BUSCH: Indy IRP: News of note, schedule

Championship race remains back and forth ST Motorsports to field second team NEWS & NOTES * Riggs atop point standings - again ... The race for the NASCAR Busch Series championship remains one of the closest in years. After a third-place...

Championship race remains back and forth
ST Motorsports to field second team


* Riggs atop point standings - again ... The race for the NASCAR Busch Series championship remains one of the closest in years. After a third-place finish at Pikes Peak, Scott Riggs (No. 10 Nestle Nesquik Ford) took the point lead from David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac), but only by two points. Jason Keller (No. 57 Albertsons Ford) and Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) are on Riggs' heels, only 50 points back. Brian Vickers' (No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet) streak of seven top-10 finishes was halted with a DNF at Pikes Peak, but he remains only 124 points behind Riggs. Sitting quietly in sixth is Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford), 81 points behind Vickers. Said Hamilton, "I still feel like with Harold Holly as my crew chief and all my guys working hard we will continue to qualify up front, lead laps and win races. We can still win this championship."

* ST Motorsports to field two teams in 2004 ... ST Motorsports announced this week that Clorox has signed to sponsor a second team in 2004 with Robert Pressley at the wheel. Pressley, who has driven in three of NASCAR's national series, finished third in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings in 1991 and has 10 NASCAR Busch Series wins on his resume. Pressley also finished second in the 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year balloting. He's currently competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and has posted five top 10's in nine starts. ST Motorsports currently fields the No. 59 Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevrolet driven by Stacy Compton.

* Green re-signs with Brewco Motorsports ... Brewco Motorsports re-signed David Green, the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion, for the 2004 season. "This is the best opportunity I've had in my career on and off the track to win the NASCAR Busch Series championship. My goal is to give Brewco their first NASCAR Busch Series championship in 2003 and try to repeat in 2004." The team also announced that sponsor Swedish Match North America, the parent company of Timber Wolf, had re-signed for the 2004 season.

* Busch ready to return to IRP ... Kyle Busch (No. 87 Ditech.com Chevrolet) hopes his experience at IRP will pay off and he can improve on his second-place finish in his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Busch made his NASCAR debut at IRP in 2001 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and finished ninth. Last year, Busch finished 10th at the track in an American Speed Association race. The team also spent two days in July testing at IRP. "The NASCAR Busch Series guys have a lot more experience than I have right now," said Busch. "Even though we've already run one NASCAR Busch Series race at Charlotte that was a speedway. Now we're going to a short track and hopefully we can back up our first performance and run really well." Busch is scheduled to compete in five additional NASCAR Busch Series races in 2003: Darlington, Dover, Memphis, Atlanta and North Carolina.

* TrimSpa Dream Team Challenge ... TrimSpa is uniting the NASCAR Busch Series garage in a rather unique way -- a weight loss challenge. Ten teams and Motor Racing Outreach have signed up to compete in the challenge, which rewards the team that has lost the most weight. The initial weigh-in was at Pikes Peak and there will be five more weigh-ins throughout the remainder of the season. At each weigh-in, the team that has lost the most weight will win $1,000 and the team that loses the most weight throughout the season will be awarded $5,000 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


* Mike Skinner is scheduled to return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend driving the No. 7 Kleenex Chevrolet. It will be Skinner's first start in the series since Sept. 22, 2001 (Dover). He is also scheduled to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night and the NASCAR Winston Cup race on Sunday. ... Kasey Kahne (No. 38 Great Clips/Hairy Nak Ford) is very familiar with IRP, having competed in last year's NASCAR Busch Series race there. In 2000 and 2001, he ran in the "Night before the 500" USAC midget race and won the USAC Silver Crown event at the track in 2001. Kahne will also stay busy while he's in Indianapolis, competing at Anderson Speedway in the USAC National Midgets on Wednesday night, participating in the Ford Festival autograph session Thursday at the RCA Dome and then heading to IRP for the USAC Silver Crown race. ... Mike Bliss' (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) first career NASCAR Busch Series top 10 came at IRP in 1998. ... Joey Clanton (No. 27 TrimSpa Pontiac) collected the first top-10 finish of his career, a fifth-place at Pikes Peak. Clanton has been the highest-finishing Raybestos rookie in three of the last four NASCAR Busch Series races. ... Five-time NASCAR Busch Series race winner and current NASCAR Winston Cup driver Elliott Sadler will join Allen Bestwick and Benny Parsons in the booth Saturday night as a color analyst on TNT.


Ø Jason Keller has five top-five finishes at IRP, including four in as many years. Last year, Keller finished second to 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion Greg Biffle. His first career NASCAR Busch Series win came at the track in 1995. His most recent win at IRP was in 1999, where he also sat on the pole.

Ø Ron Hornaday's only short-track NASCAR Busch Series victory came at IRP in 2000.


* "The grandstands will be packed with my family and friends. There are going to be a ton of people there supporting me in this race." -- David Stremme, on returning to the track that is closest to his hometown of South Bend, Ind.

* "I like racing at IRP. I have a lot of laps there because I've raced [USAC] silver crown, sprints and midgets there. I finished well there last year, so I'm looking forward to racing there again. IRP is definitely its own track. You drive IRP different than any other track we race on. It's just a fun track, and I can't wait to get out there again." -- Kasey Kahne.

* "We know we're capable of winning again this weekend at IRP and that's our next focus - back to back wins." -- Scott Wimmer (No. 23 Stacker2 Chevrolet), the NASCAR Busch Series winner at Pikes Peak.

* "I hope I don't go out there in the NASCAR Busch Series like I did in my bowling career where I started out with a 200 and fell down to 100. I hope I do better than that." -- Kyle Busch, on whether or not he has any added pressure after finishing second in his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series.


Morgan Shepherd, who continues to compete in all three of NASCAR's national series, went to Victory Lane in the first NASCAR Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1982. Shepherd has won three times at the track - the most of any driver.


What: Kroger 200 presented by Tom Raper RV's; Race 22 of 34 in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Where: Indianapolis Raceway Park; Clermont, Ind.
When: 8 p.m. (ET); Saturday, Aug. 2.

Track layout: .686 -- paved mile.
Race length: 200 laps/137.2 miles.

TV: TNT, 8 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Saturday -- Practice, Noon -- 2 p.m.; Qualifying, 3:35 p.m.


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Drivers Jason Keller , Mike Skinner , Greg Biffle , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Robert Pressley , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Green , Scott Riggs , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Morgan Shepherd , Brian Vickers , David Stremme , Joey Clanton , Elliott Sadler , Kyle Busch