BUSCH: Phoenix: News of note, schedule

NASCAR Busch Series broadcasts show increases for third consecutive week NEWS & NOTES TV numbers up for third consecutive week ... The NASCAR Busch Series has produced increases in both households and viewers for three straight weeks thanks...

NASCAR Busch Series broadcasts show increases for third consecutive week

NEWS & NOTES

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.

Hendrick Marrow Program information ... Fans looking to show their support for those affected by the recent Hendrick Motorsports aviation tragedy can turn to the Hendrick Marrow Program. For a $1 donation, fans will receive a blue wristband with the inscription "LIFE IS A TEAM SPORT." All proceeds from sales of the wristband, which was worn by Kyle Busch during last week's Aaron's 312 at Atlanta, helps support those diagnosed with leukemia, or one of 70 other life-threatening blood diseases. Wristbands will be available on NASCAR.com as well as through 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.

ETC.

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.

QUOTEBOOK

"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.

Fast Facts

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.

Top 10 in points: 1. Martin Truex Jr. 4,700. 2. Kyle Busch 4,524. 3. Greg Biffle 4,227. 4. Ron Hornaday Jr. 3,946. 5. David Green 3,854. 6. Jason Keller 3,773. 7. Mike Bliss 3,736. 8. Jason Leffler 3,661. 9. Kenny Wallace 3,497. 10. Ashton Lewis Jr. 3,458.

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-

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