* Goeters looks to make second NASCAR Busch Series oval start * Edwards out for "redemption" at Las Vegas NEWS & NOTES Goeters entered at Las Vegas .... Jorge Goeters (No. 49 Advil Ford) will attempt to make his fifth NASCAR Busch Series ...
* Goeters looks to make second NASCAR Busch Series oval start
* Edwards out for "redemption" at Las Vegas
NEWS & NOTES
Goeters entered at Las Vegas .... Jorge Goeters (No. 49 Advil Ford) will attempt to make his fifth NASCAR Busch Series start and his first at Las Vegas this weekend. Goeters, the Mexico City native who burst onto the scene last year by capturing the Busch Pole in his first series start in the inaugural race in his hometown, finished 14th last Sunday, the second highest-finishing Mexican driver. Carlos Contreras was 11th, his best career series finish. Goeters will compete for Jay Robinson Racing at Las Vegas, which will only be his second opportunity in NASCAR national series competition on an oval. Goeters finished 24th at Pikes Peak last July; his other series start came at Watkins Glen International three weeks later where he finished a career-best ninth. Goeters also made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut last year at The Glen, finishing 35th.
Redemption at Las Vegas for Edwards? ... Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest / FreeCreditReport.com Ford) won his first Busch Pole last year at Las Vegas, becoming the first Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at the 1.5-mile track. Edwards led the most laps (125), but finished seventh in the race after a flat tire dropped him from the lead. Despite his finish, the took over the series points lead from Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet), becoming just the second rookie in series history to lead the point standings -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) was the first in 2004. Edwards led the standings for the next 10 weeks until missing the second Nashville race due to inclement weather. He was not able to compete the following day due to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono, which he won. Edwards never recovered, however, finishing third in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings. "I just can't wait to get back to Las Vegas," he said. "We had such a great car there last year and led the most laps, but ended up with a flat tire with 14 laps to go. We spun out and dropped out of the lead. We pitted and still came in seventh. We are going back to Vegas to redeem ourselves."
IN THE LOOP: Breaking down Hamlin's Mexico City win ... Although he was worried about a fast-closing Boris Said (No. 9 Ingersoll-Rand Dodge) in the push to the finish last Sunday in Mexico City, Denny Hamlin was strong throughout the event according to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics. Hamlin was first among all drivers in Average Running Position (4.6). He was Fastest on Restarts (99.395 mph) and tied with Kyle Busch with four of the Fastest Laps at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. NASCAR Busch Series regulars were among the best Closers in the race, led by Burney Lamar (+13), followed by Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) (+9) Jason Keller (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge) and Jason Leffler (No. 32 Lucas/FOE.com Chevrolet) (+4). For the 2006 season-to-date, Hamlin leads all drivers in average running place (7.6), Driver Rating at 145.9 and is second in quality passes with 215. Lamar is best among all drivers in the Closers category, gaining an average of 7.6 spots in the last 10% of each race. Keller is tied for second in Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap, having run 348 of 350 possible laps (99.4%). The data is a new feature from NASCAR in partnership with stat experts STATS LLC to provide in-depth statistical details dealing with more than the race winner.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Jason Keller (No. 1 Miccosukee Resort Dodge) is one of three drivers who have raced in the previous nine events at Las Vegas, but he has never led there. ... Kevin Harvick, the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, has one win and two second-place finishes in his last three series races at Las Vegas. Harvick and Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Cottman Transmissions Chevrolet) have three top-five finishes while Waltrip, Keller and Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford), the 2002 series champion, have four top 10s at LVMS. ... J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) made his first NASCAR Busch Series start at Las Vegas in 2004.
