Martin among those returning to site of first NASCAR Busch Series win NEWS & NOTES Atwood has extra confidence heading to Dover ... Casey Atwood (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is perhaps a bit more excited about his chances heading...
Martin among those returning to site of first NASCAR Busch Series win
NEWS & NOTES
Atwood has extra confidence heading to Dover ... Casey Atwood (No. 14 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is perhaps a bit more excited about his chances heading into Saturday's race at Dover. Atwood, who won his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Dover in the fall 1999 event, comes off a second-place finish at Richmond two weeks ago -- a result that could have easily shown him as the winner instead of Robby Gordon (No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet). Gordon took the lead with 15 laps to go when Martin Truex Jr. pushed into Atwood, allowing Gordon the room to pass underneath both drivers for the lead. Atwood posted his best showing for FitzBradshaw Racing, and led 83 of the final 98 laps. "I'm happy we ran the way we did [at Richmond]," Atwood said. "I'm disappointed because we didn't win. We had the car to beat. It was just so good to have a run like that. It's a great confidence builder, especially coming here where I've won before."
Regan Smith to step in for Biffle at Memphis ... Regan Smith, who has run on a limited basis in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, has agreed to practice and qualify -- and drive if scheduling conflicts arise -- the No. 60 Charter Communication Ford for Greg Biffle in the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park Oct. 23. Biffle will be unable to attend NASCAR Busch Series practice and qualifying on Oct. 22 due to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series scheduling conflicts preparing his No. 16 National Guard Ford for the Subway 400 at Martinsville on Oct. 24. Biffle, the only fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver also running a full schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series, enters Saturday's race at Dover fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings. The 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion won the June race at Dover and also has a victory in the 2002 spring race at the Monster Mile. Smith substituted for Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips Dodge) earlier this season at Nazareth where he qualified on the outside pole after only six laps of practice.
Mike Wallace gets some help from his friends ... Mike Wallace and the crew of the No. 4 GEICO Ford will get some friendly assistance at Dover this weekend. Crew chief Tony Lambert is being forced to stay home following nasal surgery, but Todd Parrott has offered to lend a hand. Parrott, crew chief for Elliott Sadler and the No. 38 M&M's Ford in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will be atop the pit box for Wallace. Another member of Sadler's crew will assist the No. 4 team during practice and qualifying. "With Tony not being at the race track, three of our regular crew guys -- Blair Betts, Bob Meese and John Lach -- will be acting as co-crew chiefs this weekend and Todd will come on Saturday and be on top of the pit box," Wallace said. "He is one of the best in the business at calling races, so we couldn't be in better hands." Parrott, Sadler and the No. 38 team are one of the 10 teams involved in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup; Round 2 of "The Chase" will be run at Dover on Sunday.
Chevy's lead doubled in manufacturers' standings ... Chevrolet's win two weeks ago at Richmond -- Robby Gordon's first in the NASCAR Busch Series -- doubled its lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings over second-place Ford. Chevy has accumulated 16 wins and 198 points heading into Dover while Ford has eight wins and 162 points. Dodge is third, with two wins and 121 points. Chevrolet has won 18 of the last 22 NASCAR Busch Series races at Dover. Greg Biffle won in June, giving Ford the edge at the track this season.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Nine drivers who have won at Dover, including three who have won the fall race -- Robert Pressley (No. 46 Clorox/Wisk Ford), Morgan Shepherd (No. 71 MacDonald Motorsports Chevrolet) and Michael Waltrip (No. 99 State Fair Corn Dogs Chevrolet) -- are entered for Saturday's event. ... Mike McLaughlin (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is tied for third all-time in top-10 finishes at Dover (10); Mark Martin (No. 9 Cottman Transmissions Ford), Jason Keller (No. 22 Nestle Toll House Ford) and David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) are tied for fifth all-time at Dover with five top-five finishes in their careers. ... Greg Biffle, the winner this spring at Dover, is second all-time in average finishes at the track (7.3).
Despite his fifth-place finish at Dover this spring, Kyle Busch will drive the car in which 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers won at the track last fall. ... Steve Plattenberger will take over as crew chief for the No. 12 Supercuts/Hot Tamales Chevrolet team and driver Tim Fedewa for the remainder of the season starting at Dover. Plattenberger comes to FitzBradshaw Racing after serving as crew chief for Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford Bush's Baked Beans Chevrolet) in 2003. ... Jason Leffler has a victory at Dover, winning last spring in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. ... Jason Keller's current streak of 228 consecutive NASCAR Busch Series races started began at Dover in the fall 1997 race; the next top-10 finish for Keller will mark the 150th of his career (he has nine at Dover). ... Kerry Earnhardt (No. 29 ESGR Chevrolet) joins in the five-race salute to America's supportive employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists at Dover. Others who have driven the Richard Childress Racing entry in the NASCAR Busch Series this season are Bobby Labonte (11th at Texas), Tony Stewart (second at California) and Ricky Craven (11th at Chicago). Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet) is scheduled to carry the sponsorship in the fifth and final race at Homestead Nov. 20.
"It has been [15 races] since we've gone to Victory Lane; what better place to break a winless streak than at your home track." -- Martin Truex Jr. "It's real easy to love Dover when your car is right. It's real easy to hate it when your car isn't right. We had it hooked up in 1992 when we won both of the races there." -- Robert Pressley (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford).
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Dover International Speedway seems to favor first-time NASCAR Busch Series winners. Mark Martin, the series' most successful driver, scored the first of his 45 NASCAR Busch Series wins in Dover's 1987 spring race. Rick Mast also won for the first time at Dover in the1987 fall event. Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip got his first career NASCAR Busch Series win at Dover in 1988.
Ricky Rudd's sole series victory came at Dover in 1983 and Joe Ruttman's only NASCAR Busch Series win was at the venue in 1982. Popular Ken Schrader got his first NASCAR Busch Series checkered flag at Dover in 1989 while series Mike "Magic Shoes" McLaughlin scored his first career win in Dover's 1995 spring race.
Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine (the series leader with three wins at Dover), Mike Wallace, Scott Wimmer and Bobby Hillin also tasted victory for the first time at Dover International Speedway NASCAR Busch Series events. In all, 13 NASCAR Busch Series drivers have scored their first career series win at Dover.
What: Stacker 2 Hundred presented by YJ Stinger (Race No. 27 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del.
When: 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25.
Track layout: 1-mile concrete oval.
Race length: 200 miles/200 laps.
Posted awards: $1,001,251.
TV: TNT, 1 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.