* Kenny Wallace, David Green have "young guns'" paying attention *Chevrolet on top again in closely-contested manufacturer's race NEWS & NOTES Wallace, Green showing veteran savvy ... Six drivers ranked in this week's NASCAR Busch Series...
* Kenny Wallace, David Green have "young guns'" paying attention
*Chevrolet on top again in closely-contested manufacturer's race
NEWS & NOTES
Wallace, Green showing veteran savvy ...
Six drivers ranked in this week's NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 -- Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge), Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) -- average 24.5 years of age, hence their "young guns" nickname. But two veterans in particular are making those younger drivers take notice of their recent charges in the standings. Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) and 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) are ranked fifth and 10th, respectively. After finishing 37th in the season-opener at Daytona, the 41-year-old Wallace has been a constant in the Top 10 for the last 14 weeks, and is only three points behind Carl Edwards in fourth, 2,296 -- 2,293. Wallace's best championship finish was second in 1991, and his fourth-place finish in the standings in 1994 is his best in the subsequent five seasons in which he has competed fulltime in the series. Green was 10th in the rankings following Las Vegas, but fell to 18th the next week at Mexico City after a 39th-place result, just the seventh time in the last three seasons he's finished 31st or worse. Green, 47, broke back into the Top 10 after Milwaukee and enters Chicago just 23 points behind Jason Keller, who is ninth, and is within striking distance of Stremme, 107 points ahead of Green in seventh. Green had his best career finish at Chicago last year (eighth), while Wallace seeks an improvement over his average finish of 26th in his three previous series races.
Sherman returns to series in hometown; ppc Racing fields three teams ...
Brent Sherman (No. 15 Consort for Men Ford) makes his return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at Chicago. He competed in 11 races for Akins Motorsports earlier this year, and recently announced a 10-race agreement with ppc Racing through the remainder of the 2005 season. Sherman's addition gives ppc three teams in the NASCAR Busch Series, joining the fulltime teams of Kenny Wallace and Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 10 Oscar Mayer Ford). Sherman, a 31-year-old native of Wauconda, Ill., will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Chicago, but in three ARCA events at the 1.5-mile track since 2002, Sherman has two fourth-place finishes along with an eighth-place result.
Labontes in select group ...
When Justin Labonte captured his first career NASCAR Busch Series victory in this event last year, he and his father, Terry, joined the Hamiltons -- Bobby and Bobby Jr., Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr. as well as David and Larry Pearson as the only fathers and sons to win NASCAR Busch Series races. Terry, the two-time NASCAR premier series champion who owns his son's NASCAR Busch Series team, is entered in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Chicago. It is one event on his limited schedule as he winds down his career, spanning nearly 30 years, on the premier series. Making it a true family affair, Bobby Labonte is entered in the USG DUROCK 300 NASCAR Busch Series race as well as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event on Sunday.
Chevrolet recaptures lead in manufacturers race ...
Chevrolet once again took over the lead in the back-and-forth battle for the Bill France Performance Cup following Martin Truex Jr.'s win last Friday night at Daytona. Chevrolet recaptured the lead from Ford for the first time in four races. There have been three lead changes and five ties among Chevrolet and Ford through the first 19 events of the 2005 season. Chevrolet enters the race at Chicago with eight wins and 124 points, Ford has seven wins and 119 points while Dodge has three victories and 99 points. Chevrolet has the edge at Chicago, having won two of the four previous NASCAR Busch Series races at the track; Ford and Dodge have one win apiece there.
NASCAR supports "America Supports You" ...
In an ongoing nationwide effort to communicate America's admiration to the men and women of the Armed Forces, NASCAR has joined the efforts of the "America Supports You" program, launched by the U.S. Department of Defense last year. The program recognizes citizens' support for our military men and women and serves as a vehicle to communicate that appreciation to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. NASCAR seeks to raise awareness of the program and drive fans to the website at www.americasupportsyou.mil. "The 'America Supports You' campaign gives every American the opportunity to reach out to those in the military serving our country and protecting our freedoms," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. "Taking a moment to thank the troops and let them know how much they mean to our country is easy to do by going to the AmericaSupportsYou.mil website." Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense, said that "NASCAR's efforts will be a positive reminder to our deployed men and women, and their families back home, that they have the continued support of the American people." NASCAR is working with the industry to help raise awareness about the effort including signage at tracks, airing of public service announcements on Nextel Vision, decals on race cars, outreach to media outlets and public relations support. Several companies and sports organizations have joined the campaign including NASCAR Busch Series sponsors Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's and Lowe's.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Three of the four previous NASCAR Busch Series winners at Chicago --
Jimmie Johnson, 2001; Johnny Sauter, 2002 and Justin Labonte, 2004 -- are entered in Saturday's event. ... Ryan Newman (No. 39 Mobil 1/ALLTEL Dodge) is the lone former Busch Pole winner in the field, having captured the top starting position in the inaugural race in 2001 (he finished 26th). ... Jason Keller has the most top-10 finishes at Chicago (four). ... Keller and Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) each have two top fives.
