BUSCH: Fontana II: Round 25 preview

Tension builds throughout the standings with 10 races to go DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 1, 2004) -- The NASCAR Busch Series will make history over Labor Day weekend with its first same-season return to California for the inaugural Target House...

Tension builds throughout the standings with 10 races to go

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 1, 2004) -- The NASCAR Busch Series will make history over Labor Day weekend with its first same-season return to California for the inaugural Target House 300. With 10 races to go, the series brings to the West Coast on Saturday its own tight championship race with Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 KFC Chevrolet) clinging to a 78-point lead over Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet).

After a five-race slump that saw him fall 142 points following Pikes Peak, Busch has picked up 64 points on Truex Jr. in the last three races, including consecutive wins at IRP and Michigan and a third-place effort last Friday night at Bristol. Truex Jr. hasn't slumped, however, with two top fives and a gutsy seventh-place showing at Bristol in his last three outings.

Busch got the better of Truex Jr. at California in May, finishing seventh while Truex was 13th. Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) won on that hot day, when temperatures hovered near 90 degrees.

But as close as the battle at the top of the standings is shaping up for the final 10 races, the push for the 10th and final spot in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 looks like it will be decided at the season finale at Homestead on Nov. 20.

Heading into California, 10th-place Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) holds a slim three-point lead over Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet). David Stremme (No. 32 TRIMSPA X32 Dodge) and Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford) are 12th and 13th, respectively, in the standings, but are tied in points and sit only 58 behind Lewis. Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Jani-King Chevrolet) is only 64 points out of the 10th position while Casey Atwood (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) also has a shot, standing 94 points out of 10th.

Lewis is seeking his first Top 10 finish in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. He was a career-best 12th last year and has steadily improved his ranking in each of his three full-time seasons of series competition (20th in 2001, 17th in '02).

Stremme finished 22nd as the Raybestos Rookie of the Year last season while Fedewa, with three Top-10 championship finishes in his career, hasn't been on the list since 1998 when he finished seventh. Compton (9th, 2002) and Atwood (7th, 2000) each have one Top-10 series championship finish to their credit

Wallace is looking to add to his six NASCAR Busch Series Top-10 championship standings appearances, the last in 2002 (7th).

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Casey Atwood , Martin Truex Jr. , David Stremme , Ashton Lewis , Kyle Busch