BUSCH: Daytona II: News of note, schedule

* JR Motorsports Salutes Navy SEALs During July 4 Week NBS ETC. Reutimann, Almirola Featured At Tuesday's Media Day In Orlando: Central Florida natives David Reutimann and Aric Almirola (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet -- Tampa) will ...

* JR Motorsports Salutes Navy SEALs During July 4 Week


Reutimann, Almirola Featured At Tuesday's Media Day In Orlando: Central Florida natives David Reutimann and Aric Almirola (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet -- Tampa) will participate in a media event for the Winn Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo on Tuesday, July 3 at the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk in Orlando. The event will begin at noon and include a fan forum at the ESPN Club. Reutimann and Almirola -- who was declared the winner of the race two weeks ago at The Milwaukee Mile after being replaced by Denny Hamlin who took the car to Victory Lane -- will be joined by Max Papis, who is competing in the Rolex Series Brumos Porsche 250 on Thursday. Contact Andrew Booth at abooth@daytonainternationalspeedway.com for further information.

Harvick Inches Closer: His first win at New Hampshire last Saturday moved reigning series champion Kevin Harvick closer to claiming the second spot on the all-time wins list. With his 28th career victory now secured -- and his return to Daytona, where he won in February -- Harvick is three wins behind Jack Ingram, who is second with 31 wins. Mark Martin is the all-time leader with 47.

10-Spot: Biffle's Career A Study In The Standings: Although Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford), the 2002 series champion, hasn't run a full time season in the NASCAR Busch Series since 2004 -- when he became the first true double-duty driver to compete full-time in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series -- he's been a constant in the top 10. In the four seasons Biffle has competed in 27 or more races, he's finished in the top 10 in the final standings. Perhaps more impressive is over the last season and a half, Biffle has competed in 23 races and has either finished in, or is ranked among, the top 10 in the standings. Last year he ran 14 races and finished ninth. Heading to Daytona, he's participated in nine races and stands in ninth place as he splits seat time between Roush Fenway Racing (sharing with Todd Kluever) and Brewco Motorsports.

Kerry Earnhardt Entered In Friday's Race: For only the second time since the inception of the summer NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona, Dale Earnahrdt Jr. isn't entered. The leading winner with victories in 2003 and again last July, Earnhardt also deferred entry in that first summer race, won by Lakeland, Fla., native Joe Nemechek. The Earnhardts will be represented at Daytona in the NASCAR Busch Series race as older brother Kerry Earnhardt will attempt to qualify the No. 63 Spraker Racing Chevrolet. Kerry Earnhardt has competed in three previous July races at Daytona, most recently in 2005.

Huffman Honors Navy SEALs: During a week when Americans celebrate the independence of the United States, Shane Huffman and the JR Motorsports No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet team will honor a group that defends that freedom across the world every day. Huffman's car will feature a special black paint scheme with the SEAL Trident on the hood in honor and recognition of the Navy's maritime Special Forces, the Navy SEALs, in Friday's race.

The Director's Take: Daytona


"Because of the size of Daytona, aerodynamics will play perhaps the biggest factor in the race.

"The teams will make their car bodies as slick as possible to reduce the drag which makes the cars run faster on Daytona's long straightaways and high banks.

"Our series uses a unique wicker package on superspeedways. There's a roof strip that runs across the top of the roof and a forward facing wicker bill that is added to the top spoiler. These two items help the cars race better in the draft.

"The teams work as hard as they can to lower the back of the car to take the rear spoiler out of the air to reduce the drag. Because of this, NASCAR regulates and controls the rear springs and shocks that the teams use. Before qualifying, as the cars roll through inspection, the springs and shocks are randomly issued to the teams.

"We do this to help control the competitive playing field at restrictor plate tracks."