David Stremme is slated to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Chicago for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Stremme has been tabbed to take over the No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge on a fulltime basis next year following nearly three seasons in the NASCAR Busch Series. ...
Casey Atwood is scheduled to drive the No. 6 Hungry Drivers Dodge for Evernham Motorsports for the next three races starting with Chicago. Atwood has one previous series start in the No. 6 this season, having finished ninth at Kentucky. ...
Reed Sorenson threw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs -- Washington Nationals game last Saturday at Wrigley Field (see photo on nascarmedia.com). "Throwing out the first pitch was a unique experience and one that I am glad I got to have," Sorenson said. ...
Mark Martin (No. 9 Pennzoil Platinum Ford) is scheduled to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Chicagoland this weekend. Martin, the series' all-time leader in wins with 47 -- two of those victories were claimed in his first two races this season at California and Las Vegas -- has two top-10 finishes in four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup appearances at the track. Martin's car chief and rear tire changer, Drew Blickensderfer, is from Mt. Zion, Ill. ...
Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Supercuts Dodge) will join fellow NASCAR Busch Series drivers Stacey Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford), Carl Edwards, Aaron Fike (No. 43 Channellock Code Blue Dodge), Denny Hamlin, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Reed Sorenson on Thursday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., for the Second Annual Racin' The Bases Celebrity Softball Game to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp. An autograph session will take place between 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. and the game will start at 6:00 p.m.
"Chicagoland is obviously a track that means something to me. Growing up in Wisconsin and being a big Green Bay Packers fan, I always thought of Chicago as a place I wouldn't like, so it's funny that I have this major career milestone in the Chicago area. To this day I am still a huge Packers fan, but now I am able to separate my opinion of the Bears from my opinion of the Chicago area and that's probably due to the win. Maybe after two wins I'll become a Bears fan ... not!" -- Johnny Sauter (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge)
"I know that it's not easy to perform, but I'm going to do my homework. I'm going to be in Chicago and I'm going to be learning about everything. I'm going to listen and be there like a student. I'm going to be open-minded and see what's there. I'm a race car driver and I know how to go fast. But also, I need to learn how to go fast in these cars and how to be patient and how to get to the end." -- Adrian Fernandez on his stock car learning curve on ovals. He is scheduled to run in four more races for Hendrick Motorsports this year -- California, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead -- in addition to his 10th-place finish in Mexico City.
"There's something about racing in front of my hometown crowd that pushes me to run even better at this track. I've finished well here in the past, so this should be a great place to get started with my new team." -- Brent Sherman
ON DECK: NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
The NASCAR Busch Series makes its only appearance at New Hampshire International Speedway in the New England 200 on July 16. There has not been a repeat winner in the previous 18 races held at the 1.058-mile track. Matt Kenseth won the event last year while Jamie McMurray sat on the Busch Pole.
What: USG DUROCK 300 (Race No. 19 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill.
When: 2:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, July 9.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,432,586
TV: NBC, 2:00 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Justin Labonte.
2004 Polesitter: Bobby Hamilton Jr.
NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Martin Truex Jr. 2,510. 2. Clint Bowyer 2,439. 3. Reed Sorenson 2,416. 4. Carl Edwards 2,296. 5. Kenny Wallace 2,293. 6. Denny Hamlin 2,158. 7. David Stremme 2,073. 8. Ashton Lewis Jr. 2,068. 9. Jason Keller 1,989. 10. David Green 1,966.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., July 8: Practice -- 9 -- 11:15 a.m. Qualifying -- 5:05 p.m. Cars impounded after qualifying.