* Roush Racing is the team to beat at California Speedway * First top-10 shakeup in three months could happen this weekend NEWS & NOTE California Speedway is "Roush Racing West" ... Following a week at Bristol Motor Speedway where his ...
* Roush Racing is the team to beat at California Speedway
* First top-10 shakeup in three months could happen this weekend
NEWS & NOTE
California Speedway is "Roush Racing West" ... Following a week at Bristol Motor Speedway where his organization swept the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with Mark Martin and the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races with Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ameriquest Ford), Jack Roush can't wait to get to California. Roush Racing has been to Victory Lane after the last five NASCAR Busch Series events -- tying the series record for wins at one track. The team has two drivers -- Kenseth and Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford) -- who are tied in all-time wins there (three). Both are entered in Saturday's event, along with the defending race winner Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest Ford) and Martin (No. 6 Ameriquest Ford). Despite its stellar California record, Roush Racing has yet to capture a Busch Pole there. Martin, who won in 2005, and Biffle who won in February, each started third, the best among Roush drivers. That's probably just as well -- no driver has won from the Busch Pole at California.
A top 10 breakthrough race? ... In addition to Jason Leffler's determination to re-claim a spot in the top 10 for the first time in three months, John Andretti also is poised for a move which could provide a shake-up to the trio of series regulars who have been in the top 10 since early June. Andretti is 12th, just 20 points behind Leffler and 56 behind 10th-place Kenny Wallace. Paul Menard (No. 11 Menards Chevrolet) has kept his hold on sixth place while Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet) has had a nine-week grip on ninth place. Menard, Sauter and Wallace all have been rnaked there since the second Nashville race in June. Other series regulars who have cracked the top 10 this season are Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox Ultimate Care/American Red Cross Ford -- 10 weeks), Burney Lamar (eight weeks), Jason Keller (two weeks) and Mark Green (one week).
Reutimann making strides toward 2007 ... David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge), ranked third in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings, is backing up his promotion to the NASCAR Busch Series for Michael Waltrip Racing next season. Reutimann has competed in nine races this year, the last seven for Waltrip, and has been stellar in six. He's compiled four top-10 finishes, including a ninth-place result at Bristol last Friday. Reutimann also is scheduled to compete for MWR at Richmond International Raceway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I enjoy the Busch races and this gives me a head start for next season," he said. "We knew at the beginning of the season that I was going to run some Busch races for Michael, but we didn't know how many ... then Michael announced that I was going to drive his car in the Busch Series next season. That opened some doors."
Open-wheel feel at California ... Paul Tracy (No. 34 Sport Clips/American Crew Chevrolet), the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, will attempt to make his sixth NASCAR Busch Series start of the year at California. If he qualifies for the event, it will mark his first NASCAR start on a 2-mile track. He was 36th at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway last March. Fellow Champ Car alumnus P.J. Jones, who has run three NASCAR Busch Series races this season, also is entered. Jones, a native of Torrance, Calif., will drive the No. 43 Washington Mutual Dodge for Mike Curb.
IN THE LOOP: Martin hardly one-and-done at California ... Mark Martin has competed in only one NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway, winning the February 2005 event. But he was so dominant that NASCAR's Loop Data statistics point to the veteran as the driver to beat Saturday. Even while using the last three races as the benchmark, Martin is first in nine major categories. He has a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 and is also Fastest Early (178.977 mph) and Late in a Run (175.259 mph). He's the overall Fastest Driver by Turn Number, averaging 177.233 mph around the four turns at the 2-mile track. Not surprisingly, he is first in Speed in Traffic (175.934 mph) and Fastest Green Flag Speed (177.093 mph), while also topping the Fastest on Restarts listing at 174.915 mph.
Former champ Ingram back in the game ... Jack Ingram, the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series champion, is back in the series in an advisory capacity for the remainder of this season. Ingram and Johnny Davis Motorsports announced that the former series champion will consult and mentor Kertus Davis (No. 0 RACEGIRL Chevrolet) and next year, will serve as operations manager for the Jack Ingram/JD Motorsports organization scheduled to be located in Ingram's current late model shop in Asheville, N.C. Ingram has been at the track often this season assisting in the promotion of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series with sponsor Anheuser-Busch. "This is a good thing," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications. "I knew he (Ingram) couldn't stand being out of action."
BILL FRANCE PERFORMANCE CUP UPDATE
Matt Kenseth brought Ford its first win in four NASCAR Busch Series races last Friday at Bristol, giving the manufacturer some momentum and a bit of breathing room in the Bill France Performance Cup standings heading to California. The win was Ford's sixth of the year and opened up a 12-point lead over Dodge in the manufacturer rankings. Chevrolet continues to lead with 16 wins and 194 points. Ford remains second, with 156 points and Dodge is third with 144 points. Ford has won the last six races at California and is in prime position to post consecutive wins for the first time since the 2005 May races at Darlington Raceway and Richmond.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Matt Kenseth leads all drivers at California in top fives (six), top 10s (eight) and races led (seven). His start Saturday night will move him into second all-time with 11 starts at the track. ... Greg Biffle has led the most laps at California Speedway (352) while Carl Edwards has the best average finish (third) of drivers who have competed in three or more races there.
David Ragan will replace Raybestos Rookie Danny O'Quinn Jr. in the No. 50 FreeCreditReport.com Ford at California. Ragan competes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Roush Racing. "My decision to put David in the car in California is not a reflection on Danny O'Quinn's performance," Jack Roush said. "I have a great group of young drivers in our developmental programs that I am simply evaluating and giving the opportunity to get some seat time in the different series. Danny will be back in the car in Richmond." ... Another Roush rookie driver, Todd Kluever (No. 06 3M Ford), will pull double duty this weekend as he's entered in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. Kluever is scheduled to take over the No. 6 Ford for Mark Martin next season. ... Stanton Barrett, a native of Bishop, Calif., will replace Tim Sauter at California in the No. 36 Lester Buildings Chevrolet. Sauter was involved in an accident at Bristol and will take the week off. He's scheduled to be back at Richmond. ... Carlos Contreras (No. 12 Supercuts Dodge) is back in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend. The native of Mexico City, Mexico has run two series races at California, finishing 26th in 2003 and 33rd in this event last year. Contreras has competed in three series races in 2006, with a best finish of 11th at Mexico City.
"I really thought we were going to get the win at Michigan, but the team owner beat me to it." -- Robby Gordon on his close third-place finish to JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"With Robbie (Reiser) on the Cup side and Jimmy (Fennig) on the Busch side, I have two of the best crew chiefs in the business and it makes going to the track a lot of fun." -- Matt Kenseth.
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Jack Roush is going for a record-setting sixth consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victory at California Speedway, where a win would break a tie with Teresa Earnhardt of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for successive wins by a team owner. Dale Earnhardt set the mark for DEI with five consecutive wins at Daytona from 1990-94. The previous record for consecutive wins at a particular speedway was three, shared by three different owners: Howard Thomas and that season's series champion Sam Ard at Martinsville Speedway in 1983, team owner Dick Moroso and his son Rob, the 1989 series champion, at Lowe's Motor Speedway from 1988-89, and Ed Whitaker and his driver Harry Gant at Richmond during the 1991-92 seasons.
ON DECK: RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
It's tough enough running against Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Busch Series this season and it will be even tougher when the series leader returns to Richmond next Friday night. He won that race a year ago, and also captured the spring event in May, bringing his series total to three wins overall at the .75-mile track. Mark Martin, the all-time series leader in wins (47) and Busch Poles (29) also is the top winner at Richmond (five). His pole came in his first there.