* Defending race winner Edwards heads to Kentucky as series' hottest driver * BREWCO Motorsports, David Green, looking forward to Kentucky homecoming News & Notes Hard-charging Edwards chips away at Harvick ... Last year's Kentucky ...
* Defending race winner Edwards heads to Kentucky as series' hottest driver
* BREWCO Motorsports, David Green, looking forward to Kentucky homecoming
News & Notes
Hard-charging Edwards chips away at Harvick ... Last year's Kentucky race winner, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Henkel Ford), is the hottest driver in the NASCAR Busch Series. After a 43rd-place finish at Texas due to engine failure relegated him to 11th in the point standings, Edwards has charged back in the last eight races, winning two of his last three (with a second-place at Dover sandwiched in between) and has finished in the top 10 in each of those events -- half of those finishes have been top fives. Edwards still has work to do to catch series points leader Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), but has chipped away at Harvick's lead, now at 297 points. That margin is the closest a second-place driver has been to the 2001 series champion since Phoenix, when Harvick's Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) was 289 points behind. "We had a great race [at Kentucky] last year leading most laps and winning," Edwards said. "We are taking the car that we won at Charlotte with us, so I feel real confident going there. The team is on a roll [and] we have been gaining points on Harvick."
Their old Kentucky home ... Owensboro's David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series champion, and series owner/driver Michael Waltrip head a list of at least 12 NASCAR Busch Series-affiliated drivers, owners or team members who hail from that northwest Kentucky city. "This is the most anticipated race of the year for my team and me," Green said. "It's our home-state track and home-state crowd, so there will be a lot of friends and family at the [track]. We'll also see a lot of my racing competitors -- from go-karts through stock cars." Green's BREWCO Motorsports team owner Clarence Brewer Jr. and general manager Todd Wilkerson are from Central City, also the headquarters for the team. BREWCO is one of two series outfits -- Keith Coleman Racing is located in Eddyville -- whose operations are based in Kentucky. Brewer will accept an award prior to the race from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for partnering with the group in support of the "Drive Smart Kentucky" program, an effort created to reduce fatalities, injuries and accidents on high-crash corridors throughout the state. "My administration is committed to creating a safe and reliable highway infrastructure in Kentucky. Our partnership with BREWCO Motorsports gives us a creative vehicle to drive home the message of buckling up and driving smart," said Governor Ernie Fletcher.
Seeing double: 10 drivers have hectic weekend ahead ... Ten drivers will attempt to pull off double-duty this weekend at Kentucky, but not all will be NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors. David Reutimann, who has four NASCAR Busch Series starts this season and finished sixth last week for Michael Waltrip's team at Nashville, is scheduled to depart following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Michigan on Friday in order to again drive Waltrip's No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge. Mike Bliss is slated to do the same in order to drive Frank Cicci's No. 34 Chevrolet. The same eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers who traveled to and from Pocono and Nashville last week are also entered at Kentucky: Greg Biffle (No. 66 Cub Cadet Ford), Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's/Hitachi Chevrolet), Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet). All but Biffle are attempting to run full schedules this year in the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
World Cup invades the garage ... Over the next few weeks as World Cup soccer is contested, some in the NASCAR Busch Series garage will be watching the tournament with interest, especially within the ppc Racing family. John Andretti's 13-year-old son Jarett plays midfielder for two different teams, a club team as well as his school team. Father and son were scheduled to attend World Cup quarterfinal matches in Germany between races, but plans fell through. The two did watch matches in their motorcoach when time permitted last week at Nashville. Andretti says he's a fan of the World Cup himself, and notes that his son's attention is turned to soccer instead of racing "for now." Andretti's teammate, Michel Jourdain Jr. (No. 15 Double Stuff Oreos/KRAFT Foods Ford), a native of Mexico, started playing soccer -- or "futbol" as it is called internationally -- at age five as a goalkeeper. He played until age 10, when racing became his focus. Not surprisingly, his favorite team is Mexico. Jourdain looks to make his second start of the season; his first 2006 series start was in Mexico City in March.
IN THE LOOP: Top 10 drivers aren't always top 10 in Loop Data ... Many of the key season-to-date Loop Data statistics for the NASCAR Busch Series show a parallel between drivers currently ranked in the top 10 in points and their standing in the Loop Data. However, not every category is dominated by the top 10 drivers in the points. Nine of the top 10 in driver points are ranked in the top 10 in Average Running Position, headed by Greg Biffle's 7.832. Kenny Wallace, however, is in 16th at 22.148. Points leader Kevin Harvick leads nine of the top 10 drivers in Driver Rating (112.0), but Wallace is 16th in that category also at 67.2. Only Harvick (2.000) and Wallace (1.733) are drivers in the top 10 in points who are listed among the top 10 Closers in places 1-2, respectively. Carl Edwards is the next highest-ranked Closer in 23rd place (0.333). Six of the current top 10 in the point standings are ranked in the top 10 among Mile Leaders, led by Matt Kenseth (473.22), yet one top-10 points driver, Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet), isn't listed among the top 40 in that category. Denny Hamlin (11th, 441) and Wallace (19th, 219) are outside the top 10 in Quality Passes despite being ranked in the top 10 in driver points. For the complete Loop
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Carl Edwards is the only driver to have won a race from the pole, and was the second Raybestos Rookie in a row to win at Kentucky; Kyle Busch won in 2004. ... Greg Biffle has three top fives -- all second-place finishes -- in four races at the track while his three top 10s are tied with Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) for most among all drivers. ... Jay Sauter (No. 01 Western Union Chevrolet -- 2001) and Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford -- 2003) won their first and to date only Busch Poles at Kentucky.
