NASCAR BUSCH SERIES NEWS & NOTES - POST KANSAS * Harvick Needs To Gain 32 Points On Second Place To Claim 2006 Crown * NASCAR Busch Series Heads To Montreal In 2007 * Childress Seeks Third NASCAR Busch Series Owner Title * Steve Wallace,...
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES NEWS & NOTES - POST KANSAS
* Harvick Needs To Gain 32 Points On Second Place To Claim 2006 Crown
* NASCAR Busch Series Heads To Montreal In 2007
* Childress Seeks Third NASCAR Busch Series Owner Title
* Steve Wallace, Juan Pablo Montoya Meet In Talladega ARCA Race
* Chevrolet Aiming To Tie Its Most-Wins-In-A-Season Mark
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2006) -- Despite building his NASCAR Busch Series points lead race after race, Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) has been adamant about not looking ahead to a second championship.
That's been a tough assignment for his Richard Childress Racing team, since Harvick's lead began mounting following the second race of the season.
He was only 30 points behind the leader after the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Since then, the 2001 champion has put together arguably the most dominant season in series history while preparing to become the seventh driver to win multiple titles. He also aims to be the first driver to win the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crowns in the same season.
Now, Harvick only needs to gain 32 points on the second-place driver (currently Carl Edwards -- No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford) next Friday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway in order to clinch the 2006 title. His season has been the storybook variety -- a series-leading seven wins, the most since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won seven in his 1998 title year -- 20 top fives (the series record is 25 by Jeff Green in 2000) and 27 top 10s (Sam Ard holds the record with 30 in 1983) with five races to go.
He surpassed the $1 million mark in winnings faster than any series driver before him, and his 729-point lead over Edwards is growing into what could be a new mark in that category. Green holds the record with a 616-point margin over Jason Keller in his championship year of 2000.
"It's an incredible accomplishment, especially since at the beginning of the year we ran a few different cars and we had to kind of move things around a little bit," Harvick said following his win last Saturday at Kansas.
"The No. 21 [car] has been good week-in and week-out no matter where we've been. The days we've been off, we've still been able to make a really good day out of it. It's just been one of those years where everything has gone our way."
International Flair: NASCAR Busch Series Heads To Montreal
The NASCAR Busch Series took another historic stride this week when it was announced that a second international race will be included on the 2007 schedule.
On Aug. 4, the series will visit the 2.7-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve located on the Ile Notre-Dame on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The series will race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course on March 4 -- the third consecutive year at that venue -- before heading north of the border to Montreal.
"It is a very big milestone for the track and for everyone in NASCAR," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "This is an important event ... [and] will expand the footprint of NASCAR."
It's The Final Open Week For The NASCAR Busch Series
In addition to Kevin Harvick's opportunity to clinch the NASCAR Busch Series driver title next week, team owner Richard Childress is looking at claiming his third series owner's championship. Childress won with Harvick as his driver in 2001 and again in '03 when Harvick and Johnny Sauter captured the owner's title for Childress while Brian Vickers won the driver championship, the first time in series history that split had occurred. ... Steve Wallace makes his first attempt to start on a superspeedway at Talladega on Friday. He's entered in the ARCA RE/MAX event. Wallace will be joined by Juan Pablo Montoya, who looks to make his stock car debut in that event for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, a prelude to Montoya moving to NASCAR national series competition. ... Kenny Wallace(No. 22 AutoZone Ford) and his brother Mike (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge) are entered in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Talladega. ... Regan Smith (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) plans to attend a Carolina Hurricanes game in Raleigh this week. The native New Yorker follows the team on a regular basis and attended the final game of the Stanley Cup finals last season. ... Stephen Leicht (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) wrapped up an advance media tour in Memphis on Tuesday with a media bowling challenge. Leicht bowls in a league when he's not racing. ... Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) has moved into ninth place in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, his highest ranking since he was eighth after the second race of the year at California Speedway.
Chevy Tries To Tie Win Record As Season Winds Down
On the strength of Kevin Harvick's thrilling win last Saturday at Kansas, Chevrolet reached the 19-win plateau in 2006, tying the mark for the eighth-most wins by a manufacturer since the inception of the Bill France Performance Cup in 1982.
Chevy has won 19 races two other times, most recently in 2003. It holds the record with 24 wins in 1999, and with five races remaining, starting with the Oct. 13 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, has an opportunity to tie that standard.
Chevy has 227 points, followed by Ford in second with six wins and 178 points. Dodge is third with five victories and 165 points.
From The NASCAR Busch Series "25 Seasons Running" Archives
The forerunner of today's NASCAR Busch Series was the former NASCAR Sportsman Division, founded in 1950 to give competitors an alternative to the more expensive modifieds. The series saw several multiple championship winners and an odd title fight in 1961.
Ohio native Mike Klapak won the series' first three championships from 1950-52. Racing patriarch Ralph Earnhardt won the title in '56 with NASCAR legend Ned Jarrett taking the honors the following two years with consecutive championships in 1957-58.
In perhaps the most unusual championship circumstance in NASCAR history, New Yorkers Bill Wimble and Dick Nephew split the title in '61 with a tie in series points.
Rene Charland won four consecutive titles in 1962-65 with the ageless Red Farmer taking three straight from 1970-72.
"Iron man" Jack Ingram won three series championships before winning his two NASCAR Busch Series titles for a total of five crowns.
L.D. Ottinger and Butch Lindley won back-to-back championships in 1976-77 and 1978-79, respectively.
Tommy Ellis took the final NASCAR Late Model Sportsman championship in 1981 and like Ingram, also captured a NASCAR Busch Series crown. Ellis won in 1988.