BUSCH: Nashville: News of note, schedule

* It Began Here: Edwards' Series Title Goal Started At Nashville * Loop Data Points To Jon Wood As Key Contender At Nashville * Team Engineer Richard Johns Set For Series Debut As Driver For Team Rensi Edwards Builds Lead To Avoid Another ...

* It Began Here: Edwards' Series Title Goal Started At Nashville
* Loop Data Points To Jon Wood As Key Contender At Nashville
* Team Engineer Richard Johns Set For Series Debut As Driver For Team Rensi

Edwards Builds Lead To Avoid Another Nashville Nightmare

Three top-five finishes -- including a win last June -- hardly makes Nashville Superspeedway an albatross for NASCAR Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Dish Network Ford).

But it's the one race he didn't run at Nashville -- in June, 2005 -- that fuels his quest for a NASCAR Busch Series championship and serves as a constant reminder of the title that got away.

Edwards led the NASCAR Busch Series point standings two years ago but was forced to miss the June race at Nashville due to inclement weather; the event was pushed to Sunday, the same day as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Although Edwards won at Pocono, he fell to fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and never recovered.

He dedicated the victory to his NASCAR Busch Series team and vowed that he would work to capture the championship that he felt he lost to Martin Truex Jr. in the rain at Nashville.

In The Loop: "Wood" There Be A Surprise In Store At Nashville?

With the NASCAR Busch Series back after a one-week hiatus to test at Richmond International Raceway, one thing's for sure: Jon Wood (No. 47 Armor All Ford) is itching to get back to racing.

Wood completed only five of 300 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, and now comes to a track where he's had two consecutive top-10 finishes.

Last season, Wood finished sixth and eighth, respectively, at Nashville Superspeedway and posted impressive stats in the process.

Wood has the fourth-best Driver Rating (87.9) of any driver competing this weekend, and the third-best Average Running Position (13.073) of anyone in the race.

Wood's passing stats might be the most impressive portion of his Nashville resume. Of the 87 total drivers who have raced there over the past two years (four races), only four have completed more passes than Wood. With none of the four competing Saturday, he will be the most prolific passer in the Pepsi 300 field.

Wood has 119 passes, 46 of which occurred on the 2,494-foot frontstretch. That figure is more than any other driver. He also ranks third (though first of any driver in Saturday's field) in Pass Differential -- passes of cars under green compared to the number of times passed -- with 34.

Of course, points leader Carl Edwards has the stats of a driver who should run up front most of the day. In three Nashville races, he has an Average Running Position of 6.213 and a Driver Rating of 118.0 -- both figures are the best of any driver in Saturday's field. Edwards won the last time he visited Nashville last June and he scored a near-perfect Driver Rating of 145.6 (the maximum is 150.0) in the process.

Ford Positioned For A Move On Leader Chevrolet

After re-capturing its second-place standing in the Bill France Performance Cup rankings following Carl Edwards' win at Bristol two weeks ago, Ford is in prime position to gain on Chevrolet as the NASCAR Busch Series heads to Nashville.

Edwards, the series points leader, not only comes off a convincing win, but he has three top-five finishes at Nashville in three races at the track, including a win last June.

Despite Ford's momentum, Dodge is only three points in back of Ford while Toyota is in fourth but well within striking distance of both.

NBS ETC.

The ESPN2 team will have a different look this weekend as veteran motorsports broadcasters Marty Reid and Vince Welch will be on hand. Reid will handle play-by-play while Welch will serve as a pit reporter, reuniting with booth analyst Rusty Wallace -- the two worked together on IndyCar Series broadcasts in 2006. ... Richard Johns, a long-time employee of Team Rensi Motorsports, gets the break he's been waiting for this weekend at Nashville as the head engineer for the No. 25 Freecreditreport.com Ford will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut. Johns worked with the team while attending UNC Charlotte and was promoted to his current position after receiving his Mechanical Engineering degree. His racing background is in go-karts, SuperTrucks and ARCA. Johns is scheduled for 11 races this year, sharing with David Gilliland. ... Cale Gale (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) is set to make his 2007 series debut with Kevin Harvick Inc. at Nashville. ... "Iron Man" Jason Keller returns to the series at Nashville. Keller, who is second all-time in series starts (401) and first in winnings ($10.8 million), will drive the No. 27 Cottonelle Ford for Brewco Motorsports. ... Open-wheel aficionados Boris Said (No. 9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge) and Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge) are together in a series field for the first time. ... Bobby Hamilton Jr. is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Nashville Sounds baseball game on April 6. Game time is 7 p.m.

***

The Race: Pepsi 300

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

The Date: April 7, 20071

The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 3:00 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: 1.333-mile oval

Race Purse: $1,085,653

2006 Winner: Kevin Harvick
2006 Pole: Denny Hamlin

Schedule: Fri. April 6--1:45-2:45 p.m., Practice; 3 -4 p.m., Rookie Practice, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Final Practice. Sat., April 7--10:05 a.m., Qualifying (impound).

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jason Keller , Boris Said , Kevin Harvick , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Jon Wood , Richard Johns , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , David Gilliland , Denny Hamlin , Cale Gale , Sam Hornis