BUSCH: Darlington: Roush Racing preview

Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C., May 6-7, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Dodge Charger 500, Saturday, 7:10 pm (EDT) NASCAR Busch Series: Diamond Hill Plywood 200, Friday, 8:05 pm (EDT) NASCAR Craftsman...

Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C., May 6-7, 2005

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Dodge Charger 500, Saturday, 7:10 pm (EDT)

NASCAR Busch Series: Diamond Hill Plywood 200, Friday, 8:05 pm (EDT)

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Off

Roush Racing Fast Facts

- Carl Edwards currently sits 14th in the overall NEXTEL Cup point standings just 21 points out of 10th. To date, Edwards has accrued one win, two top-five and three top-10 finishes in nine NEXTEL Cup starts this season.

- In the No. 99 Superchips F-150 Edwards claimed the pole for the truck race last fall. Edwards's average starting position at Darlington Raceway is 18.6 while his average finishing position is 11.3.

- The team will use RK-265 this week. This is the same car that Edwards made his NEXTEL Cup debut with at the second Michigan race in 2004. He also raced it at the second California in 2004. This car was unloaded as the backup and raced at the first Bristol race in 2005. This was also the car the No. 99 team used at Indy last year.

- The No. 99 Office Depot Ford will carry a special logo on the TV panel this weekend at Darlington. The winner of Office Depot's "Small Business of NASCAR" promotion will appear on the TV panel with Office Depot. The winners will also be present for the race. A press conference will be held Friday, May 6, at 12:00 noon ET in the Darlington Raceway media center to announce the winner.

- With his sixth top 10 of the season last week (seventh at Talladega), Kurt Busch remains second in points and in the top 10 NEXTEL Cup Series competition for the 44th consecutive race week (since Rockingham 2004), currently the longest streak on the circuit.

- Busch's No. 97 Ford Taurus sports the colors of IRWIN Industrial Tools at Darlington for the fourth time this season. The IRWIN car will run the next two events through the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 21st.

- The IRWIN Industrial Tools Racing team brings chassis #66 to Darlington, a new car.

- Busch has competed in eight races at Darlington, scoring four top-10 finishes (all seventh or better). His best Darlington finish, second, came at this race two years ago.

- Busch has never had a DNF at Darlington, and has led in four of his eight races at NASCAR's original superspeedway. He struggled in his first three career starts, finishing no better than 28th, but has rebounded with finishes of seventh or better in four of his last five starts there.

- Busch won his first NEXTEL Cup pole at Darlington on August 31, 2001, for the Southern 500.

- Busch's best finish at "the track too tough to tame" was 2003's historic battle with Ricky Craven. Craven's .002-second win was the closest margin of victory in the sport since the advent of electronic timing and scoring.

- Matt Kenseth will be running a special paint scheme this weekend in the Darlington Cup race. The No. 17 will be sporting the copper and black colors of Carhartt. This is the first of three races in which the No. 17 will be sporting the Carhartt paint scheme. The other two are Michigan in June and Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.

- Kenseth will be competing in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 in the No. 17 Waste Management Ford on Saturday in the Busch Series. In his ten Busch starts at Darlington, Kenseth has one win, six top-five's and nine top-ten finishes.

- With his 11th-place finish at Talladega, Kenseth gained five positions in the Nextel Cup point standings, moving to the 23rd position.

- Greg Biffle kept his leading streak alive this weekend in Talladega with two laps led. He has now led at least one lap in seven of the nine races run this season.

- Biffle has one win, one pole and two top-five finishes in the Busch Series at Darlington.

- This weekend the No. 16 National Guard Ford will feature a special Sleepy Bear logo on the hood. Sleepy Bear is the official mascot for Travelodge, now in its second year of associate sponsorship with the No. 16 National Guard Ford.

- Mark Martin won the Southern 500 in 1993.

- Martin has 16 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes in 38 races at Darlinton, including a second-place run last fall.

- Martin finished seventh in his first race at Darlington on April 4, 1982.

- Martin has finished in the top 10 in 60 percent of his races at Darlington.

- Martin has eight Busch wins at Darlington.


Mark Martin
Team: No. 6 Viagra® Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-231 (Finished 7th in its only other start this season at Fontana.)

Mark Martin on racing at Darlington: "Darlington is a cool track that I've always liked. I ran second there to Dale Earnhardt twice in '89 and '90 and finally won in '93. Sometime I think that people seem to forget that I won a Southern 500. I've had a lot of success at Darlington and an enormous amount of Busch wins. The place brings back some great memories of some great battles. Actually the win in '93 was four in a row and that was a big deal.

"It's a jagged oval. It's not a smooth radius turn. The wall goes in and out and in an out. Your line is as smooth as anywhere else, but the track's all over the place. You go from touching the apron to touching the wall and you've never even changed directions. It's really narrow and banked a lot. The cars go really fast and the track goes everywhere so it's always a challenge, but after Talladega you can't help but really look forward to that kind of racing again.

