BUSCH: Fontana: News of note, schedule

* Hispanic students to visit Labonte Motorsports, California * Chevrolet still leading Bill France Performance Cup battle NEWS & NOTES Coast Guard, Labonte Racing and California Speedway to host Hispanic students Nearly 150 Hispanic college...

* Hispanic students to visit Labonte Motorsports, California
* Chevrolet still leading Bill France Performance Cup battle


Coast Guard, Labonte Racing and California Speedway to host Hispanic students

Nearly 150 Hispanic college and high school engineering students will get an up-close and personal look at the NASCAR Busch Series at California Speedway this week. On Thursday, 20 students from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities member institutions will meet with members of Justin Labonte's No. 44 U.S. Coast Guard Dodge team, to discuss their roles in getting their car on the track. The students will be treated to a tour of the NASCAR Busch Series garage, where they will observe the inspection process. Friday, 120 high school students from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Corp.'s "Viva Technology" program will be in the stands for NASCAR Busch Series qualifying. They will also get a chance to talk with representatives from the Coast Guard, the track and NASCAR. Recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce is a primary goal of the Coast Guard. The team is running the Spanish translation of Coast Guard, "Guarda Costas," on the car's left quarter panel during its 15 races this season. Chevrolet builds on lead in manufacturers standings

Chevrolet has built a fairly comfortable lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings for manufacturers in the NASCAR Busch Series. Chevrolet has five wins and 61 points following Martin Truex Jr.'s (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet) win April 24 at Talladega Superspeedway, to 44 points and two wins for Ford. Dodge is in third place with 36 points and one win, with Pontiac in fourth, with 35 points and no wins so far this year. The standings are determined by a scoring system in which the highest-finishing manufacturer receives nine points, the second-highest gets six, third-highest receives four and fourth-highest receives three.


Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Bayer Ford) has three NASCAR Busch Series wins at California, while no other driver has ever had a repeat trip to Victory Lane at the track. Kenseth's wins came in 1999, 2000 and '03. Kenseth's five top-five finishes are also the most of any other competitor.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marines Corps Ford) has the best average start at California. In four races, his average starting spot is 6.5, with one Busch Pole in April 2001. His worst start in that span is 12th, 2003.

Jason Keller (No. 22 Miller High Life Ford) and Randy LaJoie (No. 82 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet) are the only two drivers who have been running at the end of all seven NASCAR Busch Series races at California.

Robert Pressley (No. 47 Clorox/Wisk Ford) qualified for the Busch Pole at California in July 1998, during his first tenure with ST Motorsports. Pressley rejoined the team for the start of the 2004 campaign.

Kevin Harvick holds the NASCAR Busch Series qualifying record at California, with a speed of 183.941 mph set during time trials in April 2003.


"I really like the race track. It doesn't have as much banking as Michigan, but it widens out just as Michigan does once you get a few laps into the race. You usually have two and sometimes three-groove racing, which is a dream for a race car driver. You want options when you come up on somebody, and at California, you have that. That's why I really look forward to running out there." -- Johnny Benson (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge), who won a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race at California Speedway.

"California is a special place for this race team. It was the very first place that we ever ran the Biagi Bros. race team car a couple of years ago. With Biagi Bros. having warehouses and facilities right in that area where a lot of their customers are, it's really important for us to run well there, just for self pride of the team and for our ownership group. Most everyone involved with our team from an ownership position is based out of California." -- Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO/Sport Clips Ford), who is slated to make his 200th NASCAR Busch Series start at California. Although the Biagi Bros. Racing team is located in Concord, N.C., its corporate headquarters are in Napa, Calif. The company has a warehouse complex in Ontario, Calif., close to California Speedway.

"I remember one year when I was about nine or 10, I got a brand-new RC-10-T-2 [remote control car]. As soon as I got it put together, I went out and beat my older brother in a race with it. That was pretty cool." -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet), on his favorite birthday present. Busch will turn 19 on May 2, the day after the NASCAR Busch Series race at California.


No NASCAR Busch Series race has ever been won from the Busch Pole at California Speedway. The best starting spot of any winner at the two-mile facility is second. Dale Earnhardt Jr. started from the outside of the front row before going to victory Lane in 1998, while Matt Kenseth started second and finished first in 1999.

Fast Facts

What: Stater Bros. 300 presented by Gatorade (Race No. 9 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: California Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
When: 4 p.m. (ET), Saturday, May 1, 2004.

Track layout: 2-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 300 miles/150 laps.

TV: Fox, 4 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Top 10 in points: 1. Michael Waltrip 1,180. 2. David Green 1,163. 3. Martin Truex Jr. 1,153. 4. Kyle Busch 1,137. 5. Robby Gordon 1,118. 6. Jason Keller 1,051. 7. Johnny Sauter 988. 8. Bobby Hamilton Jr. 961. 9. Ron Hornaday 954. 10. Jason Leffler 937.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday -- Practice, 8:30-10:45 a.m.; Qualifying, 1 p.m.; Final Practice, following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying.


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Mike Wallace , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Green , Justin Labonte , Johnny Sauter , Martin Truex Jr. , Kyle Busch