BUSCH: Indianapolis: News of Note

NEWS OF NOTE * "Write" on, Ricky... Ricky Hendrick (No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet), who served as a spokesperson for an essay contest entitled,"The Most Important Educator of My Life," will honor several Indianapolis area scholarship...


* "Write" on, Ricky... Ricky Hendrick (No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet), who served as a spokesperson for an essay contest entitled,"The Most Important Educator of My Life," will honor several Indianapolis area scholarship essay winners this weekend. The contest was held in schools throughout central Indiana for students in grades 1-12. A total of 54 students in three different divisions -elementary, middle school and high school - were awarded United States Savings Bonds valued from $100 to $1,000. Winners from each group - Matthew Donoho, Emma Miller and Chris Wenrick - were chosen to attend Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series event at IRP. Hendrick will meet and present each student with a $1,000 bond. "I never knew I would be involved in so many important things when I decided to be a race car driver," Hendrick said. "GMAC is very involved in the community and they have asked me to help. I learn something with each new group I meet and it has been very rewarding."

* TV timeout... According to Nielsen Media Research, the NASCAR Busch Series race held July 20 at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis attracted 888,000 viewers for the Saturday evening telecast on TNT. That weekend, the race outdrew the Trans-Am race on CBS (643,000); NHRA Drag Racing on ESPN2 (456,000); the IRL on ESPN2 (386,000) in a head-to-head match-up; and Formula One (284,000), according to the figures released by Nielsen Media Research.

* Etc... Hank Parker Jr. (No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge), who earned his first win of the season last week at Pikes Peak, became the 13th different race winner through 21 events this season. Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford) also earned his first pole of the season last week, making him the 11th different Bud Pole Award winner... Parker Jr.'s win also was a career first in the NASCAR Busch Series for Dodge, which joined the series this season... Thirty drivers have recorded at least one top-five finish this season... Mark Green's (No. 38 Great Clips Ford) first career start came at IRP in 1995. He finished 18t... . Last week's NASCAR Busch Series event at Pikes Peak International Raceway drew a crowd of 40,000, the largest to witness any type of race at the venue.


* Randy LaJoie (No. 7 Kleenex/Nortel Networks Chevrolet) is the only driver in the 20-year history of this event to own multiple poles and victories. LaJoie won from the pole in 1996 and' 97, making him the only multiple pole winner in this event and one of only three multiple winners. He also is the career leader in laps led at IRP with 313.

* Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford) is another multiple winner of this event and enters with a run of three consecutive top-five performances at IRP. Keller, whose win in 1995 was his first in the NASCAR Busch Series, started his current streak with a victory in' 99 and fifth-place finishes in 2000 and last season. He also ranks third all-time in laps led at IRP with 181.

* Ron Hornaday's (No. 26 Dr. Pepper Chevrolet) last career victory came at IRP. Hornaday, whose first career win came at Nazareth in 2000, went on to also win that same season at IRP.

* Chevrolet has won the last 10 races at IRP, and 11 of the 20 overall.


* "I always look forward to racing at IRP. It's the site of my first Busch Series win, so it will always be a special track to me. Whenever I head to Indianapolis, I have a little extra confidence. I know that I can win, but more importantly this team knows how to manage the one-day show to get the most out of the practices and be fully prepared for qualifying and the race." - Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford).

* "I guess that's my little piece of history right there. I hope that's not the only thing I'm remembered for when my racing career is over, but I guess it's nice to be remembered for anything It's very cool to be associated with Dodge. They have an awesome racecar, and I'm glad to be driving one. I hope I'm not only the first guy to win in a Dodge in the Busch Series, but also the second, the third and the fourth. My teammate, Casey Mears, he can be the fifth." - Hank Parker Jr. (No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge) on getting the first NASCAR Busch Series win for Dodge last week at Pikes Peak.

* "This track is a lot like the short tracks that we grew up on. It's a little bit bigger than what we're used to on the Saturday night weekly racing events, but with these cars it makes you feel like you're on a quarter-mile in a late model." - Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Civil Air Patrol Chevrolet).


* In 1982, Morgan Shepherd won the inaugural Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park in an Oldsmobile for car owner Ed Whitaker. Shepherd would also win the event in 1984 and' 88 to become the all-time NASCAR Busch Series victory leader at this venue with three.


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Drivers Jason Keller , Hank Parker Jr. , Casey Mears , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ricky Hendrick , Mark Green , Morgan Shepherd , Ashton Lewis