* Championship battle wages; Raybestos Rookie race is closest-ever to date * Newman aims for sixth win in six starts NEWS AND NOTES A salute to 25 years of NASCAR Busch Series history ... NASCAR will recognize 25 years of NASCAR Busch Series...
* Championship battle wages; Raybestos Rookie race is closest-ever to date
* Newman aims for sixth win in six starts
NEWS AND NOTES
A salute to 25 years of NASCAR Busch Series history ... NASCAR will recognize 25 years of NASCAR Busch Series history in 2006 with its "25 Seasons Running" marketing and media campaign. The series was founded in 1982 as the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, and has since grown into the No. 2 motorsports series in the United States. The campaign also includes a commemorative "25 Seasons Running" logo which will appear in many NASCAR media outlets in 2006. Anheuser-Busch has been title sponsor of the series since its inception, making it one of the longest-running sports sponsorships in America.
Time running down in championship points battle ... Reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) has remained at the top of the point standings for the last 16 weeks, yet came within 26 points of losing his lead to Clint Bowyer (No. 2 Timberland Chevrolet) after Richmond. In the next three races, Truex bounced back and now leads Bowyer by a 100-point margin with three races remaining. At this time last season, Truex held the lead by 176 points over Kyle Busch (No. 57 Lowe's/KOBALT Chevrolet).
Bowyer making all the right moves ... While time is running short for Clint Bowyer's challenge for the championship, he's doing all he can to keep his team out front. Over the last six races, Bowyer has recorded three top-five finishes including his win at Memphis. He's posted an average finish of 11.0 in those races, second-best in the series and better than Martin Truex Jr.'s average finish of 12.8 during the same period. Bowyer has completed 5,969 of a possible 6,054 laps this season, the highest percentage of any driver in the series (98.6%). Bowyer can also look forward to a minor milestone at Texas; his next NASCAR Busch Series start will be his 50th in the series.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year race is closest-ever ... The current point spread for the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year title is the closest-ever in the 17-year history of the award. Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) leads Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) by a 15-point margin (337-322) in the standings, which are calculated separately from the series championship points standings. To date, the closest margin for the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year was 20 points, when Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet) won the award over Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet) in 2000.
Newman: Five wins in seven races; aiming for sixth straight at Texas ... Ryan Newman (No. 39 Sony Dodge) is aiming for his sixth victory in what should be his eighth start in the NASCAR Busch Series this year. Newman has won every race he's entered since Watkins Glen in August, and will try to become the first driver in series history to win six races in six starts. Sam Ard, the 1983 NASCAR Busch Series champion, holds the record for consecutive wins with four, which he set that season.
Close calls ... April's NASCAR Busch Series event at Texas Motor Speedway was one of the most competitive in track history. Ten drivers exchanged the lead on 17 occasions, and just 37 laps were run under caution. Kasey Kahne won the race by a .304-second margin -- which followed Bristol as the second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series race with a margin of victory less than one half-second. To date in 2005, the NASCAR Busch Series has produced 10 races with a winning margin of less than a half-second, most recently at Lowe's Motor Speedway where Ryan Newman defeated Elliott Sadler (No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford) by .313-second.
Lewis supports sponsor with Marine Corps 8K run ... Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) traveled to Washington, D.C. last Sunday and completed the Marine Corps Marathon 8K run, a 4.96-mile precursor to the annual Marine Corps Marathon through the streets of our Nation's Capital. Starting at the Iwo Jima War Memorial, Lewis and fellow Team Rensi Motorsports employee Rob Winchester ran an 8:26 minute per mile pace and crossed the finish line with a time of 41:26. Winchester was credited with finishing 151st and Lewis 152nd out of 1,065 competitors. "It was a great experience to see all the people out there supporting the runners, especially the men and women in uniform," Lewis said. "Rob and I talked about it and we are going to set a goal of training for the marathon next year."
Bill France Performance Cup one of tightest races in series history ... With three races remaining, the chase for the 2005 Bill France Performance Cup is one of the closest in NASCAR Busch Series history. Only 21 points separate leader Chevrolet (213 points) from third-place Dodge (192). Chevrolet has 13 wins this year while Dodge has 10 -- four more than its last two seasons combined. Second-place Ford (203 points) has nine wins, and should it post one more victory, it would mark the first time in series history that three manufacturers registered double-digit wins in the same season. This year's race is the closest in the win category since 1991 when Oldsmobile won the title and posted nine victories. Chevrolet and Pontiac had eight wins while Buick collected six victories that season. Heading to Texas, Chevrolet and Ford have each won four times at the 1.5-mile track in NASCAR Busch Series competition, and Dodge captured its lone win there this past April.