ETC. Chevrolet has reclaimed the lead in the early-season Bill France Performance Cup standings in the NASCAR Busch Series. The manufacturer has its second lead of the year after Denny Hamlin's win at Mexico City last Sunday, with two wins and 22 points. Ford is second with one win and 19 points while Dodge is third with no wins and 16 points. Chevrolet has the most series wins (five) at Las Vegas. ... Las Vegas native Spencer Clark (No. 65 Allegiant Air Ford), who also competes in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series, will attempt to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at his home track this weekend. ... Kevin Harvick has posted six consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last November at Texas. ... David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford) looks to make the 360th start of his NASCAR Busch Series career at Las Vegas, fourth on the all-time list. ... Stephen Leicht makes his return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend driving the No. 90 CitiFiancial Ford. Leicht (pronounced 'Light') shares the ride with Elliott Sadler and fellow Robert Yates Racing development driver Matt McCall. The 19-year-old Leicht made his series debut last year and posted two top-15 finishes in his select events. "The first-race jitters are definitely gone," he said. "This is my chance to finally prove why I have been racing for the past 13 years." ... NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookies Tracy Hines (No. 14 Take Me On Vacation Dodge), Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) and Mark McFarland (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) are scheduled to participate in a cooking competition at the ESPN ZONE in Las Vegas on Thursday from 2 -- 4 p.m. The drivers will take a cooking class with the ESPN ZONE culinary team and will then prepare dishes they've learned to cook. Kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas will judge the competition. Lamar, who leads the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie standings, made his first NASCAR national series start for Kevin Harvick Inc. last year at Las Vegas in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. ... Paul Tracy (No. 34 American Crew -- Sport Clips Chevrolet) will try his hand at his third different NASCAR Busch Series track this season having previously run this year at Daytona and Mexico City. ... Las Vegas was the site of Kevin and DeLana Harvick's wedding. The two were wed on February 28, 2001. DeLana Harvick is the owner of KHI.
"I feel better when I'm sitting down." -- Joel Kauffman (No. 12 Take Me On Vacation Dodge) to his car chief Josh Tucker prior to the race in Mexico City where he started despite not feeling 100%. "Well, you'll be sitting down for a long time." -- Tucker to Kauffman
"I've changed my approach a little bit as far as focusing on the big picture. It's not that I'm less aggressive, because that drive is always in you to go for it all. But now, if I'm running fourth and taking over third means putting myself at risk -- I have to look at what it's worth, you know?" -- Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet)
"I've had three of the best race cars I've ever had in the first three races and we've got a 28th-place spot in the standings. It proves you still need that luck element to be successful in this sport." -- Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford)
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES 25th ANNIVERSARY ARCHIVES
The Las Vegas 300, held on March 16, 1997, was the first NASCAR Busch Series event to be held west of the Mississippi River. It was also the inaugural NASCAR race for Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A field of 42 cars, led by polesitter Jeff Green, took the green flag in an event that saw the lead change hands 25 times among 12 drivers. Joe Nemechek, the 1991 NASCAR Busch Series champion, led the first 38 laps. But he was eliminated from competition on Lap 122 in a multi-car incident.
Green, Todd Bodine and veteran Dick Trickle seemed to be the class of the field as the event wound down to the final laps. Green took the lead from Trickle on Lap 186 of the 200-lap event and held on for the win.
Green would go on to win the 2000 series title, joining his brother David (1994 champion) as the only brothers to win a NASCAR Busch Series championship.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES 25th ANNIVERSARY QUOTEABLES
"I mean talent-wise, yeah, I think back when we were younger we could race with them (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers). Tommy [Ellis] says he could still do it, and I'd like to watch him." -- Larry Pearson, the 1986-87 NASCAR Busch Series champion, on NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers entered in NASCAR Busch Series events past and present.
ON DECK: ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
The NASCAR Busch Series makes its only appearance of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway next Saturday, March 18. Carl Edwards is the defending race and pole winner, and tied the series mark for the least number of starts (seven) before a win in a rookie season. Edwards also won the following day in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition making him the first driver to register his first national series victories in the same weekend. Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) is a native of Peachtree City, Ga., and looks for a big day in front of family and friends at his home track.
What: Sam's Town 300 (Race No. 4 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
When: 6:10 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 11.
Track Layout: 1.5-mile tri-oval.
Race Length: 300 laps/200 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,601,838.
TV: FX, 6:00 p.m., ET.
Radio: PRN, XM Satellite.
2005 Winner: Mark Martin.
2005 Polesitter: Carl Edwards.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 467. 2. J.J. Yeley 453. 3. Denny Hamlin 445. 4. Jamie McMurray 409. 5. Clint Bowyer 400. 6. Burney Lamar 379. 7. Jason Leffler 359. 8. Carl Edwards 358. 9. Jon Wood 351 10. Jason Keller 350.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Fri., March 10 -- Practice, 1:45 -- 2:45 p.m.; "Rookie Practice," 3 -- 3:30 p.m.; Final Practice following NNCS Qualifying (one hour, time permitting). Sat., March 11 -- Qualifying, 12:05 p.m. (Impound).