BUSCH: Indy IRP: Clint Bowyer preview

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200; Time and Date: 8 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 7; Site: Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind. Live Coverage: TNT (television) at 8 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 7:45 p.m. EDT;...

EVENT INFORMATION - Event: NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200; Time and Date: 8 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 7; Site: Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind. Live Coverage: TNT (television) at 8 p.m. EDT and MRN (radio) at 7:45 p.m. EDT; Qualifying: 5:05 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 7, on SPEED (television).

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS - For the first time in NASCAR Busch Series history, the Owners' Championship and the Drivers' Championship were split. The No. 21 PAYDAY Chevrolet team won the Owners' Championship in commanding fashion, clinching the title at Rockingham with one race remaining in the season. The team finished 261 points ahead of the No. 5 team of Brian Vickers, who claimed the Drivers' Championship. In 2004, the No. 21 Chevrolet carries the REESE'S peanut butter cups colors as the team attempts to defend its title. Harvick will compete in 20 of the 34 Busch Series events this season, and rookie driver Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 21 REESE'S Chevy in the 14 other events on the schedule.

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL - Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) is short-track racing at its best. The .686-mile oval is home to some of the best side-by-side under the lights racing on the circuit. The Busch Series teams will again participate in a "one day show." The teams will unload the cars early Saturday morning for inspection. They will then practice and qualify the cars in race setups for Saturday's night's main event. The race is a favorite of both fans and drivers.

TESTING ALL CYLINDERS- Bowyer went to IRP for a one-day after the Busch Series event at Chicago. Bowyer tested under the watchful eye of his teammate Ron Hornaday, has won one race each in the Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at IRP. Bowyer gained valuable seat time around IRP and learned a few tricks from the "Master of Restarts."

BEATIN' AND BANGIN' - Bowyer's stop at IRP will be reminiscent of his short-track days on the dirt and asphalt in the Midwest. Bowyer's roots are in dirt modified and asphalt late-model racing. He is looking forward to some "short-trackin'" at IRP.

TRUE GRIT - Last week, Bowyer showed his team and competitors his "never give up" attitude and his ability to stay focused and work his way through the field for a top-five finish. Bowyer battled from one lap down and drove from 12th to fourth in the final three laps of the race.

DID YOU KNOW? - In Bowyer's first 10 Busch Series starts, he has three top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes. Those stats top those of his teammates Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick. Hornaday had one top-five finish and three top-10 finishes in his first 10 starts, while Harvick had two top-five finishes and four top-10 finishes in his first 10 starts.

THE CAR - This week, crew chief Ricky Viers will load chassis No. 024 onto the REESE'S transporter. The car is one of Bowyer's favorites. He drove it to two top-four finishes at Nashville, and also drove it to a 10th-place finish at Milwaukee.

QUICK QUOTES AND NOTES:

Crew chief Ricky Viers on Bowyer at the IRP test- "Clint did a good job for us during the test. He had Ron [Hornaday] there to help him around the track. He picked up on a lot of things really quick, and I think he was happy with the car. The car we're taking, he's had good success with. I'm very excited to get to the track this weekend."

Clint Bowyer on IRP - "It's a tough ol' short track, but that's what I've grown up around all my life in racing. The test went well for me, and I'm glad that I had [Ron] Hornaday there to teach me the ropes. That guy knows a lot about these short tracks, and he can get it done behind the wheel. I'm really pretty optimistic for this weekend."

With more than half the season completed, what have you learned?-"I couldn't even begin to describe what I've learned. There's been so much. All I know is I'm having a blast and living out a dream. I learn a ton each and every week, and that's exciting for me. Everyone's been great. I couldn't ask for better situation than what I'm in right now. I just want to race as much as I can and just continue to get better and gain points."

* Bowyer's next Busch Series event will be Oct. 9 at Kansas Speedway.

* During the Busch Series off-weekend next week, Bowyer will return home to Kansas to race his dirt modified at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

* Harvick will drive the REESE'S Chevrolet through the rest of August and all of September.

* Harvick will return to Michigan International Speedway as the defending race winner in two weeks.

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