BUSCH: Las Vegas postscript

Stanton Barrett looks to continue Roush Racing's dominance at Darlington. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 6, 2003) -- Stanton Barrett would rather not have the weekend off. However, like the rest of his NASCAR Busch Series colleagues, the...

Stanton Barrett looks to continue Roush Racing's dominance at Darlington.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 6, 2003) -- Stanton Barrett would rather not have the weekend off.

However, like the rest of his NASCAR Busch Series colleagues, the California native will enjoy an open date this weekend before heading to Darlington, S.C. for the DarlingtonRaceway.com 200 on Saturday, March 15.

On the bright side, it gives Barrett and his No. 60 OdoBan Ford team a chance to savor their first top 10 of the season -- an eighth-place finish last Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"It has been a long time since I have run that well," said Barrett, who happily put aside his award-winning 15-year career as a Hollywood stuntman to drive fulltime for Roush Racing in 2003. "During the rough stretches I have had to remember my past success to keep my hopes up and stay focused. To be back running well feels great."

Part of Barrett's "past success" includes a fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1996 -- his lone top-five finish to date.

Following Greg Biffle's 2002 NASCAR Busch Series championship season, car owner Jack Roush moved the No. 60 Grainger Ford team -- including crew chief Randy Goss -- to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Although the No. 60 car remains a formidable foe to NASCAR Busch Series competitors, the fact is, it's a brand new team.

"There were a lot of unknowns with this team going into the season, with only two returning members from last year," Barrett said. "To show potential for our first win this early in the season really builds our confidence. Our top-10 finish shows that Cowboy (crew chief Kevin Starland) has what it takes to be a top crew chief, and that the Roush organization knows how to hire and train a new team to maintain the success level of last year."

And that will be important heading into Darlington, where Roush Racing teams have won seven of the last eight races at the historic 1.366-mile track. Looking back, Jeff Burton has won the last three races for Roush at "The Track Too Tough To Tame." Jeff Green won in the spring event in 2001 following another Roush run -- three straight by Mark Martin (fall 1999, sweep in 2000) and one by Matt Kenseth in the spring event in 1999.

"There's no pressure for us at Darlington," Barrett said. "Roush Racing is competitive and capable of winning at every track we go to. The OdoBan team is on the same game plan every weekend. We want to stay on the lead lap and finish the race. We are not asking for more than to be consistent and competitive.

"Other drivers don't like Darlington, but I do," added Barrett, who jumped from 27th to 19th in the driver point standings following Las Vegas. "It's aggressive, and unforgiving. You have to be on your toes and race the racetrack. You have to keep from getting discouraged when your times fall off into a long run. We want to have a good race there, also because it's a home track for Bojangles', our associate sponsor. They'll have a lot of people watching us."

Perhaps Barrett will need the weekend off following Darlington.

* No breaks allowed ... Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) and Team Rensi Motorsports will spend their "off" weekend from the NASCAR Busch Series attempting to make their NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. U.S. Marine Corps will be the primary sponsor on the No. 35 Ford along with the Timberland Company. Hamilton Jr. -- who has 12 career starts in NASCAR Winston Cup with his best finish of 14th place at Talladega in 2001 -- has never failed to qualify for a NASCAR Winston Cup event.

* Green to the point ... Two consecutive top-10 finishes have vaulted veteran David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) to second in the NASCAR Busch Series driver point standings. And considering current point leader Kevin Harvick (No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet) is scheduled to compete in a limited schedule (19 of 34 races), gives Green the nod as the "unofficial" leader. Green followed up an 18th-place finish at Daytona with a runner-up finish at Rockingham and a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas. "It feels great to be with this team and be competitive," said Green, who won the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series Championship title. "Getting a good start was very important for this team. I feel like there are a lot more great things in the future."

* Etc. ... Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly, former NFL quarterback with the Buffalo Bills, announced Saturday that Clay Rogers would drive for the team in at least 10 races in 2003 beginning with the DarlingtonRaceway.com 200 on March 15. Hunter's Hope -- a foundation to help fight Krabbe's disease -- will be displayed on the hood of the No. 34 car's red, white and blue paint scheme. ... The Busch Series Ladies Association has announced a new level of membership called "Buddies of the Busch Series Ladies Association." Founded in 1996, the BSLA is a nonprofit organization helping drivers and crew members in the NASCAR Busch Series family along with other charitable works. "We have worked really hard to get a solid footing in the NASCAR Community," said BSLA President Cathy Green, wife of NASCAR Busch Series veteran driver Mark Green. For more information log on to www.buschladies.com. ... Supercuts has taken its marketing of Kerry Earnhardt (No. 12 Supercuts Chevrolet) to a new level with the release of episode six of "The Mop Squad," a video cartoon viewable at www.supercuts.com. Both Earnhardt and his car's co-owner Terry Bradshaw are featured, with their own voices, in a comical racing adventure.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Clay Rogers , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Mark Green , David Green , Kerry Earnhardt , Stanton Barrett , Jack Roush , Mark Martin