BUSCH: Kentucky: Round 16 preview

Tight fit: Top four in NASCAR Busch Series standings separated by 96 points DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 14, 2005) -- For the past 11 races, a rookie driver has led the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, and history was made in the process as no...

Tight fit: Top four in NASCAR Busch Series standings separated by 96 points

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 14, 2005) -- For the past 11 races, a rookie driver has led the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, and history was made in the process as no first-year driver had been atop the series rankings at any time during a season in the series' previous 23 years of competition.

Saturday night, as the series appears at Kentucky Speedway for its fourth stand-alone event of the year, a Raybestos Rookie is still No. 1 in the standings, but for the first time in 10 races, that rookie is not Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford). Instead, Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) leads the way in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.

But the first lead of Sorenson's short series career is precarious at best.

Sorenson holds a 51-point lead over reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), who won his first NASCAR Busch Series race last week at Nashville. Truex and Bowyer are tied with 1,975 points, but Truex holds down second place in the standings due to more wins (three) than Bowyer.

Edwards fell to fourth -- still only 96 points out of the lead -- as he was unable to start the Nashville race following its postponement to Sunday due to inclement weather. He instead turned his attention to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Pocono and won there, dedicating the victory to his NASCAR Busch Series team.

Sorenson frankly admits that he and his crew are fully aware of their standing, but takes a rather experienced approach to the position for a 19-year-old.

"No, we're not going to ignore it," he said of being in first place. "Even if you're running 10th, you've got to start out real smooth each race and you can't take any chances. We've been paying attention to [the points] all year and you've got to find that balance of trying to win the race and not getting in trouble."

Edwards' camp, meanwhile, isn't conceding a run at the title just yet. In fact, one NASCAR Busch Series championship has been won despite the driver missing a race -- Sam Ard was unable to start the final race of the 1984 season, yet still captured the second of his consecutive crowns.

"The fact that I didn't get to start the race in Nashville was deeply frustrating, but at the same time it's almost inspiring," Edwards said. "I noticed it in the shop with the guys, there's an attitude right now that we're going on a mission to gain back this championship points lead. Kentucky's another one of those events where if the weather were to intervene it could make it even tougher. This is almost a motivator, more than a deterrent to me, the fact that we missed this race. In fact it's going to help us".

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Clint Bowyer , Reed Sorenson