BUSCH: Fontana II: Kevin Conway preview

Conway & No. 18 Z-Line Designs Team Head Into Homestretch With Wal-Mart Joining Busch Series Effort at California HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 28, 2007) -- Kevin Conway the driving instructor becomes Kevin Conway the NASCAR Busch Series student...

Conway & No. 18 Z-Line Designs Team Head Into Homestretch With Wal-Mart Joining Busch Series Effort at California

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 28, 2007) -- Kevin Conway the driving instructor becomes Kevin Conway the NASCAR Busch Series student in Saturday night's Camping World 300 at California Speedway in Fontana. The 2-mile oval is a race track that Conway the instructor is all too familiar with, but Conway the competitor will be racing on for the very first time in a Busch Series car.

As an instructor with the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the lightning-fast tri-oval, as well as at numerous other North American race tracks in recent years, Conway has logged hundreds of laps around California Speedway. With that invaluable seat time in his hip pocket, and the experience of a front-row start and a top-five finish in the 2004 NASCAR Grand National West Series race at California in 2004, Conway and the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart Chevrolet team for Joe Gibbs Racing look to get their best result of the season during Saturday night's 300-mile event.

It will be the fifth start of the season for the 28-year-old from Lynchburg, Va., and his first chance this year to stretch his racing legs on one of NASCAR's lengthier layouts. Three of Conway's first four starts in the No. 18 Chevrolet came at tracks of a mile or less -- Bristol (Tenn.), Dover (Del.) and Loudon (N.H.) -- and the other at the relatively tight, 1.33-mile concrete tri-oval at Nashville (Tenn.). All but Bristol were first-time visits for Conway in a Busch car. But even though California represents another Busch racing first, Conway is at least plenty familiar with the D-shaped, tri-oval concept, having raced ARCA and Grand National stock cars for the likes of former NASCAR race winner Ernie Irvan.

In fact, one of Conway's top performances in recent years came at California in the 2004 NASCAR Grand National West Series King Taco 300 in the No. 28 Chevrolet fielded by Irvan. Conway started on the front row alongside polesitter Clint Bowyer and ran with the leaders all race long before an unscheduled pit stop 20 laps from the finish sent him back to 19th. But Conway rallied for a fifth-place finish in the race, won by Ken Schrader with Bowyer finishing second and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular David Gilliland finishing right behind Conway in sixth.

Tribute to Sam Conway -- The No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Wal-Mart Chevrolet, along with Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, will pay tribute to driver Kevin Conway's father Sam Conway at California Speedway this weekend. Sam passed away last Saturday at age 58 after a valiant battle with lung cancer. Sam was team manager for Darrell Waltrip's NASCAR Winston Cup Series team in the 1990s and served on the board of directors for Motor Racing Outreach for 10 years.

-credit: jgr

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Darrell Waltrip , Richard Petty , Clint Bowyer , David Gilliland , Kevin Conway
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing