BUSCH: RFR Chicagoland, Kentucky preview

Chicagoland Speedway, July 13-15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: USG Sheetrock 400 Sunday July 15 2:30 PM Eastern on TNT/MRN NASCAR Busch Series: USG Durock 300 Saturday July 14 2:30 PM Eastern -ABC/MRN Kentucky Speedway, July 14 NASCAR...

Chicagoland Speedway, July 13-15

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: USG Sheetrock 400
Sunday July 15
2:30 PM Eastern on TNT/MRN

NASCAR Busch Series: USG Durock 300
Saturday July 14
2:30 PM Eastern -ABC/MRN

Kentucky Speedway, July 14

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Built Ford Tough 225
Saturday July 14
7:30 PM Eastern - SPEED/MRN

ARCA RE/MAX Series: WLWT Ch 5 150
Friday July 13
8:00 PM Eastern - SPEED

Roush Fenway Racing Fast Facts

* David Ragan has never competed in a NASCAR Series event at Chicago.

* Ragan competed at Chicagoland Speedway in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2005. He started second and finished second.

* Ragan is currently 23rd in the NEXTEL Cup Championship point standings.

* Ragan is currently second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Race. He trails Juan Pablo Montoya by 12 points.

* Ragan's best finish at an intermediate track came at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he finished 33rd.


* Greg Biffle last season picked up nine positions in the final 25 laps for an 11th place finish at Chicagoland.

* Biffle has one top five and two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Busch Series at Chicagoland Speedway.

* Biffle finished sixth last week at Daytona and currently sits 16th in the point standings, 204 points out of the top 12.

* This weekend Biffle will run a black, blue and white Aflac paint scheme with the Aflac duck on the hood.


* Matt Kenseth will make start number 275 of his NEXTEL Cup career on Sunday in the USG Sheetrock 400. Kenseth's first start came at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 20, 1998, where he filled in for Bill Elliott in the No. 94 Ford and drove to a sixth-place finish.

* Kenseth is the all-time lap leader in the NEXTEL Cup Series at Chicagoland Speedway, leading 292 laps in six races.

* Kenseth has dominated the past two races at Chicago leading a combined 288 laps of a possible 537, or 53%. However, the finishes haven't reflected that dominance. In 2005, Kenseth took four tires on the final stop where many teams took two and ran out of time, finishing a close second. Last year, Kenseth was spun out while leading the race with only four laps to go, then ran out of fuel and had to settle for 22nd.

* Kenseth has completed all but one lap in six races at Chicago and is tops among laps completed with 1604, (tied with Kevin Harvick).

* According to NASCAR's "loop data," Kenseth leads all Cup drivers in the following categories at Chicago:
o Average Running Position of 3.4
o Driver Rating of 130.0
o 28 Fastest Laps Run
o Fastest Green Flag Speed
o 529 Laps in the Top 15

* Kenseth's No. 17 Ford Fusion will carry the USG Sheetrock colors this weekend in the USG Sheetrock 400. It marks the second of three times this season Kenseth will pilot the USG Sheetrock Ford; the first was at Martinsville in April where he finished 10th, and the last will be at Texas in November.


* Last weekend, Jamie McMurray posted his second career NEXTEL Cup victory at the famed Daytona International Speedway. This marked his third top five and seventh top-10 finish of the season.

* In four starts at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, McMurray has produced one top-10 finish.

* McMurray averages a 25.5 starting position and improves to 20.5 in average finish at Chicagoland Speedway.

* With his victory last weekend, McMurray improved his position in the NEXTEL Cup point standings one position to 13th, and is currently only 49 points out of the "Chase.

* In four starts at Chicagoland Speedway, McMurray has completed 99.8% of the laps run - or 1,069 of 1,071 laps.


* Carl Edwards will make his third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Chicagoland Speedway

* The No. 99 Office Depot team will be unloading RK-272 this weekend at Chicago. This is the same car Edwards raced to victory at Michigan in June of this year

* After 18 races, Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team are currently sixth in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with 2308 points, 465 points out of first place.

* WIN Carl's Laptop to help celebrate the launch of its new television commercial titled Carl's Laptop, Office Depot is running a promotion for fans to have the opportunity to actually win a new laptop from Carl Edwards. For a chance to win a new TOSHIBA Satellite Notebook computer loaded with the latest technology and autographed by Carl Edwards, fans can simply log on to www.officedepotracing.com to register.

* Office Depot Store No. 381 from Norfolk, Va. is this week's sales winner and will ride along on the No. 99 at Chicagoland this weekend

Sunday July 15

David Ragan
Team: No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: RK-201 Previously ran at Michigan June 2007, finished 21st; Charlotte Nextel Open 2007, finished 22nd;
     RK-405 Previously ran at Texas Motor Speedway, finished 35th after being involved in a wreck

Ragan on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We had a good weekend in Daytona so hopefully some of that momentum will carry over into this weekend. I don 't have much experience at Chicagoland.. I ran an ARCA RE/MAX Series race here a couple of years ago, but other than that this weekend will be a learning experience. We will have AAA Insurance on the car this weekend so that is pretty cool. Hopefully we will be able to put on a good show for all the AAA employees and fans that will be watching."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We are headed to Chicago this weekend. David does not have a lot of experience at the track, but he has shown a lot of improvement and a lot of talent on the mile and a half tracks. The car that we are taking has been to a lot of the mile and a half tracks on the NASCAR circuit over the past couple of years. David raced this car at Michigan, Charlotte in the Nextel Open, Texas back in April and at Atlanta. David and the team as a whole are doing a good job. We have identified a few areas that we need to work on more than others, but as a whole we have a real good group of guys and the team is growing and getting stronger every week."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Aflac Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Chassis: RK-431 Michigan '07 started 14th and finished 38th

Biffle on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Chicagoland is very fast and relatively flat, which makes it challenging. It requires a lot of throttle and brake control and those types of tracks are the most fun for a driver. We're taking the car that we raced at Michigan a few weeks ago and if we don't have anything out of the ordinary go wrong, it should be a good race for us this weekend."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We're taking the same car we raced earlier this year at Michigan. We had a mechanical failure in that race but I think we would have easily had a top-10 finish if that had not happened. We had a good run last weekend at Daytona and if we can capitalize on that momentum, I know this team is capable of top-10 finishes every weekend. Making the Chase at this point is a long shot but it's not completely out of reach."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 USG Sheetrock/DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-323 Last outing: Michigan, Jun. '07, finished 42nd after a lap-75 wreck. Also: Led most laps at Chicago in Jul. '06 before finishing 22nd. Won Michigan, Aug. '06; Won Fontana, Feb. '06
     RK-317 Last outing: Pocono, Jun. '07, finished ninth. Also: Scored four top fives in '07 including a win in Fontana, Feb. '07

Kenseth on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Chicago's a great track and one I really enjoy racing at. It's wide and fast, real smooth and now that the pavement has aged, you're starting to see a wider groove.

"We've had a car capable of winning the past two years but for one reason or another, that just hasn't happened. Some might think that it's really frustrating, and it is, but I also think we should be proud that we've had a car capable of putting us in position to win.

"We're taking the same car we raced there last year. It was really fast then and hopefully it will be this time around. It's a big race weekend for me, with my home town not too far away (Cambridge, WI), and it's a big race weekend for our sponsor USG Sheetrock. They've sponsored this race the past two years and we've come pretty close to getting them a win both times in the USG car. Hopefully we can do a little bit better this year."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We've been real close the past couple of years to winning at Chicago. We've had good cars and Matt's done a good job both times, but we just haven't been able to finish it. I think the whole team will go up there this time with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, but we've got to be sure to treat it like any other race. This sport has a lot to do about keeping an even keel so we can't be too focused on trying to get redemption, we just have to go out there and do our jobs, which has always been this team's strength.

"The car we're taking is the same car than ran here last year. It's one of Matt's favorites. It got beat up pretty good here last year as we took the checkered flag and then it got banged up again the last time it raced in Michigan. But, you're supposed to be able to rebuild these cars, and I think we've done a great job on this one. It should be ready this weekend and we know how much Matt likes it, so hopefully that will translate into good things on Sunday. "

Jamie McMurray
Team: No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: RK-450 Last raced at Michigan June '07 and finished eighth
     RK-403 Tested at Las Vegas March '07

McMurray on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Chicago hasn't always been the best track for me. I ran well there back in 2003, but since then, I haven't been able to produce a strong finish. Last year at Chicago, we had a pretty bad weekend altogether. However, this year, we have a whole different team and a whole set of new cars. The car we are taking this weekend is the same car that we ran eighth with at Michigan a few weeks ago. It's a really strong car and should handle well at Chicago.

"I like racing at Chicago, it's one of the more unique tracks that we visit each year. The backstretch is a big curve and the track is really wide there. I expect we will see much of the same type of racing that we saw in Texas earlier this year. I'm excited because Roush's intermediate program has been pretty good this year. Carl (Edwards) won at Michigan, Matt (Kenseth) won at Fontana; so it gives us good feeling heading into Chicago this weekend.

"You know, I'm still really excited after winning last weekend in Daytona. This week is going to be really busy, but it's worth every bit of it. It makes me happy to see how excited the guys at the shop are and how much they are looking forward to getting back out there. Last weekend's win was so much more than a win for this team. Each of those guys deserved it."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"It's business as usual, but I have to say all of the crew guys and the guys back at the shop are still feeling the high from last weekend's win. It's such a shot in the arm for the entire team. This weekend we are racing chassis 450, which only has one other start at Michigan a few weeks ago. We didn't have a strong qualifying effort in that race, but were able to race our way up through the field and finish eighth. The setup for Chicago is close to the same - the corners are slightly different, but for the most part it's a wide track. We made a pretty big gain last weekend in the points and right now we just need to keep that momentum and get ourselves in a stronger position inside the top 12."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-272; Edwards raced this car to victory at Michigan in June of 2007

Edwards on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"I am excited to race Chicago. We are coming off of an awesome race at Daytona, where we got a great finish, helped a teammate win and gained some points. I think we have the potential to do really well this weekend. We are bringing the Michigan car, which is an amazing car and helped us get a win for Office Depot a few weeks ago. Even though, I haven't had the best finishes in the past at Chicago, I feel confident that we'll do great this weekend."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the 1.5-mile tracks. Carl runs really well at those types of tracks so we are certainly hoping to have a strong finish and make gains in the point standings. Tracks like Chicago, Fontana and Kansas seem like cookie cutter type tracks but actually they all have their own unique characteristics so running at Chicago should make for some great racing."

NASCAR Busch Series
Saturday July 14

David Ragan
Team: No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Mike Kelley
Chassis: RK-378 Last ran at Kentucky, Jun. '07, finished eighth. Ran at Nashville, Jun. '07, finished seventh. Ran at Texas, Apr. '07, finished fifth

Ragan on racing in the NBS at Chicagoland Speedway:
"I am still very disappointed in our finish at Daytona last weekend. We have dug ourselves a hole that is going to be hard to get out of. But I am extremely excited to get back on the track at Chicago. I had a second place finish in the ARCA/REMAX series at the track, so I hoping that experience will help me this weekend. Chicago is a wonderful town with a great sports tradition. It is only fitting to make our weekend on the track a memorable one. I will do whatever it takes to put us in position to contend at the end of the race. If we are patient and race within ourselves, everything else should fall into place."

Crew Chief Mike Kelley on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We are bringing the same car that ran at Texas, Nashville and Kentucky. We had top 10 finishes in all of those races. The track is similar to Texas, which bodes well for our team. I know our car can compete with any car on the track on any given day. We are not where we want to be in the point standings at this point in the season, but with a great effort I am sure we can get back in contention. The key for the Discount Tire team is to put last weekend out of our minds and move forward. We cannot bring that race back and nor should we. I believe in our team and I know we have what it takes to get a win at Chicago. We have a great sponsor and tremendous resources. It is on us to prove we can bounce back with a great run on Saturday afternoon."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Eddie Pardue
Chassis: RK-347 Biffle ran this car at Lowe's in May, finishing 21st and Texas in April, finishing 36th

Biffle on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"I have high expectations for the race in Chicago this weekend. This car was capable of winning the two races we ran it in earlier this year, but bad luck bit us in both races. We were running well in Texas when we lost a motor, and we were actually leading at Lowe's when we got a flat tire. This team deserves a good finish. The guys have given me great cars every week and our pit stops have been amazing. I gain spots on nearly every stop, but it seems like every week something goes wrong that is out of our control. I'm hoping this weekend we'll get the finish we deserve."

Eddie Pardue on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Every time Greg (Biffle) is in this car we have a shot to win. Unfortunately luck has not been on our side, but the cool thing is that every week we start with a clean slate. We're looking forward to racing at Chicago this weekend. We've got a really good car so with a little luck this could be our weekend to finally make it to victory lane."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 Arby's Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer
Chassis: RK- 360 Last ran Charlotte and finished seventh

Kenseth on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Chicago is a lot of fun. It is very similar to Vegas and Kansas, but each track is unique in it's own way. Chicago is a fast track and has a decent amount of banking. We have had some good cars in the past, but haven't quite earned the finish we should have at Chicago in both the Busch and Cup cars. Hopefully we can change that luck around this weekend."

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"Saturday should be an interesting race. Chicago is a fast track with multiple grooves which should make for a good race. Once again we are heading to the track with RK-360. It's the same car we won with in California, but haven't had the same luck with lately. Everyone has worked hard getting ready for this race so hopefully we can get 360 back up to the front where it belongs."

