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Seven former champions entered at California; Jarrett returns Mexico City event Travel Guide now available on-line NEWS & NOTES Jarrett makes return to NASCAR Busch Series ... Dale Jarrett (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) plans to make his return...

Seven former champions entered at California; Jarrett returns

Mexico City event Travel Guide now available on-line

NEWS & NOTES

Jarrett makes return to NASCAR Busch Series ... Dale Jarrett (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) plans to make his return to the NASCAR Busch Series for the first time in five years at California. The 1999 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion is known as one of the charter members of the NASCAR Busch Series, making his debut in 1982 -- the year the division was consolidated into a national touring series. Jarrett -- who finished in the NASCAR Busch Series top 10 in six consecutive seasons from 1982-87 -- placing fourth twice (1984, '86) -- has 11 wins and is fourth all-time in series starts (324). "I haven't run in the NASCAR Busch Series since 1999 but I definitely believe there is something that can be learned by running in the Saturday race," Jarrett said. "I look at it as an opportunity to learn. I'm 48 years old and I've been at this for a long time now. If I sat here and tried to tell you that I didn't need to do it because I know everything there is to know, I'd be lying and be a fool on top of that to think anything like that. So I still feel that there are a lot of things that I can learn and hopefully that translates into information for us on Sunday." Jarrett will share time in the No. 90 Robert Yates entry with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teammate Elliott Sadler in 2005.

Historic Mexico race field settling in ... The March 6 Telcel Motorola 200 in Mexico City has drawn 48 entries to date, including nine drivers with ties to Mexico along with eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors among the field of NASCAR Busch Series regulars. Boris Said, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Carl Edwards, Rusty Wallace, Joe Nemechek, and Elliott Sadler are the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers entered. In addition to Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford), a native of Mexico City who is running a full NASCAR Busch Series schedule for ppc Racing this year, other Mexican driving stars include: Adrian Fernandez, Rafael Martinez, Carlos Contreras, Mara Reyes, Jorge Goeters, Ruben Novoa, Jose Magana and Jimmy Morales. Of those drivers, Contreras is the only one with NASCAR Busch Series experience -- he had two starts in 2003 with his best finish a 17th at Homestead.

California race features seven former series champions ... Defending race winner Greg Biffle will be joined by six other NASCAR Busch Series champions in the California field. In addition to Biffle (2002 series champion), Martin Truex Jr., the defending series champ, will try to better his 13th-place finish one year ago. In addition, Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet -- 2001 champion), Randy LaJoie (No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet -- 1996-97), David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford - 1994), Steve Grissom (No. 49 Advil Ford - 1993) and Joe Nemechek (No. 87 NEMCO Chevrolet - 1992) are also in the field. Biffle is the only winner at California among the defending NASCAR Busch Series champions entered in the event.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) is the only driver to have run in all nine NASCAR Busch Series races at California Speedway. ... There have been seven different Busch Pole winners at the track. ... Matt Kenseth leads all drivers with six top fives and six top 10s; he has run in eight series events at California. ... Greg Biffle has led the most laps (241) and has the best average finish (4.5) among those who have run three or more races at California Speedway.

ETC.

Mark Martin (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford), the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (45) will attempt his first series start at California. Martin plans to run in eight NASCAR Busch Series races this season. ... Adrian Fernandez (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) conducted his only test prior to the Mexico City race at Virginia International Raceway on Tuesday. His test consisted of practice laps on the road course as well as pit stops with his crew. ... Dan Glaus takes over as crew chief of Kim Crosby's No. 24 Bodreaux's Butt Paste Chevrolet at California replacing Greg Guarry, who will remain as team manger. ... David Green will arrive at practice Friday morning on a chopper along with a group from the nearby Vengance Motorcycle plant. ... Chris Knight, who portrayed Peter on the 1970s sitcom "The Brady Bunch" and currently appears on "The Surreal Life" on VH1, will be a guest of Joe Nemechek at California. ... Michel Jourdain Jr. and his wife, Nora, became parents for the first time last Sunday when son Michel III was born at 5:45 p.m. ... Brent Sherman (No. 58 Serta Mattress Dodge), who spent six years in the United States Air Force before turning to NASCAR racing, is scheduled to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on March 9. Sherman has logged more than 3,000 hours among combat, surveillance and instructing missions all over the world.

QUOTEBOOK

"We feel like these first four races are going to be a very critical part of the schedule because of how demanding the travel is along with a new track and new race outside of the country thrown into the mix. If we can get a good jump on these next three races, then all the work in the off-season will have paid off." -- Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet).

"I was surprised about the power that they have. I thought they were going to be slower than the speed they are doing." -- Adrian Fernandez during his only test in a NASCAR Busch Series car, Tuesday at Virginia International Raceway.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Native Californians seem to have a handle on NASCAR Busch Series qualifying at California Speedway, winning the last three Busch poles, setting a track record in the process. Jason Leffler, who hails from Long Beach, won the pole last May with Bakerfield's Casey Mears taking the pole for the second series race this past September. In 2003, Kevin Harvick, also from Bakersfield, set the qualifying record for this event with a speed of 183.941 mph. Californians have been successful qualifiers in the NASCAR Busch Series throughout the years as well. Harvick and Vallejo's Jeff Gordon are tied among all California natives, having won 12 career Busch poles. Modesto's Ernie Irvan has five, while Leffler and Susanville's Mike Skinner have both captured three career NASCAR Busch Series poles.

Harvick, Tyler Walker (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge - Los Angeles) and Stanton Barrett (No. 36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet - Bishop) are Californians who will try to make it four straight poles here for Golden State drivers.

FAST FACTS

What: Stater Bros. 300 (Race No. 2 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).

Where: California Speedway, Los Angeles, CA.
When: 6:05 p.m. ET, Saturday, Feb. 26.

Track Layout: 2-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/150 laps.

Posted Awards: $1,509,876.

TV: FX, 5:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

2004 Winner: Greg Biffle.
2004 Polesitter: Jason Leffler.

NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 190. 2. Kevin Harvick 170. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 170. 4. Martin Truex Jr. 160. 5. Kasey Kahne 155. 6. Robby Gordon 150. 7. Greg Biffle 147. 8. Michael Waltrip 146. 9. Carl Edwards 139. 10. Reed Sorenson 138.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday: Practice - Noon -- 1:10 p.m.; Final practice -- 2:50 -- 3:50 p.m. Saturday: Qualifying, 10 a.m.; cars impounded following qualifying.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Boris Said , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Casey Mears , Adrian Fernandez , David Green , Kasey Kahne , Brent Sherman , Steve Grissom , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Tyler Walker , Clint Bowyer , Robert Yates , Kim Crosby , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson , Mara Reyes , Jorge Goeters , Mark Martin , Michel Jourdain