* Krisiloff Doesn't Feel Pressure As Indiana Native At ORP * RCR Tightens Series Owner Championship Battle * Loop Data: Keller, Biffle Drivers To Watch At ORP Krisiloff Looking Forward To His Own "Back Home In Indiana" Time DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
* Krisiloff Doesn't Feel Pressure As Indiana Native At ORP
* RCR Tightens Series Owner Championship Battle
* Loop Data: Keller, Biffle Drivers To Watch At ORP
Krisiloff Looking Forward To His Own "Back Home In Indiana" Time
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 24, 2007) -- You're 21 years old, you grew up only seven miles from Indianapolis, and you're a rookie in the NASCAR Busch Series.
You're coming off your best start of the season and your team is just beginning to gel at the mid-way point. You have a new sponsor on board and renewed enthusiasm as you progress toward 2008.
Oh yeah, and with all this momentum, your next race just happens to be in your backyard at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
But if you're Kyle Krisiloff (No. 14 Lilly-Walgreens Ford), you really don't feel any type of squeeze. Instead, you're excited to be back home in front of family and friends. And you hope your performance at ORP is one of your best yet.
"It's a good time to be going home," Krisiloff said. "We had our best start of the season (18th) at Gateway. Our car is getting better. We have big things going on with our team in the next couple of months."
Krisiloff is in his first full season in the series. He competed in his first three races in 2005 as a development driver for Hendrick Motorsports before running in 12 races for Billy Ballew in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2006.
He came on board with Haas-Carter Motorsports just before the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway this year and has had a solid overall season to date despite the late start.
His best finish was a surprising fifth at Talladega Superspeedway last April and he's currently fourth in the Raybestos Rookie standings.
"There are only two tracks in Indianapolis," Krisiloff said of ORP and the Brickyard. "Every time I go back I think of what it will be like to [eventually] run at the big track. It's always been a goal of mine. This is an exciting time."
Battle Beginning To Take Shape For Series Owner Championship
Carl Edwards (No. 60 Dish-Weather Channel Ford) has a tight grip on the NASCAR Busch Series driver standings lead, but it's the battle for the owner championship that's beginning to get a bit tighter.
Edwards has been able to maintain leads in both categories for owner Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing, but the pressure is mounting from the Richard Childress Racing duo of Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton, who have shared time in the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet this season.
The second-place Wimmer-Burton team has moved to within 186 points of the No. 60 heading to ORP where Chevrolet has been dominant, having won 15 of the previous 25 races at the track including the last four in a row.
Different driver and owner champions have been crowned in the series only once before, in 2003 when Brian Vickers (Hendrick Motorsports) won the driver title and RCR won the owner championship with another duo of drivers -- Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter.
"I work with Carl but for Jack," said Edwards' crew chief Pierre Kuettel. "At the end of the day, my job is to compete for both titles."
In The Loop: Two-Time Winner Keller Surprisingly Strong In Recent Races At ORP, But "Biff"Lurks
With his start on Saturday night, Jason Keller (No. 27 Huggies Ford) will have made 14 starts at O'Reilly Raceway Park -- one less than ORP record-holder Tommy Houston.
The track has treated Keller well over the past 13 years. He has won there twice, in 1995 and 1999. In the 1999 victory, he won from the pole, leading 130 of the 200 laps.
The success has continued for Keller in recent years. Since 2000, the first driver in series history to win $9, $10 and $11 million has finished in the top five in five of the last seven races at the .686-mile track, which include runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2003.
Over the last two years, the 37-year-old native of Greenville, S.C., racked up some of the best stats on the NASCAR Busch Series at ORP.
In the previous two ORP races, Keller had an average pre-race Driver Rating of 102.3, which is the second-best mark of any driver competing Saturday. Additionally, Keller has an Average Running Position of 9.0, 19 Fastest Laps Run and 338 Laps in the Top 15.
In two races at ORP, J.J. Yeley (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet) has excelled. He finished third last season and 13th in 2005. In the last ORP race, Yeley had a Driver Rating of 116.2 and an Average Running Position of 5.6.
Through the last two races at the track, Yeley has an Average Running Position of 10.5, a Driver Rating of 100.1, 13 Fastest Laps Run, 314 Laps in the Top 15 and 37 Quality Passes -- passes of cars in the top 15 under green -- which is more than any other driver over the past two ORP races.
But 2002 series champion Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) might be the driver to beat. Thanks to a fourth-place finish last season, Biffle holds some of the best stats of any driver racing Saturday night. He has the top Driver Rating (110.5), the best Average Running Position (7.2), and ran all but five of his laps in the top 15 (195 total). He has never finished outside the top five in each of his four previous races there.