ETC. Ford captured its third win of the season last week at Nashville with Carl Edwards' victory, and upped its advantage over Dodge to 13 points in the Bill France Performance Cup standings. Chevrolet, which looks to claim its 300th series win at Kentucky, continues to lead with 10 wins and 112 points, while Ford (93 points) is second and Dodge (two wins, 80 points) third. Chevy has three wins at Kentucky to lead all manufacturers there. ... Todd Kluever (No. 06 3M Ford) has gained six spots in the NASCAR Busch Series standings in the last three weeks, moving from 23rd to 17th. He captured his first career Busch Pole last week at Nashville. Kluever is tied with John Andretti for second in the series Raybestos Rookie standings. One of last year's rookies, Denny Hamlin, became the first among the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series class to claim a victory in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition when he won from the pole last week at Pocono. He is also the only rookie in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup top 10. ... Saturday's race will be Mark McFarland's (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) first series race at Kentucky, but not his first visit to the track. In 2004, McFarland spotted at a test session for two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie, then at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the track later that year. LaJoie is scheduled to practice for Kevin Harvick prior to Harvick's arrival from Michigan. Other substitute drivers at Kentucky are Kevin Hamlin for Reed Sorenson, Jason Keller for Greg Biffle, Brandon Miller for Clint Bowyer, Hank Parker Jr. for Carl Edwards, Justin Labonte for Kyle Busch, Kertus Davis for Denny Hamlin and Casey Atwood for J.J. Yeley.
NASCAR BUSCH SEREIS FATHER'S DAY QUOTEBOOK
"I owe a great deal to my dad (Brad). He's been a tremendous supporter of my racing career and without his help and guidance I wouldn't be where I am today. He put his racing career on the shelf to allow me to chase a dream and that means the world to me. He's not as involved as he used to be, but I appreciate everything he has done for me. It sure would be nice to get a win in one of these races for him this weekend." -- Reed Sorenson.
"My dad (Tom) has been there since I began racing race cars. He helped take me up through the ranks -- through legends cars, dwarf cars, and then modifieds. Spending the money that he didn't have is the biggest thing that I'm the most proud of with my dad. He sacrificed a lot to help us get as far as we did. Once I got a super late model ride with another guy he went over there every day and worked on it and made sure everything was right. He's always been there for me and my brother (Kurt). He's always stuck in there with us and stuck up for us." -- Kyle Busch.
"Unlike a lot of people in this sport, racing wasn't in my family history. My dad's (Marlin) a heating electrician in Albion, N.Y. He's incredibly ambitious and motivated, so I guess that's what I inherited from him the most. He's been very supportive of my career choice and I couldn't ask for much more than that. -- Chad Walter, crew chief for Kyle Busch.
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Kentucky Speedway's first NASCAR Busch Series race took place in 2001 with Kevin Harvick picking up the win. The young Californian was in the midst of a remarkable season which would culminate with five wins and the series championship while also running full-time as a rookie in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
The win at Kentucky was the second of the year for Harvick, who came from the 11th starting spot behind pole-sitter Jay Sauter. Harvick's starting position is still the deepest in the field for any Kentucky winner. He was at the wheel of a Richard Childress Chevrolet and dominated the race by leading 131 of the event's 200 laps.
Harvick's margin of victory was 1.131 seconds over rookie Greg Biffle, who would go on to win the NASCAR Busch Series championship the following season.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" QUOTEABLES
"I started out in Winston West, then a little bit of Cup and Busch North for several years, then back to the Busch Series. And of all my racing careers and all of the races I was lucky enough to win, the Busch championship is by far the highlight. The Busch Series was getting big. It was prestigious to win one." -- Chuck Bown, 1990 NASCAR Busch Series champion.
Note: A NASCAR Busch Series "25 Seasons Running" Media Kit CD is available at-track each race weekend and also on-line at nascarmedia.com. A CD can also be obtained by contacting NASCAR PR.
ON DECK: THE MILWAUKEE MILE
The NASCAR Busch Series makes its next stop at one of the most historic tracks in NASCAR at The Milwaukee Mile on June 24. Wisconsin's own Johnny Sauter (Necedah) won the event from the Busch Pole last season and this year, he will be challenged by no less than four other Wisconsin natives -- two of them his brothers Jay and Tim. Paul Menard (Eau Claire) and Todd Kluever (Sun Prairie) are also set to challenge for the title of Wisconsin's best.
What: Meijer 300 presented by Oreo (Race No. 16 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky.
When: 8:05 p.m. ET, Sat., June 17.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval.
Race Length: 300 miles/200 laps.
Posted Awards: $1,413,644.
TV: FX, 7:30 p.m., ET.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Carl Edwards.
2005 Polesitter: Carl Edwards.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 2,386. 2. Carl Edwards 2,114. 3. Clint Bowyer 1,993. 4. Denny Hamlin 1,958. 5. Greg Biffle 1,744. 6. J.J. Yeley 1,855. 7. Kyle Busch 1,814. 8. Paul Menard 1,787. 9. Johnny Sauter 1,653. 10. Kenny Wallace 1,616.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., June 16 -- Practice, 4-5 p.m.; Rookie Practice, 6:30-7p.m.; Final Practice 7-8 p.m. Sat., June 17 -- Qualifying 4:05 p.m. (Impound).