* New faces in standings hope to duplicate Edwards' 2005 success DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 14, 2006) -- Of the seven drivers attempting a NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup "double" in 2006, five currently occupy places one through six...
* New faces in standings hope to duplicate Edwards' 2005 success
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 14, 2006) -- Of the seven drivers attempting a NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup "double" in 2006, five currently occupy places one through six in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.
Kevin Harvick (No. 33 The Outdoor Channel Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) are first through third while Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) and Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest Ford) are fifth and sixth, respectively following the first four weeks of the season.
One year ago, Edwards used the NASCAR Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to catapult himself to the top of the series standings following his first career win. He also won the following day in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition, making him the first driver to register his first national series victories in the same weekend.
The drivers in seventh through 10th place in this week's standings hope to follow that script this weekend to push themselves further into the upper echelon of the standings:
Seventh-place Jason Leffler (No. 32 ABF U-Pack Chevrolet) has returned to series competition following his 19-race stint in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup last year. Leffler, 30, was a title contender in his last fulltime NASCAR Busch Series season in 2004, and is considered a strong threat this year. He started 32nd and finished 11th last Saturday at Las Vegas.
Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox Ford), eighth this week, finished fourth at Daytona and turned the fastest practice lap two weeks ago in Mexico City. The 24-year-old Wood -- the grandson of the legendary Glen Wood -- is in his second full season in the series.
Jason Keller (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge), currently ninth, is arguably the most underrated driver in the NASCAR Busch Series -- the only driver to reach $9 and $10 million in earnings. He's also on pace to break the all-time series starts mark later this year. Another top-10 championship finish would give Keller -- age 35 -- eight straight seasons in the top 10, tying the series standard.
Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) is 10th in the series standings. He is the top Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in a strong NASCAR Busch Series class and finished second at Daytona to open the season. The 24-year-old Californian is a protege of Harvick, driving for the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion's Kevin Harvick Incorporated organization.