* Big events surround Nashville weekend; Elliott, Marlin entered in race * NASCAR Busch Series race most-viewed in track history at Dover NEWS & NOTES Nashville hub of Tennessee racing tradition ... Nashville has a rich racing heritage, ...
* Big events surround Nashville weekend; Elliott, Marlin entered in race
* NASCAR Busch Series race most-viewed in track history at Dover
NEWS & NOTES
Nashville hub of Tennessee racing tradition ... Nashville has a rich racing heritage, starting with the horse track that became the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and ultimately led to the construction of the Nashville Superspeedway. The Music City Motorplex, the re-named Fairgrounds track, is home to the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The 5/8-mile track has had the likes of 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth and 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) race there early in their careers. More recent NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series alumni hoping to make Saturday night's field include three-time series regional champion Jerry Robertson (No. 72 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet); Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), currently eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings and Justin Labonte (No. 44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), who won the NASCAR Busch Series race at Chicago last year. Tennessee has the most active NASCAR Busch Series tracks with three -- Bristol, Memphis and Nashville.
Nashville weekend supplies plenty of events ... In addition to the second race of the season at Nashville Superspeedway, other key events surround Saturday night's race. On Thursday, NASCAR Busch Series drivers Clint Bowyer, Brandon Miller (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet), Boston Reid (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) and Tony Raines (No. 33 Yardman Chevrolet) are scheduled to participate in an autograph session at the CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville from 2:45 -- 5:30 p.m. Later that evening, Martin Truex Jr. will be serving as co-host of a star-studded country music concert at Adelphia Coliseum, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans. The show features the likes of LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton and others. Friday, the Nashville Sports Council will host a luncheon at the Nashville Airport Marriott from 11 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. that is scheduled to include Frank Cicci and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, owners of the No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet team along with driver Randy LaJoie, the 1996 and '97 NASCAR Busch Series champion. Additionally, Armando Fitz, co-owner of FitzBradshaw Racing and Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications, will also be in attendance. Also on Friday beginning at 12:55 p.m., Raybestos rookies Reed Sorenson, Denny Hamlin, Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford) and Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 10 ppc Racing Ford) -- arguably the best-ever crop of NASCAR Busch Series drivers -- will be available in the Nashville Superspeedway infield media center for a press conference.
MBNA RacePoints 200 most-viewed series race at Dover ... Last Saturday's event at Dover broadcast on FX was the most-viewed NASCAR Busch Series race in the history of the track. The race also registered a 27% increase in households (1,355,000) over the 2003 event (1,063,000), which also aired on FX. The 2004 race was postponed due to rain after 29 laps, with the remainder televised the following Monday on FOX. Viewers of the MBNA RacePoints 200 increased 20% (1,625,000) over 2003 (1,357,000). Compared to the 2004 season to date, an average of 2.2 million households -- an increase of 37% over 2004 -- and 3.1 million viewers -- up 39% -- have tuned in to each series event.
Chevrolet evens score in manufacturer's standings ... Martin Truex Jr.'s third win of the season last Saturday at Dover brought Chevrolet even with Ford with six NASCAR Busch Series wins this year in the race for the Bill France Performance Cup. Both manufacturers have 94 points to go along with their six victories thus far in 2005. Dodge has two wins and 78 points, but has momentum after winning this event in March when Reed Sorenson collected Dodge's first win in the Charger in either NASCAR Busch Series or NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. Chevy and Ford each have three wins at Nashville.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Reed Sorenson and David Green are the only drivers in the field who can join Scott Riggs (April, 2002 and June, '03) as multiple race-winners at Nashville, each will be seeking their second victory at the track. ... Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to have secured more than one Busch Pole at Nashville, doing so for both races last season. Randy LaJoie won the pole for the April race in 2003. ... The Team Rensi Motorsports duo of Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) and Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) have run the most series races at Nashville Superspeedway with eight. ... Keller and Clint Bowyer are tied for the lead with three top-five finishes at the venue while Keller is among the all-time leaders at Nashville with four top 10s. ... Sorenson led the most laps by a winner at Nashville (197) in March, while Bowyer has led the most laps by a non-winner (104 in April, 2004).
