BUSCH: Nashville II: Round 15 preview

Stand-alone excitement resumes Saturday night DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2006) -- The month of June signals the halfway portion of the NASCAR Busch Series season. It also marks the start of the series' stand-alone schedule when the next three...

Stand-alone excitement resumes Saturday night

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2006) -- The month of June signals the halfway portion of the NASCAR Busch Series season. It also marks the start of the series' stand-alone schedule when the next three races -- beginning Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway -- can change the standings in a hurry.

Last June, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest Ford) came to Nashville as the NASCAR Busch Series leader. But heavy rain forced a one-day postponement of the race, forcing Edwards to leave the Music City and head back to Pocono Raceway for his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series duties.

Edwards lost both the opportunity to compete and the points lead to Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge), who also won the race. He tumbled to fourth in the rankings and never recovered. He did win at Pocono, and dedicated the victory to his NASCAR Busch Series crew, vowing to return to the series full-time to challenge for the title he felt he lost that day.

Edwards and Sorenson are among seven drivers attempting to run a full season in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Until this weekend, the previous two stand-alone events at Mexico City and the first race at Nashville in April were staged during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series off-weekends.

Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), the series leader by 297 points over second-place Edwards, also is among those pulling double duty.

"The thing I look at is that the next five guys behind me are in the same boat I am," Harvick said. "If it's weather, it's going to be for everyone. It's nice to have a big lead. You can lose it in a hurry."

"I really have no worries as far as weather is concerned," said Chad Walter, crew chief for Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet), who stands fifth in the points and also is attempting a full season in both series. "There's nothing I can do about that. It's out of my control. I mean, I hope it's not an issue, but if it becomes one, I can't get worried about it.

"Going into these three weeks I'm not too worried overall. Kyle has won at Nashville. He dominated at Kentucky. He's had quite a bit of seat time at Milwaukee, too. So, at least we're not going into anything blindly. I know the driver is going to be ready when he gets there. As a team, we have to make sure the car is adjustable to his needs come race time."

Harvick experiencing first "slide" of season ... Leader Kevin Harvick (2,221) returns to Nashville as the winner of the April race. Although hardly in a slump, Harvick is in the midst of his "worst" outings of the year, having finished 13th at Dover International Speedway last Saturday while Edwards' finished second. Harvick finished eighth at Charlotte as Edwards won his first race of the year. Harvick's result at Dover International Speedway was his lowest finish of the year; his previous low finish was 11th at Atlanta. Nashville might be the perfect spot for a rebound. In his two races at the 1.33-mile track, Harvick has a win and a seventh-place finish. Since finishing 43rd at Texas, Edwards has one win, four top fives and seven top 10s in his last seven races.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch