*Keselowski Continues Impressive Run For JR Motorsports *California Natives Restless For Win At Home-State Track NBS ETC. Countdown to 417 Jason Keller has 413 career starts; the series record is 417. He must qualify on time for all but one of...
*Keselowski Continues Impressive Run For JR Motorsports
*California Natives Restless For Win At Home-State Track
Countdown to 417
Jason Keller has 413 career starts; the series record is 417. He must qualify on time for all but one of his remaining races (Calif. -- Brewco). Keller is tied with Matt Kenseth for the most series starts at California (12).
Kevin Conway (No. 18 Z-Line Chevrolet) is back in familiar territory at California Speedway, but in a much different capacity. Conway has served as a driving instructor for the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the track and also has a front-row start and top-five finish in a 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race at the track. This will be his first NASCAR Busch Series start there. His No. 18 Chevy and Denny Hamlin's No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet will carry a tribute to Conway's father, Sam, who passed away last Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. • Haas CNC Racing developmental driver Blake Bjorklund the (No. 28 U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet) is scheduled to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at California. Through an existing partnership between Haas CNC and Jay Robinson Racing, the 21-year-old native of Isanti, Minn., also is targeted to compete at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October and in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bjorklund had been driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for MRD Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and was ranked 21st in the standings following 15 races, and now will focus solely on preparation for his NASCAR Busch Series schedule.
• California Represents: Six California natives are entered in the Camping World 300 in their home state. Led by 2006 series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 33 RoadLoans.com Chevrolet --Bakersfield), the other Golden Staters include Stanton Barrett (No. 30 Smith & Wesson/Ski Motorsports Chevrolet -- Bishop); David Gilliland (No. 25 FreeCreditReport.com Ford -- Riverside); Robby Gordon (No. 22 Supercuts Dodge -- Orange); Jimmie Johnson, the defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion (No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet -- El Cajon) and Long Beach's Jason Leffler. This will mark Gilliland's NASCAR Busch Series debut at the track; Kenny Wallace drove for Gilliland last Feburary when a case of race day flu precluded his participation.
California Speedway Stats & Facts
Roush Fenway teammates Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Arby's Ford) and Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) share the most victories with three each. Roush Fenway drivers have led 57% of the laps at California since 2000.
• Clint Bowyer (No. 21 Camping World Chevrolet) has two Busch Poles at California Speedway, the only driver with multiple poles. No driver has won from the pole at California.
• There have been 14 different race winners in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007; the series record is 18. Nine races remain in the season.
Rookie Spotlight: Keselowski Continues Impressive Showings For JR Motorsports
• Making His Bid: Brad Keselowski (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Seebees Chevrolet) has done nothing but strengthen his chances to land a full-time ride for two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion and JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. In the five races he's run for JRM, the 23-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Mich., has posted two top-10 finishes -- including his career-best seventh at Bristol -- and also results of 13th (Chicagoland Speedway) and 14th (Michigan International Speedway) in races that each featured over 20 double-duty drivers. Keselowski also has been the top-finishing Raybestos Rookie in three of his five outings. "Our communication and understanding of what he needs in the car continues to improve each week," said crew chief Wes Ward. Keselowski had garnered 87 points in the Raybestos Rookie standings in 13 races prior to moving to JRM. In his five races since, he's collected 50 points.
• Rookie Etc.: Brad Coleman goes into a self-described "deep-freeze" and isn't scheduled to race in the No. 18 Carino's Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing until Sept. 22 at Dover International Speedway. ... David Ragan's (No. 6 Discount Tire Co. Ford) best finish (sixth) in his last four races helped push his lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings up to a more comfortable 25-point margin over Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kinsford Ford), who got caught up with fellow rookie Robert Richardson Jr. at Bristol. Ambrose's 37th-place finish tied his lowest result of the year.
Dodge Finding Late-Season Groove; Kahne And Dodge Seeking Second Straight California Win
As the season begins to wind down, Dodge seems to be warming up.
Third in the Bill France Performance Cup standings, Dodge has managed to put its greatest distance since the June 16 race at Kentucky Speedway -- 10 points -- between it and fourth-place Toyota due to a surge over the last six races.
Although first-place Chevrolet still maintains a strong 38-point lead in the manufacturer standings over second-place Ford, Dodge -- which had three wins on the season prior to the last six races -- has gained consistency, posting two victories(Gateway International Raceway, Bristol), five top fives and seven top 10s among two teams.
Dodge comes to California as the defending winner of this race with driver Kasey Kahne also seeking his second victory in a row there. That win was Dodge's first at California in series competition. Ford leads the way with eight wins, the last by Matt Kenseth in February.
Up Next: Emerson Radio 250 At Richmond International Raceway
One of the last two short-track races of the season is on tap for the NASCAR Busch Series next Friday night at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway. The Emerson Radio 250 will be carried live by ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 ET.
Clint Bowyer finally broke the three-race winning streak of his Richard Childress Racing teammate and two-time series champion Kevin Harvick with his win last May. However, Harvick has won the last two fall races at Richmond and sports three top fives and four top 10s in his six September races at RIR.
Virginia native Jeff Burton, another RCR driver, won the Busch Pole for this event last year. His three poles are third all-time behind the record five shared by Tommy Ellis and Michael Waltrip.
Mark Martin, the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (47) and poles (30), also owns the most wins at Richmond with five.
The Race: Camping World 300 presented by RVs.com
The Place: California Speedway
The Date: Sept. 1, 20071
The Time: 10:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 9:30 p.m. (ET)
Track Layout: 2-mile oval
Race Purse: $1,607,454
2006 Winner: Kasey Kahne
2006 Pole: Clint Bowyer
Pre-Race Schedule: Friday -- Practice, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.; Rookie Practice, 9:45 - 10:15 a.m.; Final Practice, 10:20 - 11:20 a.m. (One hour, time permitting); Qualifying, 5:10 p.m.