Bill Elliott (No. 64 Top Flite Dodge), the 1988 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, looks to make his first start in the NASCAR Busch Series since last October at Memphis this weekend while Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Ferris Industries Dodge), a Tennessee native who resides in Franklin, is scheduled to run at Nashville while also pulling NASCAR NEXTEL Cup duty at Pocono. NASCAR Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards is also scheduled to do the double. ... Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard's Chevrolet) in June, 2003, David Stremme in April of that season and Jerry Robertson this past March made their NASCAR Busch Series debuts at Nashville Superspeedway. Stremme finished seventh, Menard 12th and Robertson 33rd in their inaugural series races. ... Stremme is scheduled to play in the 15th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge on Thursday at 1 p.m. at Greer Stadium in Nashville. Many Sony Music artists will be playing in the game. City of Hope National is a Comprehensive Cancer Center providing help to millions battling life-threatening diseases. Last year, the event raised more than $75,000. ... Aaron Fike looks to make his second start of the season in the No. 66 Duraflame Dodge. Fike started his first race of the year back in March at Nashville, finishing 35th. The team owned by Clarence Brewer is in fourth place in the owners point standings having raced with three drivers this year, Fike, Greg Biffle and Jorge Goeters. Jack Roush leads the owner rankings with 1,930 points. Richard Childress is second with 1,862 while Teresa Earnhardt is third with 1,810; the latter three owners have won three of the last four owner championships. ... Burney Lamar (No. 83 HPS/Groeniger Chevrolet), the 2001 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series Rookie of the Year and currently in second place in that series' point standings with one win and four top fives in five events, will attempt to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut for Kevin Harvick Inc. at Nashville. ... Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) is scheduled to play a round of golf with Albert Pujols and other members of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals as part of Pujols' charity event.
"They pack a good crowd in. It's a concrete track and just you couldn't ask for any better stuff at the race track. And it would be nice to get a win; it's [my] hometown." -- Sterling Marlin on racing at Nashville.
"It's a huge honor to get to share this ride with Greg Biffle. He has been one of the most dominant drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series over the past few seasons and I have learned a ton from him. I also have David Green as a teammate ... to have two former NASCAR Busch Series champions guiding me really helps ease the learning curve." -- Aaron Fike
"As much as I hated to sit out of the race car, I really have learned a lot. It's been a fun couple weeks getting to see the enthusiasm and excitement just build up among the guys and everyone on the team week after week [along with] the progress that they're making." -- Ryan Hemphill (No. 4 PetBrands Dodge), back in the ride after a four-race absence.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
NASCAR has a long, rich history in the Nashville area dating back to 1958 when Joe Weatherly won at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip cut his racing teeth at the Nashville Fairgrounds track and won the May 21, 1988 NASCAR Busch Series race there.
Qualifying 12th out of 26 cars, Waltrip was forced to maneuver through traffic before moving to the lead on Lap 89 of the CarQuest 200. Tommy Houston took the lead on Lap 135 before Waltrip passed him on Lap 159 and continued on to the checkered flag, beating second-place finisher Jack Ingram by more than one lap. Jimmy Spencer finished third with pole-sitter Larry Pearson and Ed Berrier rounding out the top five.
The victory was the 12th of 13 NASCAR Busch Series wins for Waltrip, whose younger brother, Michael, would go on to win his first NASCAR Busch Series event later that season at Dover.
ON DECK: KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY The NASCAR Busch Series travels to Kentucky Speedway next Saturday for its second consecutive "stand-alone" race and the fourth of eight such events on the 2005 schedule. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner, the fourth different winner in each of the four races held at the 1.5-mile venue. Reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. won the pole at Kentucky last year; he is also the fourth different driver to start first on the grid since the series began racing at the track in 2001.