Double Duty at Texas ... With each of NASCAR's three national series converging at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, several NASCAR Busch Series regulars are taking advantage of the opportunity to race in the other series. Martin Truex Jr., Johnny Sauter (No. 1 Miccosukee Dodge), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson and Carl Edwards are all set to race in both the Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge Saturday and in Sunday's Dickies 500. Regan Smith (No. 58 Glynn Motorsports Dodge) is entered in Friday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race while last year's NASCAR Busch Series championship runner-up, Kyle Busch is pulling "triple duty," aiming to participate in all three series events. He has one win in the NASCAR Busch Series (Charlotte in May) and one in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (California Speedway last September) competition this season to go along with three wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year, including last week at Atlanta.
After O'Reilly Challenge, fans take to the track ... The next Tyson Fun Walk NASCAR On Track for Charity fundraising event will take place Saturday, one hour after the O'Reilly Challenge is concluded. NASCAR fans participating in the event will have the opportunity to walk on the racetrack while contributing to the benefit of thousands of children. For additional information and to register for the walk, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
In nine previous NASCAR Busch Series races at Texas, Mark Martin has won three races, with six other drivers -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeff Purvis, Joe Nemecheck (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford) and Kasey Kahne (No. 6 Hellmann's Mayonnaise Dodge) -- recording one victory each. Nemecheck has logged the most top-five finishes there (four), while Jeff Burton and Kenseth have each finished in the top 10 in seven Texas races.
"Texas is an awesome track just because of the fans. There's a lot of Terry Labonte fans out there in the grandstands and it's just cool being there, watching him race ... it's pretty exciting." -- Justin Labonte, on racing with his father, Terry, at Texas.
"Texas knows how to draw a crowd. I'd rather be driving in that race than anything but, if I wasn't, I can guarantee you it's the kind of race I'd sit down and watch." -- TJ Bell (No. 36 Heathcliff's Cat Litter Chevrolet), on the high-speed racing at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I'm really looking forward to going back to Texas in the Busch car. I wanted to race in this event so much, that I asked Ray [Evernham] if he would let me drive it even though he had tentative plans to put another driver in the car. I just knew this was one race I wanted the chance to go back to with my Evernham Motorsports team behind me. I told Ray if he put me in the car he wouldn't be sorry." -- Kasey Kahne, winner of April's O'Reilly 300 event at Texas.
"The extra seat time that I will get being in both the Busch and Cup cars this weekend definitely won't hurt us. It will be a bit hectic but it will give me a chance to find out what the weekends will be like next year, when I run the full schedules in both series." -- Reed Sorenson, who will be attempting his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Texas, in addition to racing in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Jorge Goeters (No. 73 Red Cactus Salsa Chevrolet) will join fellow Mexico native Adrian Fernandez (No. 5 Lowe's/Spectrum Chevrolet) at Texas. Goeters won the Busch Pole at the historic Mexico City race last March while Fernandez finished 10th. ... Bobby Labonte (No. 19 Slim Jim/Act II Chevrolet) is entered at Texas along with nephew Justin. ... Among the drivers who tested the "Car of Tomorrow" at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week were NASCAR Busch Series drivers Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. ... Among the current top 10, just four drivers -- Truex, David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), Jason Keller (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) and Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) were in the top 10 at this time last year. ... Team owner Frank Cicci announced that Randy LaJoie and Todd Bodine will continue to share seat time in the No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet. Bodine will drive the car at Texas and in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while LaJoie will drive at Phoenix International Raceway. ... Chris Wimmer (No. 23 BMAR-Vassarette Chevrolet), brother of current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Scott Wimmer, has joined Keith Coleman Racing and hopes to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Texas. Chris has started 17 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races over the last two years. He placed 17th last week at Atlanta.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The 1997 NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was the first NASCAR event held at the facility. A stellar field took the green flag with Jeff Green and Elliott Sadler making up the front row. Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron's Chevrolet), Mark Martin, Bobby and Terry Labonte, Dale Jarrett and Jimmy Spencer were also among the drivers hoping to win the first NASCAR event at the new Texas track. Martin took over the lead on Lap 188 and held on for the win, the 30th NASCAR Busch Series victory of his career. He has gone on to become the all-time leader in series wins with 47.
ON DECK: PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
The NASCAR Busch Series heads west to Phoenix International Raceway for the penultimate event of the 2005 season on Saturday, Nov. 12. Jamie McMurray is the defending winner of the Arizona 200, while points leader Martin Truex Jr. scored a third-place finish in last year's race. ... Greg Biffle won this past April at Phoenix.
Next Race: O'Reilly Challenge
Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas
When: Sat., Nov. 5.
Track layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race length: 200 laps, 300 miles.
Posted awards: $1,155,720.
TV: TNT 2:00 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
2004 Winner: Inaugural event.
Pre-race schedule: Friday, Nov. 4 -- practice 9-11:15 a.m., Busch Pole qualifying 5:05 p.m.
NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Martin Truex Jr. 4,511. 2. Clint Bowyer 4,411. 3. Carl Edwards 4,140. 4. Reed Sorenson 4,082. 5. Denny Hamlin 3,842. 6. Kenny Wallace 3,768. 7. Paul Menard 3,710. 8. David Green 3,520. 9. Jason Keller 3,504. 10. David Stremme 3,457.