BUSCH: Indy IRP: Round 23 preview

History -- past and present -- abounds at Indianapolis Raceway Park DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 2, 2005) -- Indianapolis Raceway Park sits some fifteen minutes west of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But IRP is a storied track in its own right, one...

History -- past and present -- abounds at Indianapolis Raceway Park

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 2, 2005) -- Indianapolis Raceway Park sits some fifteen minutes west of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But IRP is a storied track in its own right, one with NASCAR history tied directly to it.

The NASCAR Busch Series has raced at IRP since the series' inception in 1982. The exciting racing each year on the .686-mile oval surrounded by packed grandstands was a precursor to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series arrival at the "big track" in 1994.

IRP hosts the NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200 this Saturday night, the 24th consecutive season that the track -- and the race sponsor -- has welcomed the series to central Indiana.

History shows names such as Morgan Shepherd claiming the most series wins at IRP (three), Jimmy Hensley still holding the race record of 96.923 mph set in 1995 and likewise remaining intact is David Green's (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) qualifying record of 113.461 established in his series championship year of 1994.

Nine winners at IRP have gone on to claim NASCAR Busch Series championships in that same season. And recent history shows three IRP victors/series champions -- Kevin Harvick, 2001; Greg Biffle, 2002 and Brian Vickers, 2003 -- have done so in the last four years.

Additionally, a NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos rookie has won at IRP twice in the last five seasons. Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 32 WINFUEL Chevrolet) was a rookie winner in 2000 as was Kyle Busch last year.

Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge) follows in the recent history footsteps of younger drivers finding success at the venerable track. A rookie, he is third in the championship rankings, only 84 points behind leader and defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet). Sorenson, who won at Gateway last week, made his series debut at IRP one year ago, starting third and finishing 13th. Two other rookies -- Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) and Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), come to IRP ranked in the Top 10. Edwards is fourth while Hamlin is sixth. Both will be making their first NASCAR Busch Series IRP starts.

"There is a lot of history tied to Indianapolis," the 19-year-old Sorenson said. "The track has been on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule since the series started and with Chip's (Ganassi, team owner) history in the IRL here, a win would be very special for the team."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Green , Jimmy Hensley , Martin Truex Jr. , Morgan Shepherd , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Kyle Busch