* Chevrolet Posts 16th Consecutive Double-Digit Win Season * Montreal Race Drawing Top-Name Competitors * ABC To Carry Race Broadcast From Chicagoland; Kolber Hosts NASCAR Countdown NBS ETC. Keselowski In No. 88 Chevrolet: JR Motorsports will...
* Chevrolet Posts 16th Consecutive Double-Digit Win Season
* Montreal Race Drawing Top-Name Competitors
* ABC To Carry Race Broadcast From Chicagoland; Kolber Hosts NASCAR Countdown
Keselowski In No. 88 Chevrolet: JR Motorsports will have a new driver in the No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet this weekend at Chicagoland. Brad Keselowski, who most recently competed in the NASCAR Busch Series for Keith Coleman Racing, replaces Shane Huffman for the next three events. Huffman was relieved of his duties last week and team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the No. 88 Chevy at Daytona International Speedway.
Keselowski, a 24-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Mich., drove in 13 races for KCR this season before the team suspended its operations due to owner Keith Coleman's medical issues. Keselowski, who finished 12th in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings running for his father's team, posted his career-best finish of 24th at Dover last month. He competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series two weeks ago at Memphis Motorsports Park for Germain Racing when the team needed a last-minute replacement for Ted Musgrave. Keselowski scored the pole, led four times for a total of 62 laps and contended for the win.
Turning The Leicht Back On: Although Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) is ranked a career-best ninth in the standings, he's fallen into a mini-slump following his landmark win at Kentucky Speedway late last month. The 20-year-old was a respectable 14th at The Milwaukee Mile after his Kentucky win, but has finished 25th and 27th in his last two races at New Hampshire International Speedway and Daytona, respectively. Leicht has a daunting task in front of him as he works to gain back momentum -- he will compete at Chicagoland for the first time in his NASCAR Busch Series career. Last season, Leicht's then-teammate Elliott Sadler drove the No. 90 Ford in this event.
Keller Approaching More Milestones: Jason Keller (No. 11 Dutch Quality Stone Chevrolet) returns to Chicagoland Speedway for the first time since 2005 and is once again on the precipice of breaking series records. The first series driver to earn $9 and $10 million in winnings is also second in all-time series starts with 408 -- the only driver other than Tommy Houston (417) to surpass the 400-start mark. Keller is $23,189 from the $11 million threshold as well and could break through at Chicago. His current combined CJM Racing and Brewco Motorsports schedule also could make the all-time starts leader before the end of the 2007 season. The 37-year-old Keller, with 10 career victories, doesn't want to look too far into the future, however.
"I try not to think about [the starts record]," he said. "I don't want to jinx myself. The focus with this team (CJM) is to go out there and try to build on our program. We've learned a lot but there is still a ways to go."
Interesting Combo At Iowa: Iowa Speedway -- the 7/8-mile tri-oval in Newton, Iowa designed by former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and current NASCAR Busch Series team owner Rusty Wallace -- will host a Rolex Sports Car Series race Friday night with an interesting duo as participants. Mark Martin, the all-time NASCAR Busch Series wins (47) and poles (30) leader -- and Patrick Carpentier, who announced this week his intentions to participate in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal on Aug. 4 -- both are scheduled to compete at Iowa. The race will be Martin's debut in a Rolex Series car while Carpentier, a Rolex Series veteran, will debut in the NASCAR Busch Series at Montreal.
The Director's Take: Chicagoland
INSIGHT FROM JOE BALASH, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DIRECTOR
"At Chicagoland, like at most of the 1.5-mile speedways we run on, the majority of the teams will try to make the best use of their "coil bind" set-up, where the front spring is fully compressed.
Teams want to find the best balance so the car will rotate in the corners and turn as easily as possible. The coil bind makes the car look like it's riding directly on the front bumper; the nose seals right to the track giving the best aero advantage to the team that manages to use their shocks to hold the car down the best.
The driver will need to do his part, too, using the brakes to "set" the car down on the spring. They won't want it to slam, instead there needs to be a smooth compressing of the spring."
News From The NAPA Auto Parts 200
Carpentier In The Field: Patrick Carpentier, a regular driver in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series who also has competed in the IndyCar and Champ Car series, announced Tuesday that he will enter the Aug. 4 NASCAR Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Carpentier, a 35-year-old native of Quebec, is scheduled to drive the No. 22 Dodge for Fitz Motorsports in the event. Carpentier was already scheduled to race in Round 11 of the 2007 Daytona Prototype schedule in Montreal on Aug. 3.
"I think running both series on the same weekend will be a plus for me ... however, this advantage shouldn't last forever as my opponents
are all talented professionals and they won't take too much time to figure out the track," Carpentier said at a press conference in Montreal announcing his participation.
ESPN on ABC will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live from Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30 p.m. ET; the race starts at 3 p.m. ESPN2 will carry the final practice session on Friday and qualifying on Saturday.
Suzy Kolber hosts NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty, while Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.
Rusty Wallace will work in the ESPN booth as analyst for the telecast and will be joined by Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro.
ESPN2 will have live coverage of qualifying from Chicagoland as well as the series' final practice session. Practice coverage will air at 5:45 p.m. ET Friday, with the live qualifying show hosted by Kolber at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Chevrolet Lands 10th Win Of 2007; Posts 16th Consecutive Double-Digit Win Season
With its 10th win of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season having been registered last Saturday at Daytona by Kyle Busch (No. 5 Delphi Chevrolet), Chevrolet not only continued to lead the Bill France Performance Cup standings, but extended its double-digit win streak to 16 consecutive seasons.
Chevy had 10 wins in 1992 to begin the streak -- the longest in each of NASCAR's three national series -- and averaged nearly 18 wins through last season.
Ford remains in second place in the manufacturer standings, 20 points behind Chevrolet and has one win at Chicagoland, in 2003 with Bobby Hamilton Jr., who returns to the track in a Ford for Saturday's race.
Dodge ranks third in the standings, four points ahead of fourth-place Toyota. Dodge has won two of the last three races at Chicago while Toyota makes its series debut there.
Up Next: Gateway 250 At Gateway International Raceway
The NASCAR Busch Series returns to its stand-alone schedule next week at Gateway ternational Raceway for the Gateway 250 on Saturday, July 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will carry the broadcast.
The race, held in St. Louis -- the home city of series sponsor Busch Beer -- is the first of three consecutive stand-alone events that also takes the series to O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis (Aug. 28) and then to the inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Aug. 4.
Missouri native (Columbia) and series points leader Carl Edwards is the defending winner of the Gateway 250 while Denny Hamlin was the polesitter in 2006.
A pair of two-time series champions, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick, each has two wins at the track and both won their races in consecutive seasons -- Earnhardt in 1998-99 and Harvick in 2000-01.
The Race: USG Durock 300
The Place: Chicagoland Speedway
The Date: July 14, 20071
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: ABC, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Race Purse: $1,544,672
2006 Winner: Casey Mears
2006 Pole: Carl Edwards
Schedule: Fri.: 1:10-2:10 p.m. -- Practice; 2:15-2:45 p.m. -- Rookie Practice; 4:45 p.m. -- Final Practice (one hour, time permitting). Sat.: 10:05 a.m. -- Qualifying (Impound).