* Playing for position: Close points races dot the top-15 slots in the rankings * David Green heads to Cape Canaveral for up-close view of shuttle launch NEWS & NOTES McFarland out, Truex in No. 88 Chevrolet ... Mark McFarland, who drives...
* Playing for position: Close points races dot the top-15 slots in the rankings
* David Green heads to Cape Canaveral for up-close view of shuttle launch
NEWS & NOTES
McFarland out, Truex in No. 88 Chevrolet ... Mark McFarland, who drives the No. 88 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports and is one of this season's top Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates, will miss his first race since he began the sport as a boy in go-karts, due to an injury suffered last week at Milwaukee in the late stages of the race. McFarland will be replaced by two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion and last year's race winner Martin Truex Jr., putting the team in a strange situation of racing to beat the boss. Earnhardt is entered in the event as well.
Following a seven-car incident on Lap 248 last Saturday night, McFarland was further evaluated this week and the decision was made to keep him out of the car. "Mark's well-being is our primary concern," said Steve Crisp, director of motorsports for JR Motorsports. "We will follow the doctor's directives to give Mark the necessary time to heal properly. Our relationship with the Navy is very important to us and we wanted to give them the best while Mark recuperates. Martin is a two-time champion in the series and the defending series champion -- that's as good as you can get."
Races within races throughout series standings ... Kevin Harvick continues to hold a solid lead (344 points) over second-place Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, but Hamlin is fighting off the third and fourth-place drivers. Carl Edwards (No. 60 Henkel Ford) is 34 points behind Hamlin, while Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) is 64 points out of second. Kenny Wallace's (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) rise into the top 10 in the last two weeks is shaky at best; now in ninth, he has a three-point lead over 10th-place Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet). There's also a battle in places 11-15, where only 35 points separate five drivers. Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet) is in 11th with 1,739 points, followed closely by Jon Wood (No. 47 Armor All Ford) who trails by 28; John Andretti (No. 10 FreedomRoads/Camping World RVs.com Ford), who's only 29 behind; Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet), a surprising second-place finisher at Daytona in Feburary and the current rookie leader, who is also 29 points back, and Ashton Lewis Jr., who's 15th and 35 points behind Leffler. Green heads to the Cape for shuttle launch ... David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion, points to that title as one of his greatest lifetime memories. But he's looking forward to another on Saturday when he and his family travel to Cape Canaveral to view the scheduled launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. "Having visited the facility a few years ago, I have a new respect and admiration for all of the men and women working for NASA and especially those involved in the Space Shuttle program," said Green. "This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for my family and me." Green's wife, Diane, daughter Kaylie and son Austin will also be on hand for the 3:49 p.m. launch.
IN THE LOOP: Harvick in position for rebound ... When his bid to win last week at Milwaukee ended with a flat-spotted tire with three laps to go, NASCAR Busch Series points leader Kevin Harvick was relegated to 19th place, his worst finish of the season and worst since a 24th-place at Charlotte last October. But NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics show that his last three races at Daytona could provide a rebound. In that span, he has two second-place finishes and one fifth, pushing him into the top five among drivers in the Driver Rating (102.5) and Average Running Position (9.512) categories. He is also strong when making his way to the front of the pack and into clean air. In the last three Daytona races, Harvick has 351 Quality Passes, an average of 117 per race which ranks him third among all drivers. Former series champion Steve Grissom has been one of the top Closers over the last three Daytona events, gaining 14 positions.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Among drivers entered in the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the most series wins at Daytona (four). ... Kevin Harvick has the most top-five Daytona finishes (seven), while Kenny Wallace (eight) has the most top 10s. ... Michael Waltrip has led the most races (nine) and is the leading active driver in the event in Busch Poles (three). ... Earnhardt Jr. has led the most laps (371) while Harvick (3.8) has the best average finish throughout his eight career races.
