* Talladega NASCAR Busch Series viewers top 5 million * Mother's Day, racing combine at Darlington NEWS & NOTES Keller, Davis represent Palmetto State ... South Carolina will be represented at Darlington by Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's ...
* Talladega NASCAR Busch Series viewers top 5 million
* Mother's Day, racing combine at Darlington
NEWS & NOTES
Keller, Davis represent Palmetto State ... South Carolina will be represented at Darlington by Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's Ford), who hails from Greenville and Kertus Davis (No. 0 RACEGIRL Chevrolet), who is from Gaffney. Keller, who has finished in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 eight times in his 11 fulltime seasons, has yet to win at Darlington in 23 series races, and says a victory at the egg-shaped oval would be a career highlight. "It would be right there, one or two on the list," he said.
"People say it's a hometown track for me. It's not really a hometown track, but it is very special in that any time people compare me in the state of South Carolina -- there's not a whole lot of South Carolina natives out here -- but with Darlington being the South Carolina race track and kind of the symbol of NASCAR racing in South Carolina, it would be extremely special. I've had some good runs there, but I've never really been able to contend for the win. It'd be huge, and I don't know any other way to describe it." Davis, meanwhile, heads home after collecting his first NASCAR Busch Series top-10 finish last week at Talladega (10th).
Veteran NASCAR Busch Series official Babb recovering ... Pete Babb, NASCAR's senior official who has served the sport for more than 50 years working in a variety of capacities, is recovering from cardiac surgery that was performed on Monday, May 2 at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. Babb, who celebrated his 78th birthday on April 30, has most recently been a fixture in the NASCAR Busch Series garage. He was at his post at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend before being transported to the hospital. Babb will remain at Carraway before returning to his home in Chesapeake, Va., to continue his recovery. "Pete is a beloved and respected figure," said NASCAR Vice President of Communications Jim Hunter. "He will be in everyone's thoughts and prayers. We wish him all the best. People like Pete Babb helped make NASCAR the great sport it is today."
Mother's Day weekend celebrated at Darlington ... Mother's Day is Sunday and the drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series are remembering how their moms helped shape their lives and careers. "I'm going to tell my mother how much I love her and take her out to eat," Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) said. "I'm going to show my appreciation to my mother because she's so wonderful. She raised two great brothers in Rusty and Mike and I am thankful for that. I'm going to gather everybody up and have a great old time. She was a good driver in her day. She won a lot of 'Powder Puff' races." ... Stanton Barrett (No. 36 Tuscon Tobacco Chevrolet) credits his mother for his competitive nature. "We're all lucky my mom didn't decide to try stock car racing," Barrett said. "With her drive, no doubt she could beat all of us." Penny McCoy, Barrett's mom, remains the youngest person to win a medal in World Cup skiing, and was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. "I get a lot [of competitive drive] from my dad," Barrett said, "but my mom is so competitive, and she learned that on a world stage. That carried over to me." ... Michel Jourdain, Jr. (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford) will be off for Mother's Day in the United States, but will be working on Monday, May 9, Mother's Day in his native Mexico. Jourdain is scheduled to test at Richmond.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Jeff Burton (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) seeks his 22nd series start at Darlington. Among drivers entered, he has the most wins (four), is tied for third in Busch Poles (three), is third in top fives (nine) and top 10s (13), second in laps led (684) and fourth in races led (10). His average finish of 10.4 is fifth; Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Waste Management Ford), who won at Darlington in the spring 1999 event, leads that category with a 5.0 finish in his previous 10 races. ... Dale Jarrett (No. 90 Citifinancial Ford) will attempt to make his 28th NASCAR Busch Series start at Darlington Friday night, breaking a tie with Tommy Houston for most series starts at the track. Jarrett has consecutive NASCAR Busch Series wins at Darlington to his credit -- the fall, 1990 race and again in the spring of 1991.
Jeff Green, the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion and winner of the spring 2001 race at Darlington, will replace Ryan Hemphill in the No. 4 GEICO Dodge this weekend. All three Green brothers are now entered at Darlington, with 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion David (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) the only one guaranteed a starting position in the race. Mark will have to qualify the No. 23 Vassarette Chevrolet on time as will Jeff in the No. 4. ... Jimmie Johnson, the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader, will drive the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series event at Darlington. ... Robert Pressley (No. 46 Edy's Ford), who won at Darlington in the spring 1992 race, will attempt to make his first appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series this year and his first since the final race of the 2004 season at Homestead-Miami. Pressley is driving a third entry for ST Motorsports -- he competed for the team last year on a fulltime basis, his first season-long ride in a decade. Pressley is currently running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series where he is 16th in points. ... Bobby Hamilton (No. 95 Sadler Motorsports Dodge), the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion who is second in that series' point standings, is also entered in Friday night's race. ... NASCAR Busch Series teams will have an opportunity to test at New Hampshire International Speedway from July 4 -- 6. The New England 200 is scheduled for July 16.
"I can't wait to get to Darlington. I'm really excited about night racing to see what it is going to be like. It's one of my favorite all-time race tracks." -- Kenny Wallace
"Darlington is by far the trickiest, most challenging track we run on all year long. You have to be right on with your focus and concentration every inch of the way, or the track will grind you up like the garbage disposal." -- David Green
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Darlington Raceway has been on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule since the series' inaugural season of 1982. The spring race, known today as the Diamond Hill Plywood 200, has been run 22 times. This event has produced six winners from the pole position, the most of any race on the circuit.
In 1984, Ron Bouchard was the first pole winner to capture this race. Bouchard set the fastest time with a speed of 151.815 mph. He led 21 laps and dodged 10 cautions to win over fellow NASCAR Modified Series graduate Geoffrey Bodine by just a half of a car length.
Bodine won poles and races in the both 1988 and 1989 events, beating Harry Gant and Mark Martin, respectively. Martin became the third driver to win Darlington's spring race from the pole. He led the most laps and won over Larry Pearson by just .57 of a second in 1994. Martin repeated the feat in 2000 when he wheeled his Jack Roush Ford to victory over Matt Kenseth by a mere .192 of a second.
Jeff Burton is the most recent driver to win the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 from the Busch Pole. Burton took the front spot for the 2002 event with a run of 168.250 mph and led every lap of the 147-lap race. He is one of only 10 NASCAR Busch Series race winners to have led every lap.
What: Diamond Hill Plywood (Race No. 11 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C.
When: 8:05 p.m. ET, Friday, May 6.
Track Layout: 1.366-mile oval.
Race Length: 200 miles/147 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,006,587.
TV: FX, 7:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Greg Biffle.
2004 Polesitter: Kyle Busch.
NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Carl Edwards 1,482. 2. Clint Bowyer 1,335. 3. Reed Sorenson 1,329. 4. Martin Truex Jr. 1,260. 5. Ashton Lewis Jr. 1,207. 6. David Stremme 1,154. 7. Kevin Harvick 1,149. 8. Denny Hamlin 1,149. 9. Jon Wood 1,147. 10. Kenny Wallace 1,146.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thur., May 5: Practice -- 4 -- 5:00 p.m.; 6:20 -- 7:05 p.m. Fri., May 6: Qualifying -- 3:30 p.m. Cars impounded after qualifying.