* Truex Jr. celebrates Thanksgiving; second-consecutive series title
* NASCAR Busch Series drivers look forward to holiday plans with family and friends
* NASCAR Busch Series Champion's Week activities set for Dec. 7 - 9
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 23, 2005) -- The Thanksgiving holiday signals the off-season for the NASCAR Busch Series.
As Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) tucks his second- consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championship trophy away, preparations for his awards coronation are in full swing for the Friday, Dec. 9 series banquet at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla.
Prior to the banquet, Truex will join other 2005 NASCAR champions in New York City next week as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship celebration. Following his trek to the Big Apple, Truex will participate in a media tour in Tampa, Fla. on Dec. 7 and in Orlando Dec. 8 -- along with other members of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 -- before appearing on the champion's stage Friday night.
This week, though, provides the series drivers and teams an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends.
"I've stayed right in Florida since we won the championship [last] Saturday night," Truex said. "My dad had a big party at his house in West Palm for the team on Monday night. From there, we're all going to just hang out for the week with a bunch of family that's down here to celebrate with us.
"But, it's going to be all about turkey and stuffing come Thursday for Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for this year and having family and friends around will make it even better."
NASCAR Busch Series championship runner-up Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) is taking the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with his grandparents in his hometown of Emporia, Kan.
Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge), who finished fourth in the championship standings, is looking forward to Thanksgiving with his family in Peachtree City, Ga., his hometown.
Carlos Contreras, who competed in six races for FitzBradshaw Racing this year, has his hands full this Thanksgiving. His wife, Andrea, gave birth to twins in his native Mexico City on Monday (Nov. 21). Carlos Jr. and Alajandrea are the first children for the couple. Mother and babies are doing fine.
Jason Leffler (No. 32 Braun Racing Chevrolet) flew to his home state of California on Tuesday to prepare to participate in the 65th annual USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale Speedway. He won the prestigious event in 1999.
Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 15 CENTRIX Financial Ford) finished third in the Baja Challenge class in last week's Baja 1000. Jourdain teamed with his father Michel Sr. and two uncles, Bernard and Jean Pierre, for the second-consecutive year with a time of 21:28:32.
"It was a good, good race," he said. "We wanted to win but third place is good. We led early in our class (Baja Challenge) but had problems, just like everybody else. It was a difficult course this year, the most difficult in years. Hopefully next year my father, uncles and I can compete again."
NEWS & NOTES, PART II
Australian driver Marcos Ambrose signs developmental contract ... Wood Brothers/JTG Racing announced that two-time defending Australian V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose signed a multi-year driver development agreement with the team. The agreement calls for Ambrose to drive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next season, and eventually move to the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The Wood Brothers racing team is the most tenured team in NASCAR's premier series and the winningest Ford team in NASCAR history. Past Wood Brothers drivers have included NASCAR greats David Pearson, Neil Bonnett, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker and most recently Ricky Rudd. Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford), the grandson of Glen Wood, and Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford) drove for ST Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series last season before ST and the Wood Brothers announced they would combine efforts in 2006 over the summer. "It's an honor to be chosen from a long list of drivers who would love to be with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing," said Ambrose. "The team provides a career path through the NASCAR major series all the way to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the next phase of my career."
"Yeah, it's something. It means a lot. (Dale Earnhardt) Junior did it six years ago or so and anytime I can match any of his stats makes me feel real good. He's a good friend of mine and somebody I really look up to." -- Martin Truex Jr. on his second-consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championship
"We had a team that was well capable of winning another championship and they had some struggles this year but stayed after it. A lot of credit goes to the guys that were over-the-wall and behind-the-wall all year long for putting this thing back together when Martin kept tearing it up. We are back in the championship ring; it feels great." -- Chance 2 Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., the last driver to win consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championships (1998-99) prior to Martin Truex Jr.
"These guys did an outstanding job and everybody back at DEI supported this as well. This is just a great tribute to Dale Earnhardt." -- Chance 2 Motorsports co-owner Teresa Earnhardt following Martin Truex Jr.'s second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championship
"We gave it all we had. To be able to come back during the last part of the year and come through everything we have really says a lot about our whole organization at RCR. Everybody has learned a lot. I know I have learned a ton. I am really proud of the effort that we all put forth. I am really excited about next year and ready for it." -- Clint Bowyer
"He drove like a champion. We're proud of him and that whole ACDelco team. These guys gave it their all and I'm proud of them." -- Richard Childress on Clint Bowyer and the No. 2 team's runner-up championship finish
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The only NASCAR touring series event in recent memory to be held in conjunction with Thanksgiving took place at New Hampshire International Speedway on Nov. 23, 2001, the day after Thanksgiving. The original event -- a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race -- had been scheduled for Sept. 8, but was postponed due to the terrorist attacks.
The NASCAR Busch Series was well-represented at the event with four former series champions -- Bobby Labonte (1991), Joe Nemechek (1992), Johnny Benson (1995) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99) taking the green flag. Kevin Harvick had just been crowned the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion and was rounding out his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season with this final event.
NASCAR Busch Series regulars Kenny Wallace and Bobby Hamilton Jr. also were included in the starting line-up. The New Hampshire race was also one of the few times all three Wallace brothers competed against each other.
Robby Gordon picked up the first win of his NASCAR career after a controversial tussle with former NASCAR Busch Series competitor -- and that season's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion -- Jeff Gordon. Labonte, the defending premier series champion, had the best showing of NASCAR Busch Series alumni with a third place finish.