ETC. The Winn-Dixie 250 marks the halfway point of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season. ... Milwaukee was the 750th race in the series since 1982. ... Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford) had a sixth-place finish at Milwaukee, his best since a runner-up finish at Pikes Peak in 2004. ... Chevrolet won its second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series race with a first-time race winner when Paul Menard picked up the victory at The Milwaukee Mile last Saturday. Menard's win followed David Gilliland's first career victory one week earlier at Kentucky. The first four Milwaukee finishers were Chevrolet drivers, helping to extend the manufacturer's lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings, now 29 points over second-place Ford. Chevrolet has 12 wins to Ford's three victories and 101 points. Dodge is third with two wins and 92 points in the rankings. Chevrolet has the most wins at Daytona with 19. ... Menard's victory at Milwaukee marked the fourth time this season a driver had registered his first series win. ... Steve Grissom (No. 49 Advil/Speed Zone Energy Drink Ford), the 1993 NASCAR Busch Series champion, is back at Daytona, his first series race since the season-opener in February. Also Kevin Hamlin, who drove in 14 series races last season for Biagi Bros. Racing, is back in the No. 4 GEICO Dodge this weekend, his first series event since last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin is replacing Auggie Vidovich for this race only. ... Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) returns to the series after taking last week off to concentrate on his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series duties at Infineon. David Stremme substituted for Sorenson and finished 26th at Milwaukee. ... Open-wheel aces Paul Tracy (No. 34 Sport Clips/American Crew Chevrolet) and P.J. Jones (NO. 43 Diversified Partners Dodge) are entered in this event. Tracy finished 24th at Daytona to open this season, while Jones will be making his first series appearance since November 2002 at Phoenix. ... Martin Truex Jr. is within $25,000 of $6 million in career series winnings.
"It's hard to believe we are halfway through already. I'm glad that the team has worked together to turn this program around and get us back into the top 10 in points and I'm excited for what we can do coming into the second half of the season. I've never finished out of the top 10 [in points] in the Busch Series in my career. My pride is on the line every week. That's a stat I don't want to be broken." -- Kenny Wallace.
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Although Daytona International Speedway was the scene of the first NASCAR Busch Series race during Feburary of 1982, the series did not hold a summer event at the track until 20 years later, in July 2002. Florida native Joe Nemechek, the 1991 NASCAR Busch Series champion lived up to his moniker of "Front Row Joe" and won from the pole. He also led the most laps in picking up his 12th career series win by a margin of only .190 second over Greg Biffle, who would go on to win the series title that season. That miniscule margin is the "largest" in the previous four NASCAR Busch Series summer races at Daytona.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" QUOTABLES
"... the best feeling I've ever had racing is coming down that pit road after you take the checkered flag at Daytona. There's nothing in the world like that." -- Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion and winner from the pole at Daytona in 1975 during the series' Late Model Sportsman Division days.
Note: A NASCAR Busch Series "25 Seasons Running" Media Kit CD is available at-track each race weekend and also on-line at nascarmedia.com. A CD can also be obtained by contacting NASCAR PR.
ON DECK: CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY
NASCAR Busch Series points leader Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the USG Durock 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, the race marking the halfway portion of the 2006 season. Ryan Newman won the Busch Pole last season and is the only driver to have captured multiple poles in the five-year history of the event. Harvick was the fifth different race winner last season.
What: Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo (Race No. 18 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
When: 8 p.m. ET, Fri., June 30.
Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval.
Race Length: 250 miles/100 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,519,269.
TV: FX, 7:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
2005 Polesitter: Kevin Harvick.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 2,647. 2. Denny Hamlin 2,303. 3. Carl Edwards 2,269. 4. Clint Bowyer 2,239. 5. J.J. Yeley 2,195. 6. Paul Menard 2,115. 7. Kyle Busch 2,039. 8. Greg Biffle 2,035. 9. Kenny Wallace 1,861. 10. Johnny Sauter 1,858.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thur., June 29 -- Practice, 2:15-3:20 p.m.; Rookie Practice, 3:20-3:50 p.m.; Final Practice, 5:10-5:50 p.m. Fri., June 30 -- Qualifying 1:05 p.m. (Impound).