Talladega could showcase season's eighth different winner DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 22, 2004) - Competition? The NASCAR Busch Series has plenty. There have been seven different winners in seven races held so far this season along with five...
Talladega could showcase season's eighth different winner
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 22, 2004) - Competition? The NASCAR Busch Series has plenty.
There have been seven different winners in seven races held so far this season along with five Busch Pole winners. And with the ultra-competitive Aaron's 312 slated for Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, there's no way to predict with any degree of certainty who will come out on top.
Those who have taken the checkered flag in 2004 include Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 81 Taco Bell Chevrolet) at Daytona International Speedway; Jamie McMurray (No. 30 TrimSpa X32 Dodge) at North Carolina Speedway; Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Greg Biffle (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) at Darlington Raceway; Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Taco Bell Chevrolet) at Bristol Motor Speedway; Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Weight Smart Ford) at Texas Motor Speedway; and Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron's Sales & Lease Chevrolet) at Nashville Superspeedway.
Busch Pole winners include Truex at Daytona and Nashville; Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) at Darlington and Texas; Mike Bliss (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) at Las Vegas; Johnny Benson (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge) at Rockingham; and Biffle at Bristol.
If Truex has his way, however, he'll be the first two-time winner of the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series campaign. The car Truex will drive at Talladega is the same one he qualified fastest in the season-opener at Daytona. During the final practice session, however, Truex was involved in a mishap with Waltrip that forced his crew to make extended repairs to his Chance 2 Motorsports Chevrolet before the race. However, it was involved in another accident during the event.
Despite winning his second Busch Pole of the year two weeks ago at Nashville, Truex found himself in the back of the field at the start due to an accident during final practice. He finished 23rd as a result, dropping from second to fourth in the point standings, 65 points behind the leader, Waltrip.
"The last race was really tough on us mentally," Truex admitted. "The next pole we earn, 'Bono' [crew chief Kevin Manion] and I have already decided to park the car during Happy Hour."
Truex logged more than 600 miles during a NASCAR test at Talladega late last year and if he has his wish, he will hook up with his car owner, Earnhardt, during the Talladega event.
"I just want to get a good finish at Talladega, and get in the mix with Dale Jr.," said Truex. "I know he's looking forward to that as well. He really taught me a lot at Daytona, but I didn't have a good opportunity to prove to him that I listened."
Paul Menard (No. 33 Menards/Turtle Wax Platinum Series Chevrolet), like Truex, is a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate. His resume, though, includes a win at Talladega last fall in the ARCA REMAX Series. He had never been to the track before, but pulled off the victory after starting from the rear due to a technical violation. Menard would like to become the eighth different winner this year when the NASCAR Busch Series pulls into the mammoth 2.66-mile superspeedway.
"It was the biggest win of my career, and just an unbelievable weekend all the way around," Menard said. "The way it happened made it that much more sweet. I never had so much fun in all of my racing life to that point. I've been waiting for a chance to come back since that day."