Right at home: Drivers from California, Pacific Northwest, West regions dot California entry list DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 30, 2005) -- A cross-country trip this week to California Speedway affords many drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series ...
Right at home: Drivers from California, Pacific Northwest, West regions dot California entry list
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 30, 2005) -- A cross-country trip this week to California Speedway affords many drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series the opportunity to return to their home state or get near their home regions.
Eleven drivers entered in Saturday's Ameriquest 300 are from the Golden State or the neighboring regions of the Pacific Northwest and West, helping to solidify the nationwide growth and popularity of NASCAR.
California natives entered include Palmdale's Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) of El Cajon, Long Beach product Jason Leffler (No. 32 Braun Racing Dodge) -- winner of the Busch Pole in the 2004 spring race -- and Brandon Miller (No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet), who hails from San Diego. Miller's teammate, Kevin Harvick, is from Bakersfield. The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion will not drive in the race, but will oversee his team -- Kevin Harvick Inc. -- and the No. 33 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet driven by Tony Raines.
The Pacific Northwest will be well-represented in the event by drivers who grew up in Washington. Greg Biffle (No. 66 Duraflame Ford) swept the series races at California in 2004. The Vancouver resident and 2002 series champion will be joined by Spanaway's Derrike Cope (No. 28 Jay Robinson Racing Ford), Kevin Hamlin (No. 4 GEICO Dodge) of Snohomish and Kasey Kahne (No. 6 Country Crock Dodge) who is from Enumclaw. Hamlin is a product of NASCAR's ladder system, having won two titles in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series on his way to his current NASCAR Busch Series ride.
The trip to California offers a few others the chance to be closer to home. T.J. Bell (No. 36 Heathcliff Cat Litter Chevrolet) will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut after taking over for Californian Stanton Barrett. Bell is from Sparks, Nev., and has 13 starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to his credit. Jerry Robertson (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet) is a native of Denver, Colo., and another product of NASCAR's ladder system. He claimed two titles in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, and will attempt to make his eighth start of the season in the NASCAR Busch Series on Saturday.
And J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) will have a cheering section traveling from his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., pushing for him to climb even higher in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings. Yeley, who was 22nd in the rankings only 13 weeks ago, comes to California in 12th, just 53 points out of the Top 10.