Dover winners entered include Casey Atwood (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), Atwood's Brewco Motorsports teammate Ken Schrader (No. 66 Yard-Man Ford), Mike Wallace (No.1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge) and Scott Wimmer (No. 12 Supercuts Dodge). Kenseth has six top-five finishes at Dover and can move into a tie for first in that category on Saturday. He is tied for third among all drivers in races led (seven). Jamie McMurray (No. 64 Top Flite Dodge) is the leading active series driver with nine top-10 finishes at the Monster Mile. Biffle is third all-time among series drivers with a 7.9 average finish in 10 races at Dover. Dover is one of seven tracks to have hosted NASCAR Busch Series events since the series' inception in 1982. The 2006 season is the 25th anniversary of sponsor Anheuser-Busch's association with the NASCAR Busch Series.
In The Loop: Truex, McMurray Appear Set For Duel At Dover
Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray have stellar statistics at Dover in NASCAR Busch Series competition, and NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics over the last three races at the track point to a speed duel between the two drivers on Saturday afternoon.
Truex is second in Driver Rating at 126.2 while McMurray is third at 112.7 over the last three events at the track. In the Average Running Position category, McMurray betters Truex in Average Finish 3.0 to 6.5, but Truex tops McMurray in Average Place, 2.315 to 7.425.
The two are among the top three in Fastest Drivers Early and Late in a Run; Truex is second (150.164 mph) in Average Speed and McMurray third (149.066 mph) during the first 25% of laps during the race while McMurray is first (147.232 mph) and Truex third (146.769 mph) during the last 25% of laps run at Dover.
McMurray's speed edge, especially late, is evidenced by his No. 1 ranking in the Fastest Drivers by Straightaway category (150.839 mph average) on both the Frontstretch (150.839) and the Backstretch (151.384 mph) and again in three of the four turns where he ranks ahead of Truex in Turns 2 (first -- 144.741 mph average) and 4 (second -- 145.227 mph). Truex is the fastest overall driver in Turns 1 (148.614 mph) and 3 (150.004 mph).
Truex makes up for McMurray's slight advantage in the Fastest Laps Run category where he's first among all drivers with 57 fast laps; McMurray is 16th. Truex also gets away on Restarts much better than McMurray, ranking second (148.175 mph) while McMurray is eighth (145.130). Truex also claims the Fastest Green Flag Speed at 148.124 while McMurray is just a tick behind in second place at 148.097 mph.
Kevin Harvick wears two hats in the NASCAR Busch Series -- as a driver and also as an owner seeking new talent to bolster his team and the series. Raybestos Rookie Burney Lamar drives one car for Kevin Harvick Inc., Harvick's NASCAR Busch Series team. Harvick's second entry is scheduled to be driven by Sean Caisse (No. 33 The Outdoor Channel Chevrolet) at Dover. Caisse, a 20-year-old from Pelham, N.H., is second in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series standings and was the rookie of the year last season in that division. ... After experiencing a mid-season slump, Kyle Busch has posted top-15 finishes in the past four races. At the remaining seven tracks on the schedule, he has two victories, nine top fives and 13 top 10s. ... Jason Leffler's first career win in NASCAR national series competition came at Dover in 2003 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. ... Keith Kushela, the shock specialist for Todd Kluever's No. 06 3M Ford, is coming home this weekend. Kushela is from Odessa, Del. Other homecomings include cousins Ben and R.J. Beshore who grew up just over two hours from Dover in York, Pa. Ben is the car chief, engineer and rear tire carrier on the No. 66 Ford for Brewco Motorsports while R.J. is a mechanic and front tire carrier for the team. ... Steve Wallace (No. 61 Jackson Roscoe Foundation Dodge) will attempt to make his first race of the season on time as Rusty Wallace Inc., teammate Jamie McMurray will drive the No. 64 entry that is among the top 30 in owner points. The Dover race is Wallace's first series event since he finished 24th at Michigan last month. His last race was a successful one as the 19-year-old won the ARCA event at Chicagoland in July. ... David Ragan will drive the No. 50 Barr-Nunn Ford at Dover. Raybestos Rookie Danny O'Quinn Jr. has been the primary driver of that car for 27 races this season. Ragan also drove the No. 50 Ford at California Speedway two weeks ago. He's scheduled to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at Dover for Roush Racing. ... Team Rensi Motorsports announced that Bobby Hamilton Jr., who won five races for the organization during his first tour with the team from 2002-04, will return to drive the No. 25 McDonald's Ford in 2007. Hamilton will replace Regan Smith, the current driver of the No. 25 Ford, who will search for other opportunities next season. Hamilton will bring experience from both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he has competed since leaving Team Rensi following the 2004 season.
From The NASCAR Busch Series "25 Seasons Running" Archives
The saying "good things come in threes" seems to hold true for NASCAR Busch Series events at Dover International Speedway.
No driver has won more than three of the previous 45 races held at the one-mile concrete track.
Todd Bodine won his first race at Dover in 1991 and both races in '93. Dover events have been swept three times -- Robert Pressley in 1992, Bodine in '93 and Randy LaJoie in '96.
Three events have been won from the Busch Pole. Morgan Shepherd was the first driver to win from the first starting spot at Dover in September 1986. Joe Nemechek accomplished the feat in the spring of 2003 and Ryan Newman won from the pole in last year's fall event.
And speaking of threes, LaJoie, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr. are the only drivers to win both the fall race at Dover and the season championship in the same year.
On Deck: Kansas Speedway
The month of September closes for the NASCAR Busch Series at Kansas Speedway for the Yellow Transportation 300.
Kasey Kahne is the races' defending champion, taking the victory by a mere .03 of-a-second over Greg Biffle, the fifth-closest margin of victory since the series implemented electronic timing in 1993. Martin Truex Jr. won the Busch Pole for the event.
Kahne was the fifth different winner in the short history of the 1.5-mile speedway. Michael Waltrip's two poles -- won in consecutive seasons in 2002-03 -- are the most of any driver.
Schedule: Friday, Sept. 22 -- Practice, 9-10:05 a.m. & 1:50-2:50 p.m. Rookie Practice, 1:10-1:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 -- Qualifying, 11:40 a.m. Race, 3:05 p.m.