BES: Greenville-Pickens: Round one preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 5, 2006) - In today's media environment, the phrase "history-making" is used fairly casually. However, the expression has real meaning when applied to An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet at ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 5, 2006) - In today's media environment, the phrase "history-making" is used fairly casually. However, the expression has real meaning when applied to An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday night, June 10, for a variety of reasons.

* It marks the debut of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series as the successor to the former Busch North Series. Beside the new identity, the series will begin the quest for a new champion.

* It commemorates the first live, flag-to-flag network television coverage of a NASCAR Grand National race, which originated from Greenville-Pickens 35 years ago in 1971. That race was carried live on ABC's Wide World of Sports, while this year's will be shown in high-definition on HDNet.

* While showcasing the talents of a number of rising stars in the NASCAR ranks, it focuses particular attention on two of them from whom much is expected in 2006- Peyton Sellers, 22, the reigning NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion, who makes his east coast touring series debut, and Sean Caisse, 20, the 2005 Sunoco Rookie of the Year who takes over the car owned and prepared by four-time champion Andy Santerre.

An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet is scheduled as a one-day event with practice starting at 1:00 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying at 6:00 p.m., and race time at 8:00 p.m. Greenville-Pickens Speedway's regular NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series classes will follow the Busch East Series race.

THE CONTENDERS: For the first time since 2002, the season begins without Andy Santerre as the logical favorite. He scored his four consecutive championships for three different car owners, including himself. Now he is back in that role, but working from the pit box rather than the driver's seat as he guides Sean Caisse through his sophomore season.

With last year's runner-up, Mike Stefanik, devoting his full energy to the quest for a seventh NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title, one of several leading title favorites is Matt Kobyluck, the leading race winner of the 2005 season who also captured the Busch Pole Award title. Close behind on the pre-season form chart are 2001 champion Mike Olsen, who ranked second in 2004 and fourth in '05, and Ryan Moore, Santerre's closest rival through most of the 2005 campaign who fell to fifth in points after missing the final race of the season.

Among the other contenders, Bryon Chew and Eddie MacDonald are seeking to build on 2005 successes, while Brian Hoar, Mike Johnson, and Joey McCarthy seek to rebound from '05 campaigns which did not meet their usual high standards. Meanwhile, Caisse is not the only young contender aiming at 2006 honors. Ryan Seaman, the 2004 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, returns with his family team and John Salemi, runner-up to Caisse for the '05 Sunoco honors and winner of the POWERade Power Move of the Race year-end award, takes over the highly-respected ride in Mark Willoughby's Waste Management Chevrolet.

THE TV HISTORY: Greenville-Pickens Speedway is one of NASCAR's most historic tracks for many reasons. It ranks second only to Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. as the longest continuous member of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The roster of former track champions whose names fill the back straight "Wall of Fame" reads like a Who's Who of NASCAR greats; among them Ralph Earnhardt, David Pearson, and Butch Lindley. Episodes of the legendary rivalry between the racing Pressleys and Jack Ingram took place here. >From 1951 to 1971, Greenville-Pickens hosted the original NASCAR Grand National Division (today's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series) 28 times, with Richard Petty winning six times, Pearson and Bobby Isaac four each.

An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet recalls one historic occasion at Greenville-Pickens which pointed the way for NASCAR's dominant place in the sports marketplace today. On Saturday afternoon, April 10, 1971, ABC's Wide World of Sports presented the first live, flag-to-flag coverage of a NASCAR race on a major network. The ABC crew and announcers Jim McKay and Chris Economaki had only the basics- not even an in-car camera- but their pioneering efforts started the trend which would lead to today's high-tech telecasts like the one HDNet will originate this Saturday night.

By the way, Bobby Isaac won that first Greenville-Pickens TV race by two laps over David Pearson. The announcers didn't have much yellow-flag time to fill, as there was just one caution flag for five laps.

THE YOUTH BRIGADE MEETS: One of the story lines HDNet broadcasters Mike Hogewood, Pat Patterson, and Kandace Krueger will follow concerns two drivers hoping to capitalize on NASCAR's youth movement in 2006: Peyton Sellers and Sean Caisse. Sellers has already proven his competitiveness in the Grand National Division with Bill McAnally Racing on the AutoZone West Series, and will have the experienced Ted Marsh team behind him at Greenville-Pickens. For Caisse, there are big shoes to fill in the Santerre #44, but also the opportunity to achieve what only one other driver has accomplished by going from Sunoco Rookie to series champion in one year. That previous sophomore sensation, in 1991, would be a good role model to follow- his name was Ricky Craven.

Although he ran his late model stock car across the Carolinas in recent seasons, Sellers has never raced at Greenville-Pickens. Neither has Caisse.

FAST FACTS

What: An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series Race #1

Where: Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, S.C.,

When: Saturday, June 10, 2006, 8:00 p.m.

Track layout: .5 mile paved oval
Race distance: 150 laps, 75.0 miles

Posted awards: $118,911

Television: HDNet live; SPEED enhanced replay, time TBA

2005 race winner/Busch Pole winner/track record: None, first series event at track

Schedule: Saturday, June 10 -- Practice 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying 6:00 p.m., On-track autograph session 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., Pre-race ceremonies 7:45 p.m.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Ricky Craven , Richard Petty , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson , Peyton Sellers , Ryan Moore , Sean Caisse , Eddie MacDonald , Bryon Chew , John Salemi , David Pearson