BUSCH: Indy IRP: News of note, schedule

Kenny Wallace, Fedewa close in on 300th series starts Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates debuts in NASCAR Busch Series Ford wins third straight in Bill France Performance Cup race NEWS & NOTES, PART II * Kenny Wallace, Fedewa aim for...

Kenny Wallace, Fedewa close in on 300th series starts
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates debuts in NASCAR Busch Series
Ford wins third straight in Bill France Performance Cup race


* Kenny Wallace, Fedewa aim for 300th starts ... Two NASCAR Busch Series drivers will be looking forward to their 300th career starts in the series Saturday night at IRP. Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Hot Tamales Chevrolet) and Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevrolet) can join a select list that currently consists of just eight drivers who have reached the 300-start plateau in the 22-year history of the series. Wallace began his NASCAR Busch Series career Sept. 24, 1988 at Martinsville (finishing 11th) while Fedewa made his first series start March 28, 1992 at Darlington (36th). "Three-hundred races are quite a few, and I'm happy that I've been able to run that many," Fedewa said of the milestone. "But right now, we've got a chance to really solidify our place in the Top 10 from here to the end of the season." Fedewa leads 11th-place Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) by one point. Wallace, who has finished in the NASCAR Busch Series Top 10 six times, has nine career wins to go along with 10 Busch Poles, 58 top-five and 137 top-10 finishes in 15 years of series competition. Fedewa has finished in the Top 10 four times, owns four wins, four Busch Poles, 25 top fives and 66 top-10 finishes in his 13-year series career.

* Sorenson debuts Ganassi Racing NASCAR Busch Series entry ... Eighteen-year-old Reed Sorenson will drive the No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge at IRP in the first NASCAR Busch Series competition for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Sorenson, the youngest driver to win the ASA Rookie of the Year title at age 17 last year, will also be making his series debut and is scheduled to run three more events in an eight-race schedule for Ganassi. Veteran NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Brian Pattie will lead the team. Sorenson is also scheduled to compete at Atlanta, Darlington and the season finale at Homestead while teammates Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray, who compete fulltime in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will handle driving duties at California and Charlotte and Michigan and Phoenix, respectively.

* Ford's third straight win produces gains in manufacturers standings ... Greg Biffle's win at Pikes Peak in the No. 60 B.A.S.S./Charter Communications entry inched Ford closer to Chevrolet in the Bill France Performance Cup standings for manufacturers in the NASCAR Busch Series. Ford has won three consecutive races and has been in Victory Lane in three of the last four NASCAR Busch Series events. Chevrolet has 12 wins and 158 points while Ford now has seven wins and 131 points. Dodge is in third with 97 points and two victories.

* Hornaday's hot streak ... Ron Hornaday Jr. comes to IRP third in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings and has been on a tear of late. Hornaday, who won at IRP in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2000 and also owns a win at the venue in 1997 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - in between his two championship seasons in that series in 1996 and '98 - has three top-five and six top-10 finishes in his last seven races. He finished 11th last week at Pikes Peak. Included in that seven-race string was his first win of the season at Milwaukee.

* Stremme back home in Indiana ... David Stremme (No. 32 TrimSpa X32 Dodge) welcomes the opportunity to run at IRP. The 27-year old is a native of South Bend, and could use a push from the"hometown" crowd - IRP is 130 miles from South Bend. Stremme, the 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, is currently 18th in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings, but comes off a seventh-place finish at Pikes Peak, his best finish in his last four outings. He was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race last year with a 17th-place finish in his first NASCAR Busch Series start at IRP. Both his mother and father were racers in the Midwest.


Six former winners at IRP are entered for this year's Kroger 200 - Jason Keller, Greg Biffle, Ron Hornaday, Steve Grissom (No. 24 GIC Chevrolet), Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO Ford) and Michael Waltrip (No. 99 State Fair Corn Dogs Chevrolet). ... Keller's two wins at IRP are tied with Randy LaJoie for second-most behind Morgan Shepherd's three. ... Keller leads all drivers at IRP with an average finish of 7.6. ... His six top-five finishes at IRP lead all active drivers as do his eight top 10s.


As of the July 28 deadline, 58 entries had been listed for the Kroger 200. ... Jason Leffler has registered top-three finishes in his last two races, gaining three positions in the standings in the process. He is currently fourth. ... Greg Biffle jumped from No. 7 to No. 5 in the standings with his win at Pikes Peak, his fourth victory of the season. The win knotted him with points leader Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Long John Silvers Chevrolet) for the series lead in victories. Biffle is the only NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular to run in every NASCAR Busch Series race this year. ... IRP will be the third "one-day" show of the season; cars will be impounded following qualifying on Saturday. ... David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) has eight career wins in the NASCAR Busch Series; five have come on short tracks. ... Thirteen of the top-20 drivers in the standings are less than 50 points behind the next position ahead of them.


* "I have had this race circled on my schedule since we left last year. I always say my favorite tracks are the ones I win at, so IRP is my favorite track this week". - Ron Hornaday.

* "I'm really looking forward to IRP this weekend. I've had success there, and I can't wait to get back. I'm hoping that I can at least lead as many laps as I did last year and also get the pole again. This year, though, I want to finish first." - Shane Hmiel.

* "Our race each year at IRP is always special. With the trucks also running IRP and the NEXTEL Cup at the Brickyard, it's a race fan's dream weekend." - Ashton Lewis Jr.


Last year's race at Indianapolis Raceway Park is considered by many to be among the most exciting NASCAR Busch Series races ever run in its history. A crowd of over 28,000 saw Shane Hmiel take the green flag from the pole followed closely by Brian Vickers, who started third. Hmiel dominated the first half of the race, leading the first 107 laps. Vickers went to the front for the first time on Lap 108 with Ron Hornaday, Jr. taking the lead from Laps 112 - 116. It was a Hmiel-Vickers show for the rest of the event, however, as Vickers took over the lead on Lap 116. The crowd was on its collective feet for the rest of the race as the 23-year-old Hmiel and the 19-year-old Vickers put on a battle which would have been difficult for even the most seasoned of veterans to wage. They raced door-to-door, leaning and bumping on each other when necessary. Although Hmiel led the most laps, Vickers, driving the Hendrick Motorsports GMAC-sponsored Chevrolet, came home the winner to score his first career NASCAR Busch Series win. The victory was the first of three in 2003 for Vickers, who went on the clinch the season's NASCAR Busch Series championship.


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Drivers Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Casey Mears , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jamie McMurray , David Green , Shane Hmiel , Steve Grissom , Martin Truex Jr. , Morgan Shepherd , Brian Vickers , Chip Ganassi , David Stremme , Ashton Lewis , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates , John Long
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Hendrick Motorsports