BUSCH: Fontana: Raybestos Rookie preview

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie Contenders - Busch Series. * Casey Mears was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mears finished fifth, his first career top-five in the Busch Series and his...

News and notes from the Raybestos Rookie Contenders - Busch Series.

* Casey Mears was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mears finished fifth, his first career top-five in the Busch Series and his best career finish. He took home top finishing rookie honors for the first time this season.

* Raybestos® Rookie Contender Johnny Sauter won his first career pole at Talladega Superspeedway. He led once for 11 laps before being eliminated in a multiple-car accident on lap 14 and was the only rookie to lead at least one lap at Talladega. Sauter was credited with 33rd in the final finishing order.

* A Raybestos® Rookie Contender has won the pole for the last two consecutive Busch Series races (Shane Hmiel at Nashville and Sauter at Talladega).

* In addition to Sauter, two other Raybestos® Rookies were involved in the early race accident at Talladega: Scott Riggs and Shane Hmiel. Riggs and Hmiel both made repairs to their cars and returned to the race. Riggs finished 19th while Hmiel placed 21st.

* Riggs continues to lead the Raybestos® Rookie Contender standings. He holds a 27 point lead over Sauter (107-80) entering Saturday's Auto Club 300 at California Speedway.

* Five Raybestos® Rookies started the race at Talladega and four were running at the finish: Mears, Earnhardt (18th), Riggs, and Hmiel. The only exception was Sauter.

* Riggs has led more miles than any other Raybestos® Rookie Contender. He has led four times in three races for a total of 69.82 miles. Sauter has led 50.62 miles (two times in two races). Other rookies that have led at least one lap this season: Mears (6.00) and Hmiel (1.33).

* 2002 Raybestos® Rookie Champion Greg Biffle was the highest finishing rookie in last year's Auto Club 300 at California Speedway. He started third and finished sixth, the only freshman driver to finish on the lead lap.

* Biffle led the race six times for 90 laps, more than any other driver in the race. He was one of three rookies to lead the race: Scott Wimmer (once for two laps) and Larry Foyt (once for one lap) were the others.

* Seven Raybestos® Rookies started the race and six were running at the finish: Biffle, Wimmer (19th), Foyt (21st), Tim Sauter (25th), David Donohue (27th) and Marty Houston (32nd). The only rookie that failed to finish the race was Jamie McMurray, who was sidelined by a vibration and was credited with 37th in the final rundown.

* Biffle was also the highest qualifying rookie, taking the third starting position in time trials taking the third starting position.

RAYBESTOS ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER POINTS Scott Riggs - 107 Johnny Sauter - 80 Kerry Earnhardt - 72 Shane Hmiel - 71 Casey Mears - 70 Brian Vickers - 31 Dan Pardus - 26 Kasey Kahne - 13

HIGHEST FINISHING RAYBESTOS ROOKIE BY RACE

EVENT EAS/GNC Live Well 300 - Shane Hmiel, fifth 1-866-RBCTerm.com 200 - Scott Riggs, fourth Sam's Town 300 - Johnny Sauter, third DarlingtonRaceway.com 200 - Johnny Sauter, 11th Channellock 250 - Scott Riggs, ninth O'Reilly 300 - Scott Riggs, fourth Pepsi 300 - Scott Riggs, first Aaron's 312 - Casey Mears, fifth

-raybestos-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Greg Biffle , Casey Mears , Larry Foyt , Marty Houston , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Kerry Earnhardt , Tim Sauter , David Donohue , Shane Hmiel , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers