BUSCH: Bristol II: Round 26 preview

* Childress, Roush Fenway Take Owner Title Down To Wire * Series Regulars Dominate Top 10 Driver Standings * Rocket At The Ready: Newman Tops Loop Data At Bristol RCR's No. 29 Claims Owner Point Lead Thanks To Duo Of Burton, Wimmer DAYTONA ...

* Childress, Roush Fenway Take Owner Title Down To Wire
* Series Regulars Dominate Top 10 Driver Standings
* Rocket At The Ready: Newman Tops Loop Data At Bristol

RCR's No. 29 Claims Owner Point Lead Thanks To Duo Of Burton, Wimmer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Five months ago when Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts Ford) won his first race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway, he set sail for what has since become a stout lead in the NASCAR Busch Series driver standings.

The same went for Roush Fenway Racing in the series owner standings. For the 18 races following the Bristol spring event, the No. 60 team was solidly in first place, with no reason to look back.

Of course, that's why the races are run.

Although still enjoying a hefty lead in the driver rankings, the No. 60 team is looking up in the owner standings as the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet team of Richard Childress Racing -- with driving shared by Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer -- has re-claimed the top spot.

The No. 29 team was more than 300 points behind the No. 60 following the second race at Nashville Superspeedway in June. Burton -- who will drive the No. 29 at Bristol while Wimmer pilots the No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet -- registered his second top five in succession at Michigan International Speedway last week, while Edwards slumped to his third finish outside the top 25 in a row -- allowing the team to erase a 41-point deficit and hold a 40-point advantage.

Despite the recent rash of bad vibes, Edwards and Roush Fenway should be positive heading to Bristol. Edwards' win in March was the first of his current season sweep of concrete-surfaced tracks. And added in is teammate Matt Kenseth's (No. 17 Army's Ford) win at this event last year.

Only once before has the driver and owner title in the NASCAR Busch Series been shared -- and RCR was also part of that formula.

In 2003, Brian Vickers won the driver championship while the duo of Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter drove the No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet to the owner crown for Childress.

"Regular" Guys Have Solid Footing In Series Top 10 Point Standings

As the season moves toward its conclusion, the top 10 drivers in the point standings have a very "regular" feel.

Of the drivers ranked in the top 10 heading to Bristol, eight are NASCAR Busch Series regulars -- those who have competed in each of the 25 races to date on the schedule.

Only former series champions Kevin Harvick (No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet -- 18) and Greg Biffle (No. 37 Cub Cadette Ford -- 22) have not started every race.

Veterans like Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota -- fourth); Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 35 McDonald's Ford -- sixth) and Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet -- 10th) are solidly ranked.

For Hamilton and Wallace, it's been a long time coming; Hamilton was last in the top 10 in 2004 prior to departing before season's end to compete in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, and Wallace hasn't been in the top 10 since 2003 when he was ranked for two of the season's 34 race weeks. He did miss two races that year, however.

Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) has been in the top 10 for the last nine weeks, a career-best seventh for the past three, while rookie Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford -- eighth) has been ranked for 19 weeks this season, the last 10 in succession.

In The Loop: The Rocket Man Rocks At Bristol Motor Speedway

In both 2005 and '06, Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) raced only one of the two NASCAR Busch Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

This season, he's racing both. And it's easy to see why he's making the change.

Newman always performs well at Bristol in a NASCAR Busch Series car.

In five career races there, his worst finish is eighth. Since 2005, Newman has enjoyed finishes of first ('05), sixth ('06) and fourth ('07). He also sits atop practically every key Loop Data category at Bristol.

Newman is first in Driver Rating (128.9), first in Average Running Position (4.6), first in Green Flag Speed and has spent 94.4% of his laps in the top 15, which is best of any other driver. Additionally, Newman is sixth in Fastest Laps Run with 50.

Kevin Harvick also navigates the high-banked terrain of Bristol well. Harvick, a Bristol winner in 2005, has a Bristol Driver Rating of 114.7, which is best of any driver who has raced each of the five races since that season. In those five races, which include a win and four top fives, Harvick has an Average Running Position of 8.9 and series-high numbers in Fastest Laps Run (100) and Quality Passes (68). He also ranks third in Laps in the Top 15 with 1,126.

Driver standings leader Carl Edwards won this past March at Bristol, his first win of the season. He has currently hit a rough patch though, going 10 races without a win and suffering finishes of 30th (Montreal), 32nd (Watkins Glen) and 28th (Michigan) in his last three races. Edwards' fortune should change at the .533-mile short track. In the past five Bristol races, Edwards has a Driver Rating of 107.5, an Average Running Position of 9.3 and 56 Fastest Laps Run.

-credit: nascar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Ryan Newman , Johnny Sauter , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Stephen Leicht
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Roush Fenway Racing