NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES SPECIAL RACING UPDATE * NASCAR Busch East Series rookies finish 1-2 &5 at Phoenix * Logano's victory earns spot in 2007 NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown * Jesus Hernandez,...
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES SPECIAL RACING UPDATE
* NASCAR Busch East Series rookies finish 1-2 &5 at Phoenix
* Logano's victory earns spot in 2007 NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown
* Jesus Hernandez, Ginn Racing Drive for Diversity team takes fifth
* Next: NASCAR Busch East Series "Home Opener" at Greenville-Pickens
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Apr. 20, 2007) -- Sixteen-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing rookie teammates posted a stunning 1-2 finish in their first career NASCAR Grand National Division superspeedway start together at Phoenix International Raceway Thursday night, April 19. A third rookie, Jesus Hernandez, started 16th and finished fifth in the event.
The Phoenix AlphaTrade.com 150 race winner, Joey Logano of Middletown, Conn., who started second, asserted his team's strength with a win in his first career NASCAR Grand National start. He also led the most laps, 69 of 158, and won by a margin of 1.3-second over teammate Marc Davis, a graduate of the Drive for Diversity program.
Logano becomes the first NASCAR Busch East Series driver to secure a spot in the rich and prestigious postseason NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway Oct. 19-20. All NASCAR Grand National Division race winners this year get an added bonus by gaining a starting spot in the SPEED-televised all star extravaganza. Logano joins Scott Lynch, winner of the NASCAR West Series event at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Tex., Mar. 31, as invitees to the event.
At Phoenix Thursday night, Davis, of Mitchelville, Md., posted a hard fought runner-up finish. While Logano's Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet handled the track to perfection, Davis' runner up finish was equally impressive. His Gibb's Monte Carlo seemed balky at times on an apparently slippery, high speed PIR surface. But Davis, making only his second career NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series start, balanced poise with manhandling his Monte Carlo when necessary, and battled to the runner-up finish. In March, Davis posted a 12th-place finish in his first NASCAR West Series start on a .375-mile short-track in Kyle, Tex. That event was won by Lynch, the 2003 NASCAR West Series champion.
Current Drive for Diversity program participant Jesus Hernandez, 27, of Fresno, Calif., started 16th at Phoenix and finished fifth. Like Logano and Davis, Hernandez is a 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award candidate, and also drove in his first superspeedway race. Hernandez drives for Ginn Racing.
Those three drivers and teams, plus three other eastern teams that raced at Phoenix, have enough time now to tow back east to their race shops, reload, and head to Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., for their NASCAR Busch East Series "home opener." The legendary upstate South Carolina track hosts the series' season opening Greased Lightning 150 on Saturday, April 28.
A fourth NASCAR Busch East Series 2007 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award candidate also made his first NASCAR Grand National Division superspeedway start at Phoenix. Tim Schendel, 27, of Sparta, Wisc., the 2006 NASCAR Elite Division, Midwest Series champion qualified 11th but had problems and finished 31st.
Also leaving disappointed was 2006 NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown champion Matt Kobyluck, 37, of Uncasville, Conn. The NASCAR Busch East Series veteran qualified fourth fastest in the 38-car field, but cut a tire and smacked the wall with a third of the event completed and finished 36th. He's finished as high as third in Phoenix NASCAR Grand National races.
Eric Holmes, 32, of Escalon, Calif., the 2006 NASCAR West Series champion will compete in the NASCAR Busch East in 2007. His Phoenix race was also less than perfect. He posted a solid ninth-place qualifying, but had problems and finished 34th.
The Busch East Series drivers will get their next chance to race with their West Series counterparts Friday, May 18 at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, a classic Midwestern .375-mile banked oval and Sunday, May 20, at the .875-mile Iowa Speedway in Newton, Ia. Both events will be telecast in high definition live on HDNet.
Momentum now carries the NASCAR Busch East Series to Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., for the series' April 28 regular season opening Greased Lightning 150 on the 62-year-old .500-mile South Carolina track. Two-time series champion Mike Olsen, 39, of North Haverhill, N.H., will open defense of his 2006 series championship. Meanwhile youngster Sean Caisse, 21, of Pelham, N.H., who finished second to Olsen in the 2006 championship standings, will try to repeat at Greenville where he scored his first career NASCAR Busch East Series victory last year.
Qualifying for Greenville-Pickens starts at 6 p.m., followed by an autograph session at 7 p.m. The Greased Lightning 150 is scheduled to take the green flag at 8 p.m. For ticket information, call the track at 864/269-0852, or visit the track website at www.greenvillepickens.com.
SPECIAL RACING UPDATE NOTES
* Greenville entry list swells ... Entries for the NASCAR Busch East Series season opening Greased Lightning 150 at Grenville-Pickens Speedway are swelling as of Friday morning, April 20. Three new entries bring the total to 38 for the 30-car, $122,192 event. One of those latest entries, Jonathan Cash, 26, of Oxford, N.C., driver for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, is the final of 12 registered Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award candidates to enter the event.
* Greased Lightning 150 TV ... The Greased Lightning 150 NASCAR Busch East
Series race will be taped by SPEED and premier on the all-motorsports cable television network icon as part of its 90-minute Racing Across America program on Wednesday, May 15, at noon EDT.
* NASCAR will make available Virginia Tech decals for the NASCAR Busch East Series drivers to display on their cars Saturday, April 28 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. The Virginia Tech decals are in memorial to the victims of this week's shootings at the university's Blacksburg, Va. campus.