*It's The Life: Leffler's Living Large On And Off The Track *Go Time: Season Heats Up At California In The Loop: Kahne, Newman Set For Second Straight Battle Leffler Brings Personal And Professional Turnaround Home To California DAYTONA BEACH,...
*It's The Life: Leffler's Living Large On And Off The Track
*Go Time: Season Heats Up At California
In The Loop: Kahne, Newman Set For Second Straight Battle
Leffler Brings Personal And Professional Turnaround Home To California
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2007) -- Jason Leffler's (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) last trip to his home state to race at California Speedway in February wasn't much to, well, visit home about.
An accident on Lap 88 ended his day and dropped him to a 38th-place finish. That, coupled with his season-opening 22nd place at Daytona International Speedway put a damper on his start to the 2007 season.
Fast-forward to the present and the native of Long Beach would certainly agree -- what a difference seven months makes.
Off the track, Leffler and his wife, Allison, became parents to son, Charlie Dean, on Aug. 16. Also during that span, Leffler has turned around his season on the track.
"This trip back will be even more special for me because even though everyone won't get to meet Charlie, I'll be able to show off new pictures of him," Leffler said. "Fatherhood is something that is so amazing, it's impossible to explain."
Leffler is setting a good example as far as resilience. He was 20th in the standings following the May race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Since then, he's catapulted into the top 10 in the standings -- he tied his career-best ranking of third after registering Toyota's first series win at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis -- and improved his Driver Rating from 11th (66.3 rating) to his current fifth-place standing (77.3).
He enters the California race fourth in the standings. He has two Busch Poles this season, including last week at Bristol Motor Speedway where he was second to Kasey Kahne (No 9 Vitamin Water Dodge) in one of the most exciting races of the year. He also won the pole at California in the first race in 2004.
September Signals Stretch Run For NASCAR Busch Series Teams
The second visit by the NASCAR Busch Series to California Speedway signals the end of August and the beginning of the final stretch of the 35-race season.
Carl Edwards (No. 60 Sharp Aquos Ford) maintains his lead in the driver standings, but his Roush Fenway Racing team still faces the challenge of the No. 29 Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing -- this week driven by Jeff Burton and sponsored by Holiday Inn -- in the owner standings. Scott Wimmer also has driven the No. 29.
Edwards posted his best finish in his last three races -- 11th -- last week at Bristol while Burton's 40th place due to an accident was his worst series finish since consecutive 40th-place results last year.
Edwards won this race in 2005 while Burton has three top fives -- including runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2000 -- and four top-10s in seven races at California.
Wimmer also will be racing, but for a different team. He debuts for California native and reigning series champion Kevin Harvick's KHI team in the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet.
In The Loop: Kahne, Newman Set To Duke Out "Round Two; Owner Leaders Also In The Mix
Call it round two between Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman (No. 12 Kodak Dodge).
The two Dodge drivers staged a battle -- along with Jason Leffler -- during the waning laps of last week's NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kahne was victorious, as a flat tire ended Newman's night.
They'll have another chance this weekend at California Speedway. Both have enjoyed tremendous success at the 2-mile track, with Kahne winning this race last season and Newman finishing second in his only NASCAR Busch Series start at California in February of 2006.
The two also go toe-to-toe in many of the Loop Data statistics. In two California races since 2005, Kahne has a Driver Rating of 118.1, an Average Running Position of 6.0, and 24 Fastest Laps Run. In his lone California start, Newman earned a Driver Rating of 120.8, an Average Running Position of 3.5 and spent all but one of his laps in the top 15.
But that might be Saturday night's undercard compared to the owners' standings battle between Carl Edwards and Jeff Burton.
The Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 -- driven exclusively by Edwards -- owns a 42-point cushion over the Richard Childress Racing No. 29 driven by both Burton and Scott Wimmer this season. The stats say the neck-and-neck race might get even tighter after Calilfornia.
Edwards and Burton have virtually identical stats at California:
- Driver Rating: Burton (115.7) nips Edwards (114.2);
- Average Running Position Burton (6.0) over Edwards (8.0);
- Fastest Laps Run: Edwards (84 in five races) over Burton (74 in three races);
- Laps in the Top 15: Burton (91.3% of his laps were in the Top 15) over Edwards (89.9% of his laps were in the Top 15).