Todd Kluever
Team: No. 26 Dish Network/Weather Channel Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Chad Norris
Chassis: RK-349 This car ran at Darlington, as the #16 in May, finishing 38th

Kluever on racing in the NBS at Chicagoland Speedway
"I've only raced at Chicago twice, but it holds a special place in my heart. I made my first Nextel Cup start there last year so that will always be pretty cool. It's a nice track and it's the type of track I really enjoy racing on. I like the high-banked intermediate tracks. The car we're taking is the same car I raced at Darlington which was great in practice, but we had a flat tire in qualifying which put us the back of the field to start the race and set us up to get caught-up in a wreck pretty early. This is a great car and I've been wanting to race it for the last few weeks, so hopefully we can get a good finish with it at Chicago."

Chad Norris on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We are looking forward to having Todd back in the Dish Network Ford this weekend. We had a pretty good run last time with him and we are just looking to build on that and hopefully get the Weather Channel Ford into victory lane."

Carl Edwards
Team: No. 60 Sharp Aquos/3M Vikuiti Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Pierre Kuettel (P.K.)
Chassis: RK- 427 last ran at Kentucky; finished 33rd

Edwards on racing in the NBS at Chicagoland Speedway:
"I think it's awesome that we are headed to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. It's close to home and I will have several friends and family there. It's a fast 1.5-mile track, just like I like them. I don't have a lot of experience there, but our team has had two great Busch runs there. We are bringing our car that we dominated with at Kentucky and Chicago is a very similar track. Our Sharp Aquos/3m Vikuiti team is looking forward to Chicagoland and our goal is to get back into victory lane."

Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel on racing at Chicagoland Speedway:
"We are excited about taking the Sharp Aquos Ford Fusion to a 1.5-mile fast track like Chicagoland. Our goal is to finish one higher than last year. We just came up short last year with a second place finish. Chicago is close to home for Carl, so that give this team even more incentive to bring home a good finish."

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Saturday July 14

Travis Kvapil
Team: No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: RK-319-43, last raced at Michigan where Kvapil won from the pole

Kvapil on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"Kentucky is one of the places that we go that really has a great crowd. The track works really hard at making a very friendly environment for the fans and competitors alike. It's a great place with high speeds and lots of action. It's a mile-and-a-half track, but it's not a cookie-cutter like Atlanta and Texas, it's very unique. I think the fans will be in for a great race on Saturday night."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"Kentucky is a pretty fast racetrack with multiple grooves. It's a big race for everyone at Ford Motor Company, so we'll have a little pressure on us to perform for them. We've been on a good run over the last several weeks, things seem to be clicking for the K&N team. We feel good about continuing our streak of good finishes this weekend in Kentucky."

Peter Shepherd
Team: No. 50 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Chassis: RK-225-33, last raced at Texas where T.J. Bell started ninth and finished 23rd

Shepherd on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"I've never raced at Kentucky, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Everyone seems to really like racing there. Getting to race in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Friday night should help our effort on Saturday night. We had a great race at Memphis last week, and we'd love to get another good finish at Kentucky."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"Peter's never raced at Kentucky before, but having him in both the truck and ARCA car this weekend will be great. Kentucky is a driver's track, it's got multiple grooves. We'll do what we can to get Peter acclimated to the track as quickly as possible then see what we can do on Saturday night."

Erik Darnell
Team: No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: John Quinn
Chassis: RK-303-41, last raced at Michigan where Darnell started 25th and finished 26th

Darnell on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"I've raced here quite a few times, and I really like this place. It's fast and wide, and there are definitely two grooves. We managed to win here a few months ago in the ARCA car, so hopefully that experience will help us out this weekend. Kentucky is one of my favorite places to race, so I am really looking forward to Saturday night."

Crew Chief John Quinn on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"We ran well at Kentucky last year in a truck that wasn't really where it needed to be. We're bringing a much better truck this time around, and we think we've got a shot at competing for the win. Erik won here in the ARCA car earlier this year, so he knows what it takes to get around here. We'll be expecting to run up front on Saturday night."

Friday July 13

Peter Shepard
Team: No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jeff Campey
Chassis: RK-237, last raced at Kentucky where Erik Darnell started fifth and won

Shepard on racing in the ARCA/REMAX Series at Kentucky Speedway:
"I've never raced at Kentucky, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Everyone seems to really like racing there. I'm really happy to be running in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Friday night. The pressure is on me since Erik Darnell was able to win the race here earlier this year. We had a good test a few weeks ago, hopefully we'll be able to take what we learned there and apply it to the race on Friday night."

Crew Chief Jeff Campey on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"We tested here with Peter a few weeks ago and we were pretty happy with how he performed. We won at Kentucky with Erik Darnell earlier in the season, so we'll be looking to compete for the sweep. Peter's going to be pulling double duty this weekend, running both the ARCA and the Craftsman Truck Series races. Hopefully that helps him to get comfortable running here so we can race for the win on Friday night."

-credit: rfr

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Roush Fenway Racing