"We had a tough finish last week and Darlington could be the perfect place to get back on track. We really need a solid run and we are really looking forward to the next round of tracks we have coming up."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at Darlington: "Darlington is a great race track and I can't wait to get out there. It's one of those tracks with a lot of history and it's a great place to race. We are looking forward to getting Talladega and restrictor plate racing behind us and getting out there at Darlington and hopefully making some noise."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 National Guard Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Chassis: RK- 268 (Same car the team ran at Las Vegas this year.)

Greg Biffle on racing at Darlington: "Racing at Darlington is a lot of fun. It's a unique track and it makes tire management very important. It will be important to make sure the car handles well on old tires because that track wears your tires in a hurry. It's another night race for us, which is always fun for the fans and good for the team because they get an extra day off."

Crew Chief Doug Richert on racing at Darlington: "The car we're taking to Darlington is the one we took to Vegas earlier this year and it is built a lot like the car we won with at Texas. We'll have to work on getting the car to handle well on old tires because the tires go away quickly at Darlington. You can fall off nearly a second within 15 laps. We'll focus on long practice runs when we unload. We've had good runs there in the past and this is definitely a track where I think we can win."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser

Matt Kenseth on racing at Darlington: "We came out with a decent finish at Talladega that boosted us in the points a few spots, and I hope we can continue that forward momentum into Darlington. This is a challenging track, and you can get into trouble here if you're not careful. I'm looking forward to getting back to non-restrictor plate racing, and hopefully we can pull out a good finish in our new Carhartt Ford Taurus."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Darlington: "We managed to come out relatively unscathed from Talladega, which could've been a lot worse for us considering the incidents we got caught up in. Matt's running Saturday and Sunday this weekend at Darlington and hopefully throughout the practice sessions we can figure out our set-up. He's done well in the Busch Series here and even has one win. I'm looking for some good things this weekend for our teams."

Kurt Busch
Team: No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: #66 (Brand new race car)

Kurt Busch on racing at Darlington: "Darlington has always been a good track for me to enjoy the racing surface, just the overall atmosphere at that racetrack. This year starting under the lights is only going to add to that. It's been a great track for me qualifying, but racing it just hasn't produced the types of finishes that we're capable of -- other than our second place in 2003. Darlington gives you a chance to isolate yourself from all the outside circumstances and just to allow yourself to invite your setup to the racetrack and make sure that you race just the racetrack and not the other race cars."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Darlington: "Kurt is really excited about this racetrack, because this is one where you're more worried about the track than what the other 42 guys are doing out there."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-256

Carl Edwards on racing at Darlington: "I'm really excited to race at Darlington. Darlington is one of my favorite tracks and it would mean a lot to win there. There's a lot of history at the track and it's a fun track to drive. We didn't have a great weekend at Talladega so the No. 99 Office Depot team is looking to rebound this week and try to get back into the top-10 in points."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Darlington: "I think we're all just glad to be done with Talladega. We had a pretty rough weekend there so we are looking to Darlington to bounce back. We had a strong run there last year at the Southern 500 and I know Carl really likes the track a lot. I think we have the potential to go in this week and run well. The Office Depot team has been working really hard and we've been having great pit stops so that coupled with Carl's skills should fair well this weekend."


Carl Edwards (Busch Series)
Team: No. 60 Charter Communications Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Brad Parrott
Chassis: #77

Carl Edwards on Busch racing at Darlington: "I'm really glad to go to Darlington. Today (Saturday, April 30) was a terrible day for us as far as performance was concerned, but I'm really proud of our whole team. The Charter crew did a great job. To have that car hit the wall that hard and be in such a massive wreck and then get out of it at the end of the race and look at it. The car looks great. They put it back together. It was fast, as fast as any of those other cars. I am really proud of that. I'm happy that our guys are that good and that adept at fixing and repairing things. It gives me a lot of confidence. They made a good day out of a terrible day. I am really proud of them."

Crew Chief Brad Parrott on Busch racing at Darlington: "Wow! What a wild day at Talladega! We got in the wreck at lap 17 and the guys came back and we put a whole new nose on it. We put a new front left trailing arm underneath the car. Carl said the car was very good after getting it back in there. Unfortunately, it took us a little bit too long to get everything back together. We did a lot of things. The guys did a great job. That was our first wreck together. We'll go back home and reevaluate what we need to do under crash repair to make us faster and see what happens. Hopefully we won't wreck anymore this year. It turned out to be an okay points day. We were all worried about the big one and sure enough it bit us. It's the first race we haven't finished in the top ten. The guys are ready to go to Darlington and see what we can do there."

Matt Kenseth (Busch Series)
Team: No. 17 Waste Management Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ricky Craven , Carl Edwards , Doug Richert , Mark Martin