BUSCH: Bristol: News of note, schedule

* ABC Broadcasts Third Consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Event * Dodge Takes Over Second Place In Manufacturer's Standings * Loop Data: Newman Could Be A Surprise At Bristol 3rd-Straight ABC Broadcast Set The Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol is...

*   ABC Broadcasts Third Consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Event

* Dodge Takes Over Second Place In Manufacturer's Standings
* Loop Data: Newman Could Be A Surprise At Bristol

3rd-Straight ABC Broadcast Set

The Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol is one of six select NASCAR Busch Series races this season that will air on ABC -- the third in succession -- with the other 29 to be televised by ESPN2. Coverage begins with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show at 2:30 p.m. ET, with race coverage starting at 3 p.m.

Rusty Wallace, a nine-time winner at Bristol during his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career, will serve as analyst working alongside two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree in the booth. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer. ...

ESPN's pit reporter team will have a new face at Bristol as Shannon Spake, who has been reporting for ESPN's SportsCenter, NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now this season, joins the telecast team working with Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro as regular pit reporter Allen Bestwick has the weekend off. Brent Musburger will host the telecast and studio analysts Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty will join Musburger in the ESPN Pit Studio. ...

ESPN2 will have live coverage of practice and qualifying at Bristol. Live coverage of Friday's one-hour final practice session will air from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying will be televised live from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Dodge Moves Into Second In Manufacturer Standings

The Bill France Performance Cup standings are getting close after the fifth race of the season.

Dodge made the big move this week taking the second spot by two points, dropping Ford to third.

Chevrolet continues to lead and now has a 38-race streak in first place dating back to last season.

Toyota is still seeking its first-ever series win and is currently in fourth, six points out of third place.

In The Loop: Newman Could Surprise At Bristol

Usually, it's the Matt Kenseths (No. 17 Dish Network Ford) and Kevin Harvicks (No. 33 Bounty Super Duty Shop Towels Chevrolet) whose names you'd expect to see dotted throughout the Loop Data stats whenever the NASCAR Busch Series visits a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway.

Make no mistake, those names are still there, but a name you wouldn't quite expect to see is also there: Ryan Newman (No. 12 Kodak Dodge).

Newman, known more for his wide-open style of racing, does have a win at Bristol (2005). In two races there, he has the highest average Driver Rating (132.7), almost 15 points higher than second-place Harvick (117.9), and the highest Average Running Position of any driver at 5.264. Newman's Speed in Traffic -- which is always prevalent at Bristol -- is second best.

But, not surprisingly, Harvick and Kenseth have also fared very well at Bristol. Along with the second-best Driver Rating, Harvick's Average Running Position of 9.062 is fifth-best and he has the highest number of Quality Passes -- passes of cars in the top 15 while under green flag conditions -- with 64. Harvick won a race at Bristol in 2005. Harvick's Speed in Traffic is sixth-best.

Kenseth, who won the last race held at Bristol, has a Driver Rating of 109.5, which is sixth-best. His Average Running Position is a seventh-best 9.952. Kenseth's Speed in Traffic is eighth-quickest.

Another driver worth watching is Kyle Busch (No. 5 Sta-Green/Lowe's Chevrolet), who has run extremely well over the past two races but had fallen on hard luck in each of them. Busch has some very solid numbers at Bristol. He has the eighth best Driver Rating at Bristol at 105.3 and the second-most Quality Passes of any driver running the race (49).


Dale Earnhardt Jr. is entered in his second NASCAR Busch Series event this season. The two-time series champion and current team owner will be racing against his driver Shane Huffman (No. 88 U.S. Navy Chevrolet). Earnhardt is known for his dominance on superspeedways, but he also excels at Bristol, where he won from the pole in 2004. ... A global gathering in Bristol? With Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge - Colombia), Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford - Australia), and Alex Garcia (No. 98 Dixien/Omni Source Corp. Chevrolet - Venezuela), the NASCAR Busch Series will be an international affair in the mountains of Tennessee this weekend. ... Coeburn, Va., favorite son Danny O'Quinn Jr. (No. 56 McNelly Motorsports Chevrolet), who drove for Roush Fenway Racing last season and won the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award, looks to make his series return for the first time since last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. ... Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 35 McDonald's Ford) is from Nashville, Tenn., and will run in his home state for the first time in series competition since 2004. ... Eric McClure (No. 0 Hefty Brand Chevrolet) is an Abingdon, Va., native, about a 20-minute drive from Bristol Motor Speedway.


The Race: Sharpie Mini 300

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: March 24, 20071
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ABC, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: .533-mile oval

Race Purse: $1,464,894

2006 Winner: Kyle Busch
2006 Pole: None (weather)

Schedule: Fri., March 23 -- Rookie Practice, 12:10-12:50 p.m., Practice, 1:00- 2:00 p.m., Final Practice, 2:20-3:30 p.m.; Sat., March 24 -- Qualifying, 11:10 a.m.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Roush Fenway Racing