Rookie Spotlight: Can Ragan Duplicate February 500 Feat In Summer NBS Race At Daytona

* Role Reversal: David Ragan (No. 6 Discount Tire Ford) started his season in dismal fashion with a 43rd- place finish in the season-opening event at Daytona. But his Speedweeks ended on an up note with his surprising fifth-place finish in the Daytona 500. Ragan, one of five full-time double-duty drivers in both the NASCAR Busch Series and in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has improved immensely over the past 16 NASCAR Busch Series races. He's fourth in the points (after rising to a career-best third following the June 23 race at Milwaukee) and also leads the rookie rankings. He was 15th in Driver Rating (63.6) and 18th in Average Running Position (24.705) following the first nine races of the season. In the last eight events, Ragan has improved to seventh in both categories -- a Driver Rating of 73.9 and Average Running Position of 19.678, both second-best among NASCAR Busch Series rookies behind Juan Pablo Montoya.

* Bires Continues Stout Runs: In his substitute role for Jon Wood, Kelly Bires (No. 47 Armor All Ford) has continued to provide his Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team with solid performances. In his first four NASCAR Busch Series starts, Bires has an average finish of 19th and has been running at the finish of each of those events. He had a career-best seventh-place finish at Nashville last month -- the best result for the No. 47 Ford since Wood's sixth-place at Nashville in April 2006. Bires also led five laps at Kentucky Speedway, the most laps lead for the No. 47 since Robert Pressley led 13 laps at Dover in 2004.

ESPN2 will carry the Winn Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo Friday night from Daytona as the series starts the second half of the 2007 season with a 250-mile race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday; the race starts at 8 p.m. "The Deuce" will have live coverage of qualifying as well as the series' final practice session. Practice coverage will air at 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday, with the live qualifying show at 1 p.m. Friday. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2's coverage of practice and qualifying, joined in the booth by analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will contribute to the telecasts.

Allen Bestwick will host the qualifying show, joined in the ESPN Pit Studio by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.

Bestwick kicks off Friday's coverage as host of NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio with Daugherty's assistance; Brewer will report from the Cutaway Car. Wallace will work in the booth as analyst for the race telecast with Petree while Punch will handle play-by-play. Burns, Little, Massaro and Spake will work pit road.

Manufacturer Leader Chevrolet Brings Season, Track Winning Streak To Daytona

Chevrolet's winning cycle seems to have started up again.

Kevin Harvick's win at New Hampshire last Saturday was the second in succession for Chevy and helped pad its first-place standing over Ford by 14 points in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. Dodge remains in third place while Toyota is in fourth -- but brings a strong contingent to Daytona this weekend and is a serious challenger for its first series win.

Chevrolet has been on streaks of four and two wins since the start of the year, when Harvick won at Daytona. The manufacturer currently has a two-race victory string intact at Daytona's summer race with the thrilling last-lap win by Mike Wallace in a Ford in 2004. Wallace returns for Saturday's race in the No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet.

Up Next: USG Durock 300 At Chicagoland Speedway

Like last week's race at New Hampshire, next Saturday's USG Durock 300 at Chicagoland Speedway has yet to produce a repeat winner.

Additionally, four of the previous six winners claimed their first career NASCAR Busch Series victory at the 1.5-mile track, including defending winner Casey Mears. Jimmie Johnson (2001), Johnny Sauter ('02) and Justin Labonte ('04) also claimed their first series win at Chicagoland.

Ryan Newman holds the series mark with two Busch Poles at the track. Series points leader Carl Edwards won the pole for this event one year ago.

Chevrolet has three wins at Chicagoland and Dodge is also a multiple winner at the track with two victories. Ford has one win thanks to Bobby Hamilton Jr. in 2003.


The Race: Winn Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo

The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: July 6, 20071

The Time: 8:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval

Race Purse: $1,552,701

2006 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2006 Pole: J.J. Yeley

Schedule: Thur.: 2:30-3:30 p.m. -- Practice; 3:50-4:20 p.m. -- Rookie Practice; 5:30-6:25 -- Final Practice. Fri.: 1:05 p.m. -- Qualifying (Impound).

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Ryan Newman , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Robert Pressley , Casey Mears , Max Papis , Jimmie Johnson , Jon Wood , Kerry Earnhardt , Justin Labonte , Tim Brewer , Johnny Sauter , Andy Petree , J.J. Yeley , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola , Kelly Bires , Shane Huffman , Jamie Little , Mark Martin
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Trident , JR Motorsports