BUSCH: Charlotte: Round 13 preview

* NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's has 53 entries DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 24, 2005) -- It's back to work for the competitors in the NASCAR Busch Series following the second off-week of the season. The site of Saturday night's race -- Lowe's...

* NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's has 53 entries

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 24, 2005) -- It's back to work for the competitors in the NASCAR Busch Series following the second off-week of the season.

The site of Saturday night's race -- Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. -- is NASCAR's proverbial "backyard," housing a majority of the sport's team shops and driver residences. That makes Lowe's a "home track" for many participants, and is a key reason behind the 53 entries for the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, second only to Daytona's 54.

David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Dodge) is one of those entrants, and returns to this event carrying the highest finish -- eighth -- of the NASCAR Busch Series regulars in the field who also raced one year ago.

And despite his 27th-place finish at Richmond last time out, Stremme is arguably riding the best streak of his young NASCAR Busch Series career, having registered top-10 finishes -- two of those consecutive third-place efforts -- in the three races prior to Richmond.

"Even though we've had some good finishes, we're still not where we want to be," Stremme said. "The team is showing a lot of progress and we get more competitive each week, but we don't plan to settle for top-five finishes. We are definitely focused on that first win."

The 27-year-old native of South Bend, Ind., the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, is also firmly entrenched in eighth place in the series point standings, and has been in the Top 10 for six of the season's 12 race weeks. Not a bad climb considering Stremme started the season in 40th position after an engine failure at Daytona.

"I've matured a lot as a driver and I think that's helping this team run consistently," he said. "We're going to tracks I've been on before and I learn more and more each week. The guys just keep giving me fast racecars and I think we're finally showing what this team is capable of."

NASCAR Busch Series champions throughout the field ... Ten former NASCAR Busch Series champions -- led by reigning titlist Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) -- are entered in Saturday night's race, representing series crowns won in 11 of the last 14 years, and the last five in succession. Others include: Brian Vickers (No. 57 Ore Ida Chevrolet) -- 2003; Greg Biffle (No. 66 Duraflame Ford) -- the defending Busch Pole winner at Charlotte -- '02; Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet) -- '01; Jeff Green (No. 4 GIECO Chevrolet) -- '00; Randy LaJoie (No. 34 Dollar General Chevrolet) -- 1996-97; David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) -- '94; Steve Grissom (No. 49 Advil Ford) -- '93; Joe Nemechek (No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet) -- '92 and Bobby Labonte (No. 19 Hunts Chevrolet) -- '91 are entered as is Mark Martin (No. 9 Pennzoil Ford), the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series wins (47).

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , David Green , Steve Grissom , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , David Stremme , Mark Martin