BUSCH: Fontana II: Roush Racing preview

Roush Racing readies for Fontana part two, under the lights California Speedway, September 3-5, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Pop Secret 500, 4:30PM, September 5th NASCAR Busch Series: Target House 300, 12:00PM, September 4th Roush Racing...

Roush Racing readies for Fontana part two, under the lights

California Speedway, September 3-5, 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Pop Secret 500, 4:30PM, September 5th
NASCAR Busch Series: Target House 300, 12:00PM, September 4th

Roush Racing Fast Facts

* Mark Martin is 12th in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, 35 points outside of 10th with two races remaining in the 'Race to the Chase.' Martin trailed the top 10 by 123 points just three races ago.

* Martin has posted three top-10 and two top-five finishes in eight starts at California. In addition, Martin has started inside the top 10 in four of the eight races. Martin finished 11th earlier this year at California. Last year Martin was set to record another top-five finish at the track, before being taken out by another car on the last lap and falling to a 17th-place finish. Martin actually finished 10th in the inaugural race at Fontana, despite running out of gas on the race's final lap, while in the lead. Martin came back the next year to win the second ever Cup race at Fontana in 1998.

* Martin will race the reverse paint scheme in each of the last two races until the 'Race for the Chase,' including this week at Fontana and the following week at Richmond. Martin has run the night race scheme in six races this year (counting the All-Star), recording top-10 finishes on four of the six occasions, including a victory at Dover.

* Matt Kenseth finished ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway one week ago. It was his 15th top-10 finish in 2004. Kenseth has now been inside the NASCAR Top-10 for 59 straight weeks*the longest active streak.

* This week, the car will again carry the colors of Smirnoff Ice as the primary sponsor. This marks the fifth of six races with this paint scheme. The only remaining Smirnoff race is the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

* Greg Biffle and the Charter team won the Busch Series race at California in May.

* The National Guard team will be using the same car (RK-239) that won at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 22.

* Kurt Busch posted his fourth consecutive top-10 finish with an eighth-place effort at Bristol last week. He remains sixth in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, 329 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson with two races remaining in the 'Race to the Chase.' Busch needs finishes of 17th or better in Fontana and Richmond to mathematically clinch his spot in the inaugural "Chase for the Championship Cup."

* Busch is running the IRWIN Industrial Tools paint scheme for the 15th of 19 events in 2004.

* Busch won in Fontana in the April event last year, leading 102 laps on the way to his second win of 2003.

* Busch has extra incentive to run well during the Pop Secret 500 to benefit low-income families. For a top-five finish, IRWIN will donate $10,000 in product to the charitable foundation Rebuilding Together, and $20,000 for a win.

Mark Martin
Team: No. 6 Viagra® Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-231 (finished second at Michigan)

Mark Martin on racing at California Speedway: "We are excited about going to California for this race. We've been pretty good on those types of tracks this season, especially over the past couple of months. We ran really well at Michigan two weeks ago and those are similar tracks. Pat and the guys have done such a wonderful job of giving me strong cars and hopefully we'll have another one this weekend.

"We just have to go and try to win the race. As I've said all along, if we can do that then we'll still have a shot at the top 10. We have to just concentrate on getting the best finishes possible over the next two races and if we get in then that's great, and if we don't, then we are going to still go out and try to win every race."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at California Speedway: "We are ready. We are taking RK-231, which is one of our fastest cars and the car that we used a couple of weeks ago at Michigan. It was really fast there and Fontana and Michigan are a lot alike, so hopefully we'll have another strong run this weekend. I'm proud of the guys and the effort that this entire Viagra Team has put in. We are going to pull together another couple of strong runs and get ourselves inside that top 10 after Richmond. Hopefully we can get that started with a win this weekend at California."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 National Guard Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Chassis: RK-239 (won at Michigan on 8/22/04)

Greg Biffle on racing at California Speedway: "I anticipate that both the No. 16 National Guard Ford and the No. 60 Charter car will be good at California this weekend. We're taking the same Cup car we won with at Michigan a couple of weeks ago and we're taking the same Charter car that we won with at California earlier in the season. We also ran good with that car at Michigan. The two tracks are very similar in design and they both have been two of the better tracks for us this season.

"I really like racing at California. There are many different grooves for you to choose from so if your car isn't working in one place you can search around and find something that works. A lot of times you'll run the low groove in one corner and the high groove in the other. It really just depends on what the car wants. There is plenty of side-by-side racing because the track is so wide so the fans usually get a pretty good show out there. There will be added excitement this weekend because we'll be running the Cup race under the lights there for the first time."

Crew Chief Doug Richert on racing at California Speedway: "We're hoping to pick up where we left off the first time we raced there this season. We led some laps and had a good run going but a transmission failure took us out of the race. We're taking the car that we won with at Michigan. The tracks are pretty similar and we run the same tires at both tracks, so we feel pretty confident taking this car to California.

"Our program from an aero-balance standpoint as well as the team as a whole has improved over the season. Going back to these tracks like Michigan, Bristol and this week at California for a second time is definitely a factor. When you know where you want to be setup-wise before you get there, it's a lot easier than trying to figure it out when you unload."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 Smirnoff Ice Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush/Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: MMR-34 (raced at Fontana, Michigan and Indy)

Matt Kenseth on racing at California Speedway: "I have to say I'm glad we're heading to California Speedway this weekend. This track kind of lends itself to our program as we're pretty strong at the 1.5-2 mile tracks on the schedule. We're bringing the same car we finished fourth with earlier this year so I'm pretty confident. I think it's going to be a good race overall for the countdown to the Chase because this race puts more of the success in the driver's hands as opposed to luck, like last week."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at California Speedway: "We've got a lot of confidence in this chassis. We've run up front every time we've used it this year. The two variables I'll have to worry about Sunday are the pit crew and fuel mileage. I'd rather see the outcome in the hands of my guys than a fuel tank, though."

Kurt Busch
Team: No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: #59 (finished ninth at Las Vegas)

Kurt Busch on racing at California Speedway: "I always enjoy heading out to the west coast for races. Earlier this year in our first trip to Fontana we got in the quick dry and I got behind on steering and ended up in the wall, but we were able to win here last year, and finished second the season before that, so it's definitely a welcome trip with only two races left in the 'Race to the Chase.' Hopefully we'll be able to go out and compete and get another solid finish out of the day.

"It will be interesting running here later on in the evening. It's our first fall trip out to this facility and with the lights being on it will be a pretty special event, so I'm really looking forward to it."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at California Speedway: "We just gotta have a good finish this week. Until we're locked into this top-10 deal we are just looking for solid finishes. After that we can go racing, but right now it's all about finishing good in these last two."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Shop Rat Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis Number: RK-265 (raced at Indianapolis and Michigan)

Carl Edwards on racing at California Speedway: "I like California. It's a track where you have to have a good aero package and the right chassis set up to be successful and I think the No. 99 Shop Rat team has both of those things. We've had fast race cars the last two weeks and unfortunately at Bristol I wasn't able to get the finish we deserved or hoped for but I guess that's Bristol for you. I'm looking forward to going to California and running up front like I know we can."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at California Speedway: "California is a nice track. We are taking the same car we took to Indy and Michigan. We feel it's the best car we have for that kind of track.

"Carl has done a great job for us the last two weeks. Unfortunately he got hung up in a wreck Saturday night but that's Bristol. Up to that point he did a great job racing to the front and staying out of trouble. Carl has the drive and determination needed to get good finishes and I think we'll do just that. Through all the chaos this team has done a great job of staying focused and building fast race cars and I'm proud of that. I'm looking forward to going to California and seeing what kind of results we can get."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 60 Charter Communications Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Brad Parrott
Chassis: #80 (won at Fontana in May and finished second at Kentucky)

Greg Biffle on racing at California Speedway: "I anticipate that both the No. 16 National Guard Ford and the No. 60 Charter car will be good at California this weekend. We're taking the same Cup car we won with at Michigan a couple of weeks ago and we're taking the same Charter car that we won with at California earlier in the season. We also ran good with that car at Michigan. The two tracks are very similar in design and they both have been two of the better tracks for us this season.

"I really like racing at California. There are many different grooves for you to choose from so if your car isn't working in one place you can search around and find something that works. A lot of times you'll run the low groove in one corner and the high groove in the other. It really just depends on what the car wants. There is plenty of side-by-side racing because the track is so wide so the fans usually get a pretty good show out there. There will be added excitement this weekend because we'll be running the Cup race under the lights there for the first time."

Crew Chief Brad Parrott on racing at California Speedway: "This will be the first time we've raced at California Speedway twice in a year, and since we won there in May we're definitely looking forward to going back. We had a great handling racecar that day and fuel mileage played to our favor. Historically the races at California are known for being fuel mileage races and we expect the same this weekend. Hopefully everything will go our way and we'll go back to Victory Lane."

-rr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Doug Richert